For this week’s post I read the book, Branding Yourself: How to use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself by Erik Deckerds and Kyle Lacy. I feel as though this book fits directly in with the curriculum of Journalism 360, and also describes in detail the professional uses of each social media platform, as well as how you should present yourself in order to attract future employers. The book begins by explaining the proper way to self-promote or “brand” one’s self on social media. This is something that I personally have always struggled with, because I want the world to see that I am doing well, but I do not want to seem like I am bragging about myself. I learned that self-promotion is a main factor is the only way to let employers, and other people know who you are, and what you do. Self-promoting can make you very successful, if done correctly. Self-promoting ties directly in with personal branding, meaning it is important to create a profile that warrants the emotional response you want an employer to have when they see your profile, or meet you in person. An example in the book is; if you’re a comedian, and you want to promote your business then your profile would have to reflect your humorous nature, and it is even a good idea to post some of your routines to be recognized.
There are five universal objectives of personal branding; discovering your passion, be bold, tell your story, create relationships, and taking action. It is important to discover your passion in order to achieve your goal. When using social media in a professional sense it is important to connect with people who share the same passions as you do, so that ultimately they can help you get a career in your field of interest. Be bold, and do not be afraid to talk about yourself (within reason) on social media sites. The only way for people to know the things that you have accomplished, is if you tell them in a manner that does not make you seem like anyone that you are not. You cannot claim that you were the general manager at a restaurant, if you only have assistant manager training. However, when talking about yourself make sure that the content is appropriate; no employer wants to know that you went to the club and got wasted. Tell your story; this is the most difficult and time consuming part of branding yourself because you have to let the word know who you are without constantly talking about yourself. While it is okay to talk about yourself sometimes, you can be more successful by talking to others about their achievements and similar interests. Another way to go about telling your story without talking about yourself would simply be to live that life. Stories can be told through check-ins on Foursquare, pictures on Instagram, and even liked events on Facebook. It is important to keep in mind that all of the information on social media is available to basically anyone, so be cautious with the images you post, or the things that you say because once they are on the internet employers can have access to them with the click of a link. Creating relationships is also important when self branding because relationships lead to opportunities. My mother always said to me “it’s all about who you know”, and to some degree that is true the more people that you are connected to the better chance they can open a new door of opportunity for you. The final objective is to take action; if you have business plans then you need to spread the word to put those plans in motion. If you want to be recognized in your field then you have to work hard in hopes that social media will lead you to the right person at the right time. Reading this book really showed me that it is important to network when you are trying to establish a career.
Even if you are not on social media as a professional, it is still important to choose the events that you feel comfortable sharing with the world, and keep the rest of your life private. There are some dos and don’ts of posting regardless of your social media goals. Even if your target audience is not future employers, family members also have access to your social media sites so do not post any pictures that would “shock your mother”. Do not use your personal brand story as a marketing pitch because it makes you seem too eager. Do not ask for things first, wait and ask for things second. Other people can be a great marketing tool, and most are willing to help. If someone asks for help, help them, but remember that for the next time you need help. They will be more willing to help you if you have helped them in the past. Also, try not to ask for help too much because then people will not want to help you because they will feel as though they are being used to some degree. Do not get distracted, when telling your brand story make sure to stay on topic and focused so that employers can see you true potential. Do not underestimate the power of your social network. The people you associate yourself with could lead you to the next big opportunity, so it is important to stay connected to people that share similar interests. Invest in yourself, create a blog, or a podcast to get your message out there. Invest in other people, and help them promote themselves. Finally, the last bit of blogging advice would be to be visible and active. The more open you are the more approachable you seem to be by future employers.
Why blog? Bogging is a form of self-expression that allows you to connect with people who share the same interests as you do. It is so important to blog because social media can be used in so many different ways. Blogging can be used to show your expertise, it can be used to sell or market something, or it could be used simply because you have something that you want to say. There are so many social media platforms such as; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Instagram, Google plus, WordPress, and even MySpace. Some social media sites are much more business oriented than others. It is easy to see the vibe, if you will of the social media site once you have logged on. There are some sites such as Twitter that you can create posts just about as many times a day as you would like, but for sites such as LinkedIn it is a much more professional setting. LinkedIn is a business oriented site, where professionals can connect with other professionals within their field, so it is important to only post things that are important. It would be inappropriate to post everything that you are doing over the weekend. Twitter and Facebook are more relaxed. Usually, in my opinion Twitter and Facebook is used primarily for personal use only. However, if you have a business then Twitter and Facebook can be used to promote your business. You can post as much as you like on most social media sites, just make sure the content is appropriate because people will be able to see it. PR and social media tie directly into the content of the book that I read, because it is all about how to establish yourself professionally by using social media as a tool. I learned so much about what I should and should not do online, and what content belongs on which social media site. I also learned that by using social media you can basically achieve anything you want because there are professionals that are also on social media that are willing to help people especially college students. With social media the possibilities are limitless.
Deckers, Erik, and Kyle Lacy. Branding yourself: How to use social media to invent or reinvent yourself. Indianapolis, Ind.: Que Pub., 2011. Print.