We, my friends, are brands.
What people perceive of you, how much they trust you with work, is what makes you a better brand. A good personal brand is characterised by clean public image, popularity, trust worthiness with work and public conduct.
Your social media profile plays a very important role in determining the first step to it.
Why do we need to build a good reputation / personal brand?
It is required for building and maintaining good relations with people. A little bit of good behaviour will never harm anyone. If people trust you now, they might trust you with work / collaboration tomorrow. If you’re intelligent enough, I guess you might have figured out what it might have in store for you.
Well, if you haven’t, this article is not for you.
Personal Branding is a huge term, most of which even I’ve not explored at 26. I’d however speak about social media etiquettes that definitely betters your personal brand. I am not going to speak about ways to increase your following over social media as I do not know any.
I am writing this for people younger to me and for people who might want me to speak on this. I would speak strictly from my experience. I write this for all the students who aspire to be something slightly different, want to be good professionals and future leaders.
Not that these are the only things that would make you successful. In extreme layman’s words, personal branding is the way you take care of your public image. If you do not care about it, no one else will.
Presuming that your have your complete full name in your profile with no fancy middle name,
lets discuss about a proper profile picture!
This is perhaps the most important aspect. Every stranger notices this. The stranger could be your future manager, your prospective client or someone you’d like to date. Please make your face properly visible. Prefered would be a profile picture which features only you and no one else.
Yes, I know you might love your girlfriend more than your career or that you are very pissed and you’ve decided to make “F*** 377” your profile picture. But what impact does it have on the stranger who is trying to look you up on social media? (Read: How a rude photograph kill you brand here.)
1. Try to have your name written in English.
2. Better, if you have the same profile picture over popular social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or even WhatsApp, it becomes a sort of identity.
3. Keep a high resolution copy of the photograph ready, perhaps in a dropbox folder. There have been cases, where I was required to send either my photograph or Kolkata Bloggers logo to an event management company at a very short notice period. Always stay prepared.
Your profile picture is important and is your identity. Know more about profile pictures in personal branding here.
The cover photograph can be an excellent tool to sell what you want to sell. It can be a product, the cause you are fighting for, your recent experience or even achievement. And yes, you can place your girlfriend here as well. If you are a musician, you can put up your photograph while jamming, with the link to your soundcloud account in the description.
Status updates are perhaps the next thing people notice. It is advisable not to use expletives. While I say this, I assume that my readers would prefer not sharing pornographic material on their wall. Further more, what you share and how you do it, is often noticed.
Are you mocking others too much?
Are you being too critical of the organisation you are working for / or the government ?
Do you seem to have an opinion about everything?
Are you completely emotionally driven?
Were you comfortable posing for the photograph you’ve posted very recently?
Any content on your wall, or the lack of it, gives an impression.
If I’m a recruiter, I might not want someone whose tone might hurt others in my team. I might not even want someone who is unnecessarily critical of the organisation he works in.
1. Post your own thoughts. Do not copy from other’s updates without proper credit.
2. SHARE your knowledge once in a while. Use layman’s language while doing so.
3. Any claim should be followed by a citation, preferably a link, clicking on which the reader could go for further reading.
4. You have the liberty to publicise your work. Please do. But know where to draw the line between the creator and the creation. The priority should be to promote the creation first, creator later.
5. Initiate conversations. Share links of other’s work, preferably appreciating it.
6. At times, ask questions inviting opinions. Moderate such sessions properly.
7. Before sharing anything, please verify.
8. You always have the liberty to be rude with people. But that should be the last option.
Now comes another very important aspect – the one-on-one communication using social media / emails.
I would recommend the following:
- Try to respond to every comment/message. (This however is not mandatory).
- Be as humble, courteous and constructive as possible in your discussion.
- Respond to criticism with grace.
- If you are sending a friend request to someone, drop him/her a message saying a hi, introducing yourself, references to any event where you might have met him/her and perhaps the intent of sending the friend request.
- If you are conducting an event, drop a message to the speakers after they’ve left with perhaps a thank you note. This helps in further conversation building. Better if you could drop an email. That looks better and more formal.
Please use proper spelling in all your communications – messages, comments, emails, status updates. You aren’t typing a SMS and no one would charge you extra for typing the vowels. Call me old school, but I am in absolute love with vowels and I appreciate them in words and I love properly framed sentences.
Generation of content might not be restricted to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Linkedin. Please have a blog. It comes for free. No one is asking you to be India’s best blogger. You might have Bengali parents and they might want their wards to be best swimmer, best chess player, best academician, best dancer and everything combined into one, but no. Perhaps a decent blog, updated with decent content once a month also counts. But have your own blog.
Have a blog to showcase your work, aptitude and prowess. It could be photographs, videos that you make, or music that you compose. For Google to find you, Facebook updates might not help, a blog will.
1. Put up a detailed “About me” discussing things you would like your visitor to know.
2. Always have your updated career profile. I do not do it, but it is important.
3. If you could afford, please have your own domain. It should be preferably www.yourname.com
4. Have custom email ids. It leaves a better impact. Example: “[email protected]” sounds better than “[email protected]”. PS: “[email protected]” was a move, I should not have made. It only suits Rajnikanth.
5. Keep a very decent, clean and crisp design.
If possible, have one username for all social media platforms. Or at least similar. I had chosen “sahaanirban” for myself as “Anirban Saha” was easily taken. And in my school, the surnames were taken first during the attendance. My Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin username is “sahaanirban”, while Facebook one is “sahaanirbanNEW”. The old one got hacked and deleted. My blog is “www.anirbansaha.com”. Flickr, G+ page has the username “anirbansaha” and the profile has “AnirbanSahaPhotography”. Yes, I goofed up a little bit. Try to choose a unique name and stick to it.
Now I’ll ask you to do something which I do not do myself – be moderately active over all social media platforms. This is a very unrealistic thing to say especially if you are a person handling all of it yourself.
Tip: You can either find a girlfriend who could post on your behalf or you could perhaps use services like Hootsuite and IFTTT.
Having said all of these, after you get your first work through your social media contacts, make sure you perform. At the end of the day if you are all gloss and no substance, no one would pay you and that’s the worst personal branding ever!
Do ask me questions, I’m sure you must be having a few. Drop a comment using your Facebook account. Thank you.
PS: When you are working, always stick to accepted deadlines, check for quality before delivering, deliver as much as promised if not more and smile!