Over the last two weeks, the topic of personal branding has come up a lot for my audience. A strong personal brand can be a major asset to reach your career goals. It's something to consider whether you are seeking traditional employment, launching a side hustle, or taking the full leap into self-employment.
Some things to consider for your personal brand whether you are a traditional employee, side hustler, or self-employed:
Traditional career path:
It's not enough to have a twitter account that you only tweet about the Bachelorette. Instead, leverage social media platforms to brand yourself as an expert in a specific area that your company craves. Are they looking for someone to unlock social media strategies? Are they looking for someone that can network like it's nobody else? Show them that you are that person!
Developing a strong personal brand and becoming well known for that it can lead to promotions for you! Just think about it from an employers perspective: if that's how you spending your free time, imagine what you could do if you were getting paid! On the flip side, it can lead to recruiters or other companies taking notice of your skills and want you! As millennials, we have way more potential than actual results in the workforce. You are taking a major step forward by showing employers that you have an innate skill and are genuinely passionate about it. Employers will take notice. In turn, they will have a deeper belief, trust, and respect in both you and your ability to be that ideal employee.'As millennials, we have way more potential than actual results in the workforce'Click To Tweet
Okay, maybe you already have a career and don't want to put it on blast that you are trying to break free from your 9-5… in that case, I would set up entirely new and branded social media platforms. Consider setting the pros and cons of setting these account up under an alias or your personal name. If using your personal name, would you care if your current employer discovered the account?
Some other things to consider: if an employer Googled you, would they be able to find that this is connected to you? And if so, would you care? You don't want to do something so out of left field that if it grows you'll hurt your current career or you won't be able to grow the brand with that name too. Next, get to networking with your newly branded social media profiles! Build relationships, be present, and start building that “like, know, and trust” factor with your audience!Build relationships, be present, and start building that 'like, know, and trust' factor with your audience!Click To Tweet
PSA: You are your brand when you're self-employed! You should have a strong personal brand, especially if your company or blog is under a different name. This adds credibility down the road, increased visibility, and an overall safety net.'PSA: You are your brand when you're self-employed!'Click To Tweet
For example, if I ever decide to shut down TCM, I always have Rachel Ritlop to fall back on. Rachel Ritlop is way more polished and professional than TCM, and if I ever decide to go work for a company again, it'll be a lot easier for Gen X to understand than TCM. Furthermore, despite TCM having a much larger digital presence, I still get plenty of brands and clients reaching out through my personal brand of Rachel Ritlop (#credibilityfactor)!
My “personal” brand showcases me as a career and business expert that gets written up in Forbes, Monster, and Fast Company…. that looks pretty serious to a potential employer! If I can get that kind of press for myself, imagine what I could do for a company?
How to brand yourself on social media: It's actually really easy! Share relevant articles and up to date research, create your own weekly or bi-monthly Twitter chat, partake in Twitter chats, Facebook Lives, or Instagram Chats to showcase your expertise, join Facebook or Linkedin Groups. Connect with others to build your social credibility and social proof (testimonials, references, praise, etc.), share people's content that you want to build a relationship with and then cold e-mail them! The possibilities for growing your brand are truly endless. You can build a personal brand by spending 10 minutes a day on it or 10 hours a day on it! It solely depends on what you're goals are, so make sure to get really clear on those before you start wasting time without a strategy!
Lastly, don't forget about your other social media profiles just because you have a polished personal brand!
What do I mean by that? I have a polished or “branded” personal Twitter and Facebook, but also a personal Facebook profile is pretty private (it's not even my real name!). People constantly find and friend me on that super secret Facebook profile even though I don't promote it anywhere. People will look for you. Make sure that your truly personal accounts are cleaned up.Privacy settings on social media are not something you 'set and forget,' they change!Click To Tweet
I can't stress this enough: Facebook and other social media platforms are constantly updating their privacy settings. Privacy settings on social media are not something you “set and forget!” They change and we ignore the little notice they send out! So ever 3-6 months check your privacy settings, make sure they are as private as possible. Consider unlisting your “real” personal pages from search engines. Double check only friends can see (not friends of friends). Remember, even with good privacy settings, think before you post! You never know who is a friend of a friend. Once it's out there, even after you delete it, it's never really gone. So be smart!