With the dawn of social media, building a personal brand become something of a pastime. More recently, however, since social media has taken centre-stage in recruitment, building your personal brand has never been more of a necessity. You would be hard-pressed to find a recruiter or hiring manager who does not turn to social media as part of the background check on a potential candidate. It is crucial to make sure that you are presenting yourself in the best way possible across any social platform you use. So how can you build a solid and professionally seamless presence on social media while still enjoying the platforms recreationally? The team at CA have some advice to share.
Know how to use the settings
You can ‘clean up’ your social media presence as much as you want but if you don’t have your settings configured in the right way, then someone else could be your downfall. A good example would be when others post on your timeline in Facebook. So that you are able to ‘quality control’, make sure you switch on the review function that allows you to have a look at what was posted before it hits your timeline. If it’s inappropriate, simply disallow it.
If you’ve only just started to take an interest in how your brand is presented across your social media platforms, spend some time going back through your own posts, photos and statuses*. Anything that you deem a little controversial, either delete or change the settings so that only you and your own friends can see it. Make sure to pay attention to any friends’ photos that you might have been tagged in that don’t put you in a good light. If this situation occurs, simply untag yourself. It’s a good idea to enable restricted tagging as well to ensure that you won’t be featured in any unsavoury pics going forward.
*Heads-up – this ‘trip down memory lane’ stage can be a time consuming one!
Groups, pages, apps
This is a stage of social media clean-up that many miss. You can easily be judged on the groups you participate in, the pages you like and the apps you enable. If a potential employer sees that you have countless game apps on your Facebook page, it’s not going to make you look like the most conscientious candidate for the job.
Consider making your profiles private
You won’t be judged if your social media profiles are as locked down as they can be. In fact, this is the easiest way to ensure any damage control. However, it also means it can be more difficult to build your brand as people you are not presently linked to will not be able to see your social media activity. Part of building your brand is not just having a ‘PC’ presence, but demonstrating that your social activity is relevant to your career path and that you take a significant interest in it. It’s totally up to you how you prefer to handle it – those who dislike social media may simply prefer to lock down profiles, while those more savvy and embracing will use the various settings to their advantage.
Understand the differences between the platforms
There is a marked difference between the kind of content and conversation that occurs on LinkedIn compared to Twitter or Facebook. The former requires stricter codes of conduct in terms of professionalism, while the latter two are platforms that you can more easily demonstrate your personality through. Both aspects of your personal brand count. While you don’t want anything that would put you in a bad light to be publicly accessible on Facebook, you are still allowed to show your personality on the platform. Essentially, Facebook is more about the personal brand and LinkedIn is more about the professional one. It’s up to you to strike the balance between the two. WIth an ever-increasing number of apps with which to build your brand, it’s important to make sure you have them all down pat before you really get into using them as professional tools.
Building and maintaining a solid personal and professional brand via your social media profiles requires consistency and a good understanding of how the platforms work, along with figuring out the settings that work best for you. Take some time to set up your networks properly and then keeping them active will be a simple and enjoyable task.