You hear everyone telling you how important it is to have a social media presence early on in your career.
But when you’re just starting out in the communications industry or any industry for that matter, it can seem overwhelming.
You have your new job to excel at; you have to get to know your boss and your colleagues.
When do you find time to have a social media presence?
Sure, you chat with your friends on SnapChat or Instagram, but that doesn’t really count, does it?
Which begs the question: when is the best time to build a personal brand on social media? And how?
How to Jumpstart Your Career with Personal Branding
The March edition of #PRStudChat focused on the importance of building a personal brand and the best ways to expand your digital presence.
Special guest and co-host, Aaron Lee, regional manager APAC at Agorapulse shared with the #PRStudChat community his experience and how building a personal brand on social media helped him get several job offers.
A lot has been said and written about personal branding and how to get in front of the companies you want to work for.
But where should you look for advice first? How can you choose the good from the bad?
And how do you know you’re doing it right? After all, your friends and family are not experts on this matter.
Let’s consider these insights, one by one.
It Starts Early
Building a personal brand on social media starts in the early stages. It starts in school.
Start while you’re in college when you have more time.
Approach it like a project.
Do your research on what’s the best platform to start on, who you’d want to connect with, what companies you want to work for.
Write down the answers to all these questions.
If you already have a social media presence, this is the best time to polish it.
Have a professional profile photo. No, your photo at a party won’t do.
Write a short introduction about yourself.
Think about how would you introduce yourself to a prospective employer. Polish it.
Have your professor take a look at it if you’re not sure.
The most important thing you need to keep in mind is this is a slow process.
It will take time, consistency, and patience. Keep at it, and it will pay off.
Think of your social media presence as your online resume.
It’s a social portfolio that showcases your passions, creativity, interest, and experience.
It’s who you are and what you care about.
That’s what potential employers will look for when checking your profile.
Where Should You Start
Should you be on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram? What about Facebook and SnapChat?
The #PRStudChat community debated a lot on what channels are the best to start your social media presence, but they all agreed on one thing: start with what interests you and find out where your potential audience gathers.
Are they on Twitter? Great! Start on Twitter.
It’s overwhelming to try to establish a social media presence on every single channel out there.
Start small. Do your research and choose the best channel for you.
Build your brand and a following there, then add a new channel to the mix.
As you add being active on social media to your routine, it will become easier.
Being Active or Being Engaged
Here’s the hard truth: social media is about engagement.
It’s not enough to be active and share content.
You have to engage and build relationships with leaders in the industry you want to enter, with influencers, and potential employers.
Find out the decision makers in the companies you want to work for, and build a relationship with them on social media.
Learn from them, ask questions, comment on their posts, read their articles.
Keep in mind you’re building a relationship. Don’t barge in asking for a job.
Connect with like-minded people, share your interests, and listen to what they have to say.
Best Practices of Building a Personal Brand on Social Media
When Aaron started building his personal brand on social media, he followed what he calls “the rule of five.”
He spoke with five people every day for six months.
His advice is to find your voice and be yourself. Be genuine and be interested in other people.
Your social media presence IS your online resume.
Be professional, be respectful, and don’t forget what you share on social media stays there forever.
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t be rude, troll people, or be angry.
Landing Your Dream Job through Social Media
Your personal brand and consistency in building connections through social media will get you in front of the right people at the companies you want to work for.
When you land an interview because your personal brand “spoke” for you, you know you’re on the right track.
Aaron got his current job with AgoraPulse thanks to the personal brand he built and the relationships he invested in.
Deborah Johnson, a PR Dream Team member, connected with her future employer on Twitter over their shared passion for the “Scandal” series.
She landed her dream job thanks to the relationship she built on the social network.
Building a personal brand on social media can jumpstart your career. But you have to invest time and dedication.
You have to do your homework and connect with people over shared passions and interests.
Business owners are always looking for smart, savvy professionals, ready to help them grow their businesses.
In these communities you are closer to them, you can learn from them, how they think, what they do, what they are looking for when hiring.
Moreover, you have the chance to share your two cents and give them a fresh perspective.
Building a personal brand is about connecting.
If you want to know more, catch up on the March #PRStudChat with this summary.
Next on #PRStudChat
The April edition of #PRStudChat focuses on digital marketing analysis and how to understand and use data as a communications professional.
Joining us as a special guest and co-host will be Chuck Hemann, managing director at W2O Group.
See you on April 26th at 12:00 p.m. EDT for another exciting learning opportunity.