Most young professionals use social media in some way or another. Many have a Facebook or Twitter account, use Instagram or Snapchat, and are on LinkedIn. But for all of the young professionals who use social media, few think about what they post and how it's perceived.
Young professionals need to think about their personal brand, and how they can use social media to their advantage. Using social media the right way can help you showcase your expertise, and get noticed by the right people. I've been using social media since 2004 and by thinking about my own personal brand and using my accounts to talk about nonprofits and best practices for social media, I've been called by newspapers and bloggers for quotes, and have been featured in local magazines.
If you've never thought about your personal brand and don't know where to start, think about who you want to be talking to and what you want them to know about you. Social media should be a way for you to showcase yourself personally and professionally.
So who do you want to talk to? Is it experts in your field? Potential customers or clients? Are you looking to meet others who have similar interests? Once you determine who you're looking to talk to, think about what you should post in order to get in front of them. Once you figure that out, start creating content and posting it. Entrepreneur Magazine put together a great article about advice on personal brand and social media, so check that out for some tips.
The most important things to keep in mind: think before you post, always remember that the internet is public and it is forever. Make sure you use proper grammar and spelling, as you will be judged. Share a mix of personal and professional things, because people like seeing more than one side of a person. Think about how your content impacts your community - are you being helpful or informative?
My personal brand includes content about my professional life - young professionals, social media and nonprofit news; and content from my personal life - running and races, delicious food and about the books I'm reading. The mix of this content gives people - HYPE members, other runners, local businesses - a great sense of who I am as a person and what's important to me. If someone follows me on Twitter and then meets me in person at a networking event, we have more to talk about than the usual work conversation.
So if you think you're ready to take your social media use to the next level, read this article by Forbes on personal branding secrets from social media superstars.
Good luck, and comment below with questions or your own tips!
Caitlin is the HYPE Program Director and also owns her own business Barefoot Media, helping nonprofits learn how to use social media.