To brand yourself is to treat yourself like a brand and market that brand to people you want to attract and get noticed by. In the context of your career, these people will be employers, recruiters, clients and other people of influence. In this age of digital technology, social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest are fast becoming the go-to tools for people looking to brand themselves and share that personal brand with the world.
Choose the Right Platforms
There are too many social media sites out there for you to join all of them without spreading yourself too thinly, so be selective about which ones you want to use. Pretty much every professional should be on LinkedIn but beyond that it’s up to you to decide which social networks are most relevant to the kind of brand you are. If your line of work is very visual, Instagram or Pinterest may be for you – for example, chefs can take photos of dishes they’ve prepared and post them on these photo-sharing sites.
Dress the Shop Window
Famous retail brands such as Primark and Selfridges invest a lot of time and money dressing their shop windows because they know how important aesthetics are when it comes to enticing customers. As your social media profiles are shop windows for your brand, you need to make them look pleasing to the eye. Consider customising the colour scheme on your Twitter page or uploading a background image to your LinkedIn profile, for example.
However many social media profiles you have and however you choose to dress them, you want there to be a level of consistency across all the platforms. The most popular brands are consistent in how they present themselves. For instance, the big brands all have logos that appear on each and every one of their products; the logo barely varies in appearance from product to product – if at all. One way to brand yourself consistently across all social networks is to use the same profile photo of yourself everywhere.
Use Bios as Elevator Pitches
Most social media sites will allow you to write a short biography as part of your profile page. Use this opportunity to create an elevator pitch that tells everyone who visits your page who you are, what you do and what you want to do. Just think about what you would say if someone asked you to give them your elevator pitch at a face-to-face networking event, and write down what you come up with.
Branding yourself is not about pretending to be something you’re not and being yourself is not about refusing to censor yourself. Being authentic on social media while staying professional is about getting the balance right between an overly polished persona and a completely unfiltered one. You can share photos on Facebook that show you relaxing with friends and family without those photos being of a drunken night out. You can speak your mind on Twitter without swearing