Caught this on Twitter —
“What are your social media pro-tips for young women entering the workforce? These gals are online savvy, but not considering personal brand.”
And one of the first tips Tweeted? IN my opinion, it was another tip to be “online savvy”. It was a tech tip: “Reserve your domain name in your name in case you need it later in life”.
Sorry. That tip earned an UGH from me. Reserving domain names is pretty much standard practice these days and that’s a checklist tools response to the Tweet. Domain Name Reserved — Check. Twitter account — Check. Facebook page — Check. Checking those off the list earns you a completed social media platform to do list but doesn’t make you savvy as how to those platforms or to present yourself (aka your personal brand) across those various social platforms.
Here’s how I approach social media:
It is networking, pure and simple.
Behind every profile is a human being and every post is an opportunity to genuinely connect with another person. The first question for you to answer is: who are you and how do you want to be viewed in the world? What’s your personal brand right now (as I promise you, it will evolve as your career evolves). The question I spotted on Twitter was targeting “young women entering the workforce”. When I started using social media in 2008, I was employed as the Manager of Alumni Programs for a global law firm. I looked like a suit and networked like a suit — both offline and online. Fast forward 7 years, my social media use has shifted with my professional ambition (together with my networking goals for those professional ambitions).
Define your brand first, and then consider the networking venue. Most of us exert our brand differently depending on the audience in front of us. Focusing on the Big Three (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) for me:
- LinkedIn is the office or industry conference
- Facebook is the gathering of family and close friends
- Twitter is the cocktail party
That image of a physical space, puts me in the right networking frame of mind and as a result, my postings and interactions vary depending on the platform I’m networking on (aka the audience I’m addressing). My connections on LinkedIn don’t need to know what I had for breakfast or to see a LOL. My family on Facebook couldn’t care less about a #fintech meetup in New York City. On Twitter, I try to be the party guest who gets invited back into conversations. Even if I post the same content on all three sites, the posting is customized for the audience I’m speaking with. I have many interests and a diverse network however I don’t display it all at the same time in the same way.
So back to the tweet that caused this post. What’s my social media pro-tip?
Be a considerate networker.
The best brand you can have, online AND offline, is as someone who listens, who can actively engage in conversations with other people, who shares information — when asked or willingly offers it up when you know it may be helpful, who makes mutually beneficial introductions, who collaborates and is considerate, who conveys the person they are IRL and who knows that building the best personal “brand” is not all about “you”. Be intentional about how you share information and always think about who your audience really is. Be the person others want to talk to. Be the guest who gets invited back. Just be human.