Creating a personal brand that stands out when meeting someone face-to-face is tricky enough, but with the recent exponential growth of social media, people now have to give their best first impression digitally. Rather than using 30 seconds to explain who you are and what you do, tweets, shared articles and pictures are necessary to brand yourself as unique and applicable. Employers are searching for you online, and extending a digital handshake isn’t as simple as it sounds. Here are the top three mistakes people make while creating an online personal brand and what you can do to fix them.
1. Separating personal and professional
People have been told to keep their personal life far away from the office—which isn’t untrue—but this can cause you to appear as a robot online. Everyone has a personal life, and it’s important to show you’re a relatable human. Your online brand should be enticing, showcasing your individual personality within appropriate parameters. People should want to get to know you better just by reading your bio or skimming your tweets. No one wants to hang out with a friend who only talks about business; relatedly, no one wants to “add a friend” who only posts about business, either.
2. Sharing what you cooked for dinner…
…unless you’re a chef. You should use social media as a tool for influence rather than a hub for pictures of cats and food, which we’re all guilty of time-to-time. Just as it’s necessary to show you’re relatable online, it’s also important to illustrate your expertise. Use Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook as platforms to brag about what you know. Share articles about your professional industry with a quick blurb about why it’s relevant. Post a picture of you volunteering. Write a blog post relating your personal motivations to career goals. It’s all about finding a good balance between presenting yourself personally and professionally.
3. Staying away from Google
If you want to know how your personal brand is perceived online, Google search yourself. You could come across historic pictures or posts that you may not want an employer to associate you with. Google allows you to find the gaps where your brand needs a little TLC rather than scrolling through years of your social media posts. Also, remember that one social media platform does not define your personal brand, but instead a collection of all the channels in which you’re present. Google has the ability to find every piece of you on the Web, reflecting your first impression—make sure it’s a good one!
How are you using social media to illustrate your personal brand online?