Creating your individual brand is a way to differentiate yourself from all of the other people in your industry. Unlike a resume, your personal brand is a fluid thing that grows with you as your career grows, potentially attracting both clients and employers. While a resume or job application can get lost amidst a sea of job seekers, a good personal brand can help you stand out and even have employers and clients seek you out, rather than you having to look for them.
What is a personal brand?
In this examination, your personal brand is the culmination of everything about yourself and your professional life that you put out to the public via the internet. The lines are definitely blurred between the personal and the professional. Your goal is to establish yourself as a likable, knowledge and approachable expert in your industry. If you're a personal chef, you want people to feel that they'd be comfortable inviting you to work in their home and cook for their friends and family. If you're a scientist or an HR specialist, you want potential employers to feel that you'd be a competent and efficient addition to their teams.
You might think this would be misleading. However, the best personal brand is one that is authentic. It might be the best version of you, but it's still you. If your aim is to create a false persona, it would be difficult to keep up—your followers would quickly see through the facade.
How to build your personal brand using Facebook
Facebook, with its more than two billion active users, is a great vehicle for establishing your personal brand. Done well, a personal brand strategy on Facebook can make people think of you whenever they need someone with your skillset. Below are the steps you'll need to take to effectively create and promote your personal brand persona using the Facebook platform.
Define Your Branding Goals
The first step to launching your personal brand is to define your goals. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to land your dream job? Do you want to attract more clients or customers? Or do you want to gain more credibility in your industry, so people will turn to you when they need someone with your skillset? Whatever your goal is, you'll want a clear idea before you start setting up a branding strategy.
You'll also want to think about your target audience, who you'll be "speaking" to and who you want to attract. Are these young professionals who might be looking for a personal chef, corporate HR directors in your industry, or enthusiasts of your product or industry who will be attracted to your depth of knowledge about the industry.
Establish a Personal Branding Strategy
After you've decided on what you want to accomplish through your personal brand, it's time to set up a strategy or a game plan. Since we are talking about Facebook, this will include setting up your page and completing your profile. It should also cover how often you want to publish new posts, how often you'll check your page for comments and other notifications, and your optimum mix of videos, images and text. You'll also want to decide whether you want to join niche Facebook groups and, if so, which groups you'll join.
Share Content Regularly
Good, clear, useful content is essential to establishing your brand. You need regular posts for Facebook friends and followers to get an idea of who you are and what you're about. A good rule of thumb is to share two personal posts for every business-related post. This prevents your Facebook wall from looking like one big advertisement for your business and lets your followers learn more about who you are outside of your job. One caveat, however, make sure that your posts all reflect your desired persona. That ill-considered late-night post can negate months of careful work in building your brand.
Keep it Positive
Facebook is not the place for your thoughts on conspiracy theories, your complaints about your spouse or your boss or potential "downer" posts about how sad your life is. You're wanting to attract people to your brand, not repel them with your extreme points of view or your negative energy. Remember, also, that it's almost impossible to erase posts that you decide later aren't a good idea. Better to think twice before you initially post anything on your Facebook timeline. Even when you delete a Facebook post, parts of it can often be found via search results.
You'll also want to keep your Facebook profile positive and professional. Think of it as a job interview or a meeting with a prospective client. Would you get the job or land the client based on what you have written in your Facebook profile? That includes your profile photo.
Be Active and Responsive on All Your Social Media Channels
Another aspect of using social networks, especially Facebook, to establish and cement your personal brand is to be active and responsive. You want to post regularly so that followers will begin to get a sense of who you are and also to hold their interest. You'll also want to respond to questions and comments as well as "like" comments. This type of engagement will let your followers feel like they have a connection with you and increase their "brand" loyalty.
Keep Your Brand Voice, Image & Tone Consistent
It's important when building your brand that you keep your web persona consistent. That means writing with the same brand voice and keeping your image and tone the same. Ask yourself, "Is this post consistent with how 'Susie' (or however you identify your brand) would act or sound? This isn't being disingenuous; it's simply promoting the best (or at least the most professional) side of yourself. A consistent brand voice is important to allowing your followers to form a solid idea of what your brand represents and letting them feel like they know you.
Join Niche Groups
Niche Facebook groups can be an excellent way to connect with people who have the same professional interests as you. To use our professional chef example, joining a Facebook group for foodies and posting intelligent questions and comments is a good way to interact with potential customers without being overtly commercial. It's a way for them to get to know you and your philosophy of cooking before they hire you. While it's okay to occasionally link to your professional profile, it's best to let your words speak for themselves and let people who are interested in you click to view your Facebook pages instead. Interactions on niche Facebook groups can yield big results over time.
Since Facebook groups can take up a lot of time, it's a good idea to start off joining one or two groups and then add more, if desired, when you get more comfortable posting comments and monitoring responses on the groups you already belong to.
Building a solid personal brand is a good way to jumpstart your career after earning your degree. If you've been thinking about earning a degree online, Johnson & Wales University can help you succeed. To learn more about a degree in Digital Marketing and Social Media or one of many other degrees Johnson & Wales University offers, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].