Part 2—Social Media and Personal Branding
In the first part of my Digital Transformation journey, I covered the opportunities Cloud systems will give you. I also discussed security issues. In this post, I will cover the importance of social media. Social media can significantly support your personal branding. Search yourself on Google to see what others may learn about you if they do the same search. Being aware of Digital Transformation also means to develop your social media skills.
One aspect of a digitally transforming society is the emergence of social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+…you name them. Many have come and gone, but some are important contributors to modern society. We need to understand how they work and how to leverage them for our personal goals.
I use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to support my personal brand. Whenever someone is searching for me on the internet, I want to be sure that they get the information I want them to see. I want them to understand my personal brand. Because of this, I don’t post things I don’t want anyone to learn about me. I make sure that I use the same photo everywhere so that I will be easily recognized.
I did a lot of research and learning on social media and how each platform is interconnected with each other. In this post, I concentrate on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. I will give you an overview, and mention what I found to be most useful. My intention is to give you a brief overview of the subject. There is so much more information available about these things on the internet that I don’t have to repeat them here. If you like to get a list of the material I used (links), just contact me. I’ll be happy to send them to you.
Here are two examples:
- The video, “Ask a Career Coach: Personal Branding 101,” published by Stanford alumni on YouTube. Definitely worth viewing if you want to learn something about personal branding.
- The book, “Personal Branding for Baby Boomers,” by Marc Miller is another excellent source, even if you are not a baby boomer.
With twitter, you can post short messages, no longer than 140 characters (they may be changing this number in the near future). Everyone on twitter can see what you have posted. These are my favorites on twitter:
- You can directly address anyone in the world, as long as he or she is on twitter. There are no hierarchies to take care of, and conversation can be very informal. But watch out: most Twitter activity is completely public. You can send private messages, but only to people who follow you.
- If you use proper hashtags, i.e. terms that start with #, you will attract others, who are also interested in this topic. Example: I used the hashtag #digitaltransformation in my posts, since this is what I am passionate about and what my tweets are about. Guess what? People, who have the same interests, started following me. I follow them back, and we even started having personal conversations.
- Twitter helps you be concise. With only 140 characters to utilize, you have to consider your wording very carefully. Otherwise, you could not accurately express your message.
- It doesn’t take much time. 10-20 minutes a day is sufficient to interact with others on Twitter. I had 90 followers in the first week with very little effort.
- Look at the app Crowdfire to add more followers. You can see the followers of your friends and follow them yourself. An unwritten law of Twitter is to follow those who follow you as a courtesy. This is how it works!
What’s in it for you? Twitter can help you connect with people all over the globe that have the same interests. If you’re an entrepreneur, this is the way to attract potential customers, as well as interact with peers. I don’t say that it is easy or that you will get a new customer after your first post. This is all about persistence and patience. But after a while, you will eventually grow your network, learn a lot of new things, reinforce your personal brand, and have a lot of fun as well. Eventually, you may even meet the guys you are connected with in real life!
I probably don’t have to say too much about LinkedIn since most of you already use it. It’s most likely that you found this post because I shared it on LinkedIn! If you own a business and want to connect with potential customers, find a new job, or interact with others in your field, this is the place you want to be. However, having a basic LinkedIn profile is just not enough.
My tips for LinkedIn:
- Have a professional photo. Don’t use a fragment of a photo that was taken the recent party, vacation, or even a selfie as your profile picture. Go to a photographer to have a professional headshot taken, and be sure to wear business attire.
- Have a professional headline. Use keywords or phrases that best describe you.
- Don’t forget your perfect summary. The summary should speak to your audience directly. If you are an entrepreneur or you want to sell something, this is the place where you can describe what you offer. If you’re looking for job opportunities (actively or not), describe what you have accomplished and what your exceptional qualities are.
- Use keywords in each section. The likelihood of getting found on LinkedIn is higher when you use specific keywords.
- Name skills within the “Skills & Endorsements” section that you want to be known for. Endorse the connections you know. Just visit their profile and click on the + next to their skills. In most cases, they will endorse you as well.
- “Recommend” your partners, coworkers, bosses etc. By doing so, they will most likely recommend you as well.
What’s in it for you? You present yourself in the way you want to be seen. You post what you want to be known for. Even if you are in a comfortable employment situation, this could change someday. If this becomes the case, you will be happy to have many connections who can help you find new opportunities. Don’t forget: this is a community. Make contacts, friends, and share what you can. Think of Karma: what goes around comes around.
On Facebook, you can share a bit of your private life. Be aware that people will eventually see what you have posted there. Since we are talking about personal branding, you need to consider what you want to be known for. Facebook will show another part of yourself to others.
- Post things that resonate with others. If you like mountain biking, post it. If you have less common—or slightly “weird” hobbies—you may want to keep it to yourself. You need to understand that this will still be online five years from now!
- Share interesting ideas that are not necessarily business related.
- Beware of getting too politically involved because it will live on Facebook. I personally believe that political debates belong to private discussion and are best to not be posted in public—unless you are a politician, of course. You don’t know who is reading it and how people will respond—even in a couple of years (this is my personal opinion).
There are other social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest that you can use for personal branding if you love taking pictures, video clips, or if they are specific to the nature of your business.
The most important thing is to be consistent and authentic. Don’t be totally different people on different social media platforms because it gives an inconsistent and unauthentic picture of you. If you ever find that you need a new job, you can be sure that recruiters will look at each and every social media site to find you.
What’s in it for you? As with all other social media: form your personal brand. Remember: whenever you apply for a job, recruiters will Google you. If they find weird stuff, you’re out. If they don’t find anything about you, you’re out as well…because they think you’re not up to date.
Your personal Digital Transformation will make your life both easier and more rich. You have to overcome your distrust of social media…if you have any. I know a lot of people in my age who don’t bother with social media. I never consider it too late for baby boomers—and certainly Generation X—to embrace it.
Can you agree with my thoughts? I would love to see your comments on this article or reach out to me directly, using the contact form.