How to put the ‘me’ back into social media

Facebook Like button on computer screen

Social media is a set of tools that create conversations, connections and the sharing of information – making it perfect for helping you build your personal brand online. Here are some ideas for using social media to your advantage.

And, of course, social media can help you make desirable and meaningful changes in your career.

Social media can help you advance your career in the following ways:

  • Get discovered by people who can influence your career.
  • Expand your network. The more people who know about you, the more likely you are to be referred for opportunities.
  • Remain high on your industry’s radar, even if you’re not looking for a job.
  • Raise your profile and improve your value as a thought leader and subject matter expert.

Many people, including women in corporate environments are often unaware of how social media can be used to their advantage. Women in leadership roles are still a minority in Australia and social media can play an important role in raising the profile of any capable woman who is seeking to develop her career.

To help women understand the potential of social media I will be running Putting the ME in social media workshop at Macquarie University’s Women, Management and Work Conference this year.

Set goals

The first place to start is to think about your career goals and write them down. 

Your goal might be to become a board member, change jobs, get a promotion, become a manager or all of the above. When you know what you want, focus your entire social media career strategy on achieving your goals.

Find your targets

After you’ve identified your goals you should think about the people you want to reach out to, in other words, your audience. They could be executives, co-workers, influencers in key industries, peers, friends and recruiters.

Your personal elevator statement

To begin building your reputation and your personal brand, create a short concise statement that summarises what you are and what you want to be known for.

Because we are talking about social media, think about your personal message in 140 characters or less. Examples include: I’m passionate about growing teams, coaching individuals and seeing people achieve their career dreams.

I use public relations and social media tool to help businesses and people achieve their dreams.

Find your “One Thing”. It will affect every content and posting decision you make and is the voice of your strategy across every network. If Disney = magic and Apple = innovation, what do you equal?

Personal Brand

After you’ve perfected your ‘pitch’ you can think more deeply about your personal brand. Personal branding is the process by which we market ourselves to others. As a brand, we can leverage the same strategies that make celebrities or corporate brands appeal to others. We can build brand equity just like them.

To discover your personal brand get input from others. Have you ever been called intelligent or humorous by your peers or co-workers? To know if you’ve discovered your brand, you need to make this equation equal: Your self-impression = How people perceive you.

Finally you can begin building your reputation online and promoting your brand actively.

Career Marketing Tools

Google yourself

This is crucial, because it’s impossible to know what could negatively affect your reputation. Set up Google alerts to help you keep up-to-date with what is being said about you or how highly the information you provide ranks on Google.

Google alerts will send you an email notification when your name (whether it’s you or your digital doppelganger) appears in a news article or blog post.

Claim your domain name and build a personal website.

Owning your own URL will give you more control of your online identity. It’s easy to do, and domain names usually cost no more than $10 a year.

Owning the domain is a first step, but using it to create a site that highlights professional information is key for anyone who wants to control their online identity. Ideally, the website will be highly optimised, presenting a professional picture of the candidate.

Social media profiles

Set up profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Ideally, capture online “handles,” or user names that include your actual name.

Posting updates frequently is an excellent way to let search engines know what you want them to find out about you. Doing so creates that digital footprint that is so important for your online presence.

Make sure to cross promote your information in all media. For example tweet links to your website and include social media buttons on your blog to help readers share it.

Social media can be very effective in helping you advance your career if it’s used in the right way. It can help you establish a desired reputation, build your profile online and connect you to influencers in your industry.

Catriona Pollard will be presenting ‘Putting ME in Social Media: Practical Skills for your Career Advancement’ workshop at Macquarie University’s Women, Management and Work Conference between 12 to 13 July 2012. For more information about the workshop or to register to attend the conference please visit the website: http://bit.ly/WMWC12