Personal branding on social media could easily be a full-time gig. If you’re a creative who wants to secure freelance work or a new position, you probably have several active accounts to get your name out there. But with that exposure comes the pressure to maintain the best professional online persona possible. It’s like being the head of a TV network, except nobody is paying you, and you don’t have a production team to help with the heavy lifting.
Photo from Getty | Credit: Kristin Lee
What is a creative professional to do? Mastering social media, from basic to advanced techniques, can help your personal brand stand out to companies looking for people with your unique skills and style.
1. Be consistent across platforms.
We live in a fragmented social media environment, where most people are on at least four or five platforms. Potential clients may notice you on Twitter and decide to check out your LinkedIn profile, or vice versa, so it’s important they know they’ve found the right account at first glance. Therefore, use the same profile image, name and bio across all platforms. Ensure the link to your website or online portfolio is easy to see. And be sure to utilize privacy settings to control who in your network has access to what information.
2. Match content to the medium and audience.
Each social media channel has a different purpose or strong point. For example, Instagram is image-based and optimized for mobile devices, and appeals to younger users (although older generations are starting to embrace the app). Compare that to Facebook, which is a better medium for sharing articles and viral videos, and has a much larger and broader audience.
So, to engage millennials in your design services, consider posting samples of your work on Instagram. If you’re more of a witty and insightful wordsmith, provide updates on Facebook or LinkedIn, an indispensable social network for career-minded professionals.
3. Use curation tools.
Several social platforms have rolled out sophisticated curation tools that allow you to find, filter, organize and share content of your choosing. For example, Snapchat launched Stories, a compilation of photos and videos that is visible for 24 hours. Instagram added a similar feature, which allows users to share multiple highlights from their day in a slideshow format.
Active on Twitter? You can create a Moment or scrapbook of tweets on a specific topic. By publishing Stories and Moments, you make it easier for your followers to discover and learn about your areas of interest and expertise, and reinforce your personal brand.
4. Go live.
Live broadcasting has taken off now that social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook offer video streaming tools. While the casual user can just hit a button and go on air, creatives (and video professionals, especially) should put a little more care into their efforts. Think about staging, camera angle, sound quality and lighting. For greater viewership, give followers advance notice of what and when you’ll be broadcasting.
5. Be authentic.
A creative professional’s digital footprint can tread a fine line between personal and professional. You don’t want to share every detail of your private life on social media. But if your posts are “all work and no play,” visitors might find your online presence — and you — boring. The trick is to offer intriguing glimpses that show not just what you do, but who you are. Consider occasionally adding posts about your hobbies, side projects or favorite pastimes. Your brand will be strongest when your individuality shines through and allows potential employers to connect on a more personal level.
Branding and social media go hand in hand. Never before have there been such powerful and accessible tools for being seen. But the digital sphere is a busy place, and strong personal branding is essential if you want to grab potential clients’ and employers’ attention.