By Melissa Reohr
Although my personal brand image is still in the developmental stage, I am working toward improving it. In doing so, I have learned several useful tips and thought I would share these opinions with others that are in a similar situation as me.
When hearing the question, “Who am I?” I immediately think of Ben Stiller’s character in the popular comedy, Zoolander. He asks this question to his reflection in a puddle and his reflection shrugs and says “I don’t know.” Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably asked yourself this same question at one time or another. It seems like a more relevant question while growing up, as adolescents are trying to “find themselves.” With so many different social media outlets available now, you probably don’t even notice that you are creating a brand for yourself. To explain this, I will use examples on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn, which are all different social media networks that can be used to create a universal brand image for yourself.
Facebook: Your online social club.
Pictures: The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” rings true in this context (and all other social media outlets). Your profile picture should essentially show “who you are,” in one quick look or glance. Think about this as you search through for your profile picture – do you want to be the one drunk in his or her profile picture?
Status updates: Make sure to think about your Facebook status before you post it – what kind of a brand image will this make for you? Recently, we had a contest at Likeable Media to see who could generate the most likes/comments on a status in three hours. I wrote “I JUST ATE SO MANY POOP-FLAVORED CUPCAKES – WHO WANTS SOME?” I did this solely for the purpose of the competition and I would have never written something like this, “in real life” for future employers to see. I ended up winning this competition only because it was the most ridiculously silly status out there. I definitely thought about this before I updated my status, but keep your posts in mind – your updates can seriously affect your brand image.
Connecting with others: Facebook friends and pages “liked” can really say a lot about you. If you choose to connect with employers, that is definitely a big step. This shows that you are comfortable with your current brand image on Facebook and are willing to show it off to your co-workers. Also, you will automatically be connected with more people when you “like” certain pages. Think of this to be like walking into your favorite store – if you come into the store with comments or concerns every day, you will be known for that. This can be related to excessively complaining on pages and commenting on your friends’ activities.
Twitter: Your thoughts, opinions & interests exposed to the public.
About me: When you first create your Twitter account, what do you write in the 160-character biography that appears under your picture? Do you enter your favorite quotation, some sassy opinion you thought of, or do you just completely wing it? Make sure you don’t write anything too personal that your followers (especially if public) shouldn’t know about– write something that accurately captures the essence of you.
Tweets: Since you can tweet whatever you would like, you need to make sure that it is something of interest to your followers. Andi Barton, the Buzz Builder Manager of the Likeable Media Boston office once asked the Buzz Builders, “Would you follow yourself?” Think about it. If you are complaining about the rain outside (that EVERYONE else is experiencing too) try to think of something else to tweet about. Your tweets should try to help create a brand for yourself. I often have a difficult time doing this because I seem to tweet about whatever I am interested in – I don’t see this as a problem, as this is something that takes time.
Connections: If your profile is public, anyone can see who you follow and who follows you. If your profile is private, then who you follow and your followers won’t be visible to someone until you accept them as your follower. Keep in mind that people will look through your connections to follow more people, so you can use this as a way to brand yourself also. If you like Public Relations firms, make sure to follow them! You can follow almost anyone or anything that you are interested in. Also, the greater amount of interactive followers you have, the more your Twitter handle will be “shown” throughout the Twittersphere.
Design: Having a creative design on your Twitter account can really help to show your personality. If you create your own, chances are people will view you as a more creative individual!
LinkedIn: Your way to professionally brand yourself.
Profile picture: Your LinkedIn picture should be different from the pictures on your Facebook or Twitter. It should basically show how you would look if you were walking into an interview. Most times, employers will try to find you on LinkedIn before an interview, so make sure your picture is up-to-date.
Brand image: Underneath your profile picture, there is a section for you to edit “who you are.” This short sentence should try to explain who you are, in a professional sense. If you are a blogger, add that! Don’t just say you are a student. Be more specific and it will help people to understand what type of personal brand image you are forming.
Status updates: Use your status updates to help your network understand what is going on in your professional life. For example, it is great to mention that you are excited for your new job or a new class.
Connections: Keep your connections up –to-date. If you meet people at networking seminars, classes or lunch dates with friends, make sure to connect on LinkedIn and keep in touch. It really shows when people interact with their connections on LinkedIn and can also help to foster future connections.
Now that you have thought about these different ways to personally brand yourself using social media, apply them!