That probably was the most surprising first question to hear from a client. For me, as a person working on online personal branding, that was obvious: the more the better! But then we sat to discuss it in more details, and more layers to the situation were resurfaced. So, let’s see…
Do you really need a lot of social media profiles for a strong online personal brand?
Usually people first become aware of their online brand when looking for a job. Another situation, less common though — when some negative information gets published about them that they cannot take down.
And in both cases what I suggest to do first is to Google yourself (read more about how to start here). What is on the first page of search results for your name? If you don’t have a personal website on a namesake domain and are not frequent guest on the reputable publications, then chances are high that the first links you see there are your social media profiles.
Why having social media profiles are actually good for your personal branding
One word: Control. You have a complete control over information posted there. You can control how many profiles you have, on how many platforms, what exactly is included on your bio, what photo is used et cetera.
It doesn’t mean you have to be there, communicate, share, and interact with your network daily or even consistently. You just have to make sure that profiles are filled in and represent data that you want to be seen.
Which social media platforms to use for personal branding
Let’s explore different options Internet offers on the social landscape. We will go into more details on how to benefit most from your presence on different platforms, but for now we will have just an overview, something for you to start from.
The largest social media network on the planet provides you with the possibility to have all the essential information visible to your searchers, and everything that you consider private, to be hidden from them (well, at least we hope so).
We will go into more details about Facebook profile and activities useful for online personal branding in a dedicated blog post, but you already can check what’s visible on your profile for someone who looks you up on Internet.
Log out of the social network, go to your profile, and inspect available information. Note that your name, profile photo, and cover image are always public. Other sections you can switch from public to being visible to your friends only.
If you are working on your professional brand, I recommend that you add information about your current and past employments. Your name and profile photo have to be real and consistent across all of your profiles.
Twitter is your go-to place for a discussion on the topics that you are interested in and for expanding your network. But even if you are not ready yet to take an active part in the conversations happening there, you can benefit from registering profile with Twitter.
If your account is not set to “private”, your visitor will see your tweets, profile photo, and basic information in “Bio” section. Make sure that it is consistent with your CV and other profiles.
Usually, you would want to mention your title and main areas of interest there. Because of Twitter’s nature, many prefer to state their re-tweets approach there: whether it’s an endorsement of the opinion stated in the original tweet.
The most popular professional network in the world. Basically, you need to have a profile there because for many recruiters these days it’s a CV substitution.
So, what do they see when they first look into your LinkedIn page?
There you have only limited possibility to add your worldviews and opinions: it’s summary section, which is better used for the information you usually give in your cover letter.
First thing on the page is your profile photo, most recent (by default) occupation, and education. Below the searchers will see a full list of your employers with all the details (hidden on mobile) you want to share about your career there.
You also have a choice whether to display all of the educational institutions you attended, certifications, and volunteering experiences. So, a trove of data to impress your potential employer!
Much more visual and personal network. It can be considered professional if you are working in photography, travel, fitness/wellness industries and alike. If your work is not very photogenic, and you don’t like the aesthetics of photo blogging, you still can register account (after all, you don’t want your namesake to represent you there!), add photo and a brief bio, and a link to your blog or other social media network where your presence is more consistent.
I bet you feel a bit surprised here! Pinterest is not the most obvious choice for personal branding, though it is still very useful.
First of all, it’s again a chance for you to contribute to your online personal brand consistency. Just register your profile there under your name with basic information, and follow some of your interests so that Pinterest allows for the profile creation.
Another thing is, pins that you create are searchable and optimized by default to include your name from the profile. If you strategically pin content based on your interests and professional expertise, it has a chance to appear high on Google search for queries that include your name.
Of course this contributes to your online branding!
TL;DR: Online personal branding on social media: Say yes to the opportunity!
In short, yes, I do recommend that you use all the opportunities that social media platforms offer to create solid and consistent online presence.
- Register profiles on the main platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest;
- Fill into the basic information on your accounts: photo, bio, links;
- Keep this information relevant and up to date;
- Be consistent, your profiles are to be easy recognizable.
All the platforms offer much more than just basic profile creation. We will explore these possibilities for each network separately. Stay tuned!
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