When making a good impression, how you conduct yourself online is now just as important as your offline behavior. As the internet is available around the clock, there’s a good chance that what is online about you is influencing people’s perception of you. Social media, which likely makes up most of your online presence, can either positively or negatively impact you. By creating a personal brand, you can influence how people perceive you on and offline.
In a recent post, we discussed the importance and value of curating your personal brand online, as there’s a good chance that the first impression someone has of you is from an encounter you might not even be aware of (i.e., viewing your social media profiles). Consider, does the persona that shows up when people Google your name aligns with what you want people to think about you? If it does, there are actions you may be able to take to create an even stronger personal brand. You may be wondering how to build your personal brand if it doesn’t.
In this article, we:
- Define personal branding and outline why it matters for your career;
- Discuss how social media contributes to your personal brand;
- Discuss ways to identify and understand your personal brand; and
- Provide actionable steps you can take to improve your personal branding so that you can land your dream job whether now or in the future.
Quality vs. quantity: Invest your time in specific social channels
Your personal brand is what people think of and feel when they come across your name or see your photo. By developing a personal brand, you can intentionally craft the way you are perceived by others and ensure it aligns with your true self. Don’t get too excited. You must know that creating a personal brand is not an item to check off your to-do list. It is something that you must maintain. For this reason, marketers talk about personal branding as a long-term endeavor rather than a one-time activity.
There are different approaches to building your personal branding on social media. One strategy involves focusing on quantity, one on quality, and another requires you to balance quality and quantity.
1) Quantity of social content and online platforms used to build your personal brand
This involves the number of social platforms you are on and how much you show up on them. Some people try to be present on all social media. With this tactic, you try to show up in as many places as possible to increase your chances of interacting with your target audience. However, the more platforms you are on, the more channels you have to maintain. With time being the limiting factor, you may not have adequate time to invest in each platform, and thus you have to compromise on the quality of the content your produce.
2) Quality of content you produce to build your personal brand
By focusing on quality, you can improve the depth of the content and quality of interactions you have on a social platform. Quality may require you to focus on fewer social platforms so that you can do the ones you are on really well. Quality is essential for not only person-to-person interaction, but even Google heavily weighs the quality of content. As a matter of fact, quality is one of Google's five key factors for showing content to users.
To build your personal brand, it’s helpful to invest your time in specific channels. Pick a medium and do it really well! Although the quality of the content you post is undoubtedly important, quantity is still significant. The frequency of posting plays one of the key roles in boosting your brand, so make sure you share content regularly. When it comes to personal branding on social media, you must balance the quality of content with the quantity of both content (i.e., frequency of posts) and the number of platforms you are on.
Building your personal brand on social media requires constant learning
Social media has been around for quite some time and is now engrained into our daily routines. According to Smart Insights, 59% of the world’s population (in other words, 4.7 billion people) use some form of social media, with the average person spending 2 hours 29 minutes each day on a social platform. This means that you have 2 hours and 29 minutes daily to interact with 4.7 billion people you may not have had an opportunity to engage with face-to-face if social media was never created.
With each iteration of a social media platform comes new opportunities. As the number of people using social media continues to climb, the demographic profiles of people on these platforms also evolve. In addition, the functionalities of each platform are continually being adapted in response to emerging trends. The Facebook we use today is not the same Facebook we used when it was created in 2004. To effectively develop and maintain your personal brand, it is valuable to be familiar with the changes and to ensure that the platform you are on today is still suitable and most aligned with your goals. For example, Facebook is used to connect with people you know: friends, family, and colleagues. However, more and more, it’s being used as a platform to network with people in your industry or with similar hobbies or interests. If the purpose of creating a personal brand is to network with strangers, Facebook is now a feasible option. Being aware of new functionalities, opportunities, and changes allows you to ensure you are using each of the tools to the greatest extent possible.
It can sometimes be hard to keep up with these changes, especially if you don’t use the platforms daily. Before building your personal brand on a single social media platform, it’s valuable to research each to identify which is most aligned with your goals (personal, life, and career). Remember – something you know about the platform from the past might not be relevant or accurate anymore.
Platforms to build your personal brand on social media
Facebook is the iconic platform that revolutionized the essence of social media. Despite far more platforms available than ever, Facebook remains the most used social media platform. With increasing users, there has been a shift in the demographics of the platform's users. In 2014/2015, 71% of American teens between 13 and 17 used Facebook. However, in 2022 this percentage decreased significantly to 32%. If you want your personal brand to resonate with millennials or GenZers, this platform may not be your best option.
However, Facebook Groups may be a valuable tool if you are looking for a job. They allow you to get in touch with individuals sharing your interests and networking with them. Unlike LinkedIn, Facebook offers a less formal environment, making getting to know and chatting with people slightly easier.
YouTube is an excellent tool for building your personal brand if you like being in front of the camera or producing media. For some, this might be a platform to promote skills, while for others, it offers an opportunity to promote their persona. On YouTube, you can take static content and make it dynamic, so people really get the essence of who you are. For example, you could feature an "elevator pitch," a summary of your skills and interests targeted towards a career field of interest, or a brief explanation of a successfully implemented work project.
To build a presence on YouTube, you need to set up an account. It's important to be intentional with this, as every step in this process plays a critical role in brand awareness. Take time to select an appropriate profile picture, cover photo, and channel description. After you have set up the account, identify the topic areas you want to produce content about. To do this, identify the problem you want to solve and the value you wish to provide to others. For inspiration, look at people you look up to on Youtube to see what they are doing. Identify what you like about their channel and things you would do differently. If you want to stand out from the crowd, ensure the topic you're creating a video on hasn't already been tackled dozens of times. Or consider what you could do differently and how your video adds value. If you have the chance, collaborate with other content creators and leverage their audience to boost your brand awareness.
Instagram is mainly used by Millennials and GenZers, with 61.6% of its users being between 25 and 44 years old. This is the social media platform of choice among those between 16 and 24 years old, even surpassing TikTok. If this age range aligns with the group of people you want to attract to your online presence, Instagram may be a valuable channel to invest time in.
Instagram is a visual-first platform and thus allows you to produce more lifestyle-focused content. This platform enables you to showcase your personality, values, and culture. With Instagram, you can curate a personal brand that includes aspects of your life outside work. On the flip side, you can also consume content to get more insight into the day-to-day life of your dream company or other people you look up to.
TikTok came out of nowhere and grew exponentially. It is now the sixth most popular social media platform and seems to be the one everyone is talking about. And there's a solid reason why it's the topic of conversation. In the first quarter of 2022, over 1 billion monthly TikTok users consumed more than a billion videos daily. You've read that right - more than a billion videos are watched on TikTok daily! This data alone reflects the potential of the platform for reaching your audience. Once you add that TikTok has the highest engagement rate per post among all platforms, the buzz around this platform becomes quite understandable. TikTok definitely isn't just for "the kids" anymore, and a good video can go viral faster here than on any other channel.
TikTok allows you to post short-video content. With that, how you set it up is similar to YouTube: set up an account with your name, identify the topics you want to cover (those that are of interest to your audience), explore what others are doing, and keep track of trends on the platform (e.g. challenges that everyone is doing, or popular audio sounds, etc.) and leverage them to increase your brand awareness.
Additionally, you can also use this platform for job hunting. For example, you can search for tips and tricks using hashtags such as #jobsearch or #careertok. If you want to take it to another level, consider preparing a video resume and sharing it on your profile. The possibilities are actually endless with this one - try being creative!
LinkedIn is a platform for professional engagement. It is ideal for boosting thought leadership. LinkedIn is increasingly used to fill job vacancies, as 92% of companies use social media for hiring. So not only is LinkedIn a good place to focus your attention to build a professional personal brand, but it is also an incredible tool for job searching. Optimizing your profile on LinkedIn increases the chances that recruiters will notice you.
Your profile should include detailed relevant professional information, including your previous experience, skillset, and education history. Additionally, you'll want to optimize your biography as this is what people are likely to read first about you. On LinkedIn, you can showcase your key accomplishments, work experience, interests, and hobbies. My tip is to be selective in what you showcase on your LinkedIn profile to ensure it aligns with your personal brand.
Not only do you want to optimize your profile, but you'll also want to capitalize on other networking opportunities on LinkedIn. You should follow companies you're interested in working with or look up to as they are likely to share company and sector-wide profiles, which will help you stay on top of industry trends. Additionally, join LinkedIn Groups. You can join groups based on your geographical location, alumni groups, or even specific industry-focused ones.
Include some work samples in your profile and try to accumulate recommendations and endorsements. If you are looking for a job, mark that on your LinkedIn to let recruiters know you're open to new job opportunities.
Through LinkedIn, you can also attend online and in-person networking events. Joining conversations on the platform is pretty easy, too - type in your chosen hashtag (topic of your interest) into the search box and look at the latest content shared on the topic. Then simply comment directly on the post sharing your opinion, a new perspective, or feelings on the subject. You can also follow the relevant hashtags to always stay on top.
Explore other platforms
Understanding where your target audience lives online can be a strategic way to ensure you show up in the right place. You can use several other platforms to build your personal brand and engage with your ideal audience. You may also consider platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Quora, and others. Remember – the first step is always understanding your audience and their habits – where they spend time is where you need to spend time too.
As a Marketing Lead at Jarvis, Aida works on developing marketing projects with a strong focus on telling Jarvis’ inspiring story. She is passionate about communications in all shapes, forms, and colors.
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Jarvis is a leading IT consulting firm headquartered in Canada that provides total talent solutions with ongoing partnerships across North America’s top financial institutions, cutting-edge startups, and major technology companies.
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