As a business major, I’ve heard a lot about “creating your brand” for quite a while. Marketing yourself versus a company is very different. As Caryn says in the video below, it’s not about how you respond on Twitter, it’s how you handle failure. That resonated with me as I’ve been taught that your brand is what you convey about yourself on social media. I believe it is a combination of the two that help you create your best brand. In my opinion, you cannot have one without the other. So what steps should someone in college or their early 20’s take to set off on the adventure of creating their brand?
Okay, obviously. Depending on what field you are going to work in, social media can help or hurt you. If you post wild pictures of you and your friends on Facebook Friday night and potential employers see that, you’re giving them the wrong idea. You may be the hardest working person and the best one for the job, but employers won’t know that if they can’t see it. So we have options. Become familiar with the privacy settings on each of your platforms.
With Facebook, I personally have everything set 99.9% private and the only thing you can see is what Facebook requires me to have public. Now, I’m not over here posting crazy pictures, but I do believe a sense of privacy in this social media dominated world is a must. Your other option is to keep your profile public and post things that make you look awesome! Show off that awesome tech article or cat video, but only if it helps promote what you want the world to outwardly see (professionally). I know most of us don’t use Facebook for professional networking (I see you LinkendIn), but keep these tips in mind for your platforms.
Speaking of platforms, think of it politically. Each side has their platform. It displays what the party finds truth and value in. Consider your social media sites to be the same. They show what you hold near and dear.
If your university holds professional or leadership conferences, definitely take advantage of those. Many colleges will bring in speakers who promote professional branding and can guide you further.
Want to build your skills outside of your provided resources? Take a walk down to your library, or pull up the one in your hand, and consider checking out the “self-help” section. No, it’s not embarrassing to be reviewing the self-help area, it truly allows you to evolve as a person and leader. There are great options for networking, leading others, and marketing yourself to companies.
Speaking of Networking
To be honest, networking is scary. There’s an entire sub-culture of self-help books, workshops, etc on networking. However, it doesn’t have to be scary, Networking is as simple as saying hello to the person in front of you at Starbucks. Okay, that may be perceived a bit weird, but compliment them on something (especially if it’s Monday). They may be the CEO of a startup or the hiring manager at a Fortune 100 company. There’s no telling who you could run into. The hardest part, at least for me, is figuring out what to say when there’s nothing else to say, but you know you should keep that conversation going. Let me know what suggestions you have in the comments!
Make your brand consistent
Across all platforms. If your brand is self-proclaimed master of journaling and obsessed with your 4am yoga and that helps you in your field, make that known on all your platforms. Social media has a bio section for a reason! Post pictures or articles about your area of interest. Showcase your philanthropy, your love of nature, or your coffee art. Use hashtags, keywords, and URL’s to link your platforms and you have yourself a brand.
Now if you’ve made it this far (thank you) and don’t know where to start here’s a quick guide:
- Tailor your existing platforms. Make what you want public, and keep the rest private. You ARE allowed to have a private portion of your life. Do this by updating bios, featured pictures, or coming up with an aesthetic for your platforms.
- Do what feels right. If creating a personal website to showcase your material makes sense for your field, do that. If creating a standard resume makes sense, DO THAT. Either way, figure out what makes sense for your brand and your field and go forth.
- Expand your horizons this week. Learn or experience something new that you can use to further yourself in your life whether it be related to self-care or your career.
- Take risks. Without failure, we do not become better. Failure is a necessity to building yourself and strengthening your gifts.
There you have it, your quick, hopefully, easy guide to getting your personal brand off the ground.
Happy Monday, friends.