Build your Brand: Pave Your Way to Professionalism

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 11.38.45Why build your own brand?

Developing an authentic, recognisable personal brand opens up professional opportunities by helping you network and stand out from the crowd [1].

Jobvite 2014

Photo credits. JobVite Social Recruiting Survey 2014 shows that industries are most likely to use LinkedIn, Facebook and even Twitter to help their recruiting process.

 

Why online?

Online recruiting has become the norm, with a large emphasis on using social media for the process. A whopping 94% of industries use LinkedIn, and 66% use Facebook accounts [2].

Why should we be authentic online?

Authenticity is the quality of being genuine, truthful and legitimate. This gives your profile personality, allowing others to identify with your values and beliefs; in marketing, consumers are often buying more than just a product [3].

So why stop at seeking job opportunities, when you can also use the web to build your own brand?

Lucy Cronin, a  personal trainer, established herself on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by successfully gaining followers and consequently, a clientele. A recent study found that nearly 80% of UK consumers would be more inclined to a particular brand based on it’s social media presence [4]. She has skilfully used the powers of social media (through networking, posting, and sharing) to build her business and promote healthy living. See her video.

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Use these transferable skills to both build your personal brand and produce an authentic professional profile:

  1. Define and refine:
    Create a vision for yourself and set defined goals for yourself, then you can determine who your target audience is [1]. On LinkedIn, describe your professional skills and qualities but remember – the recruiters do not want to read long, wordy descriptions so try to keep it short, sharp and powerful.
  1. Use multiple platforms:
    Social Media Logotype Background

    Photo credits. The many different Social networking websites available – why just have LinkedIn when you can also have a blog?

    LinkedIn obviously dominates as a social network recruitment tool[2]. However, using multiple avenues to engage employers and/or clientele is beneficial; LucyCroninPT uses three networking modalities to reach her audience. More importantly, connect these websites together through a common name or even, an About.me page!

    Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 14.28.44

    My About.me page. About.me is personal and unique web hosting service which can link multiple online identities onto one, simple to use page!

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Consistency is key:
    When your name is Googled, the message portrayed must be consistent across the board. With multiple online profiles (although contrary to Topic 2) authenticity can be maintained by keeping a consistent name/handle throughout.
  1. Monitor and update:
    Once your LinkedIn and/or personal brand is established, it is important to monitor it’s the growth and perception by the target audience. Keep it up to date constantly as times are changing and you don’t want to miss out on any opportunities! You may want to use this helpful guide for LinkedIn.
  1. Be yourself:
    Chris Ducker reasons that authenticity allowed him to be unique and resonate with his followers when blogging [1a]. If you don’t appear to be real this could lead to mistrust. Also, everyone is unique and ‘uniqueness’ is attractive as it inspires creativity. Learning to embrace this and using it to promote yourself will give you serious advantages over competition.

Lastly, for some inspiration:

References

1. Neil Patel & Aaron Agius. The Complete Guide to Building your Personal Brand.  Quicksprout. Available at: https://www.quicksprout.com/the-complete-guide-to-building-your-personal-brand/ [Accessed 8th March 2016]

1a. Neil Patel & Aaron Agius. The Complete Guide to Building your Personal Brand: How to be unique.  Quicksprout. Available at: https://www.quicksprout.com/the-complete-guide-to-building-your-personal-brand-chapter-8/ %5BAccessed 8th March 2016]

2. Jobvite, Social Recruiting Survey Results, 2014. Available at: https://www.jobvite.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Jobvite_SocialRecruiting_Survey2014.pdf [Accessed 8th March 2016]

3. Rachel Winstead, 2015. Being Yourself: The Importance Of Authenticity In Online Marketing.
Business2Community. Available at: http://www.business2community.com/online-marketing/importance-authenticity-online-marketing-01196677#XEoDy4bIgpD5lQc5.99 [Accessed 8th March 2016]

4. Harriet Clarke, 2013. Unlocking the power of social media. Internet Advertising Bureau UK. Available at: http://www.iabuk.net/blog/unlocking-the-power-of-social-media [Accessed 8th March 2016]

Screenshots from Facebook and Twitter, taken with consent.

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13 comments

  1. Hi Shriya!
    I found your example of Lucy Cronin really insightful. She definitely made good use of social media to create her own authentic brand and to attract an audience. You wrote that she did this by networking, posting and sharing on facebook, instagram and twitter. With regards to more business-oriented people, how do you think one could achieve this branding on LinkeIn? I guess again, networking, posting and sharing, however LinkedIn is more about one’s experience stated in their profile, so how could someone establish a unique brand on this particular platform in your opinion?

    1. Hi Melina!
      Thanks for your comment. This is a very valid question – I’m very new to LinkedIn and I think I won’t have much use for it until 2 years after I qualify! How about you – have you built your LinkedIn profile?
      It’s a shame that comments won’t let me add photos, but I found a feature on LinkedIn which lets you post in a similar way to Facebook. Maybe having a link to your About.me page, blogs and other social media websites on LinkedIn could help but this is dependent on whether the recruiter/employer has the time and patience to trawl through your profile!

      Jeff Korhan (2012) suggests that “the real value of LinkedIn for [growing] businesses is to connect one-to-one with other business professionals.” His tips are quite good, and he proposes that they can help you become more visible as well as better engaged with business intelligence. He advises on how to optimise your profile for search discovery and ranking (I just googled myself and realised I need to improve this as I came up as the 7th Shriya Kumar on LinkedIn!); how to personalise for interaction; and how to organise for networking.

      Hope that answers the question! Heres the reference: Jeff Korhan, 2012. 10 LinkedIn Tips for Building Your Business. Social Media Examiner. http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/linkedin-tips-business-building/

  2. Hi Shriya, I really liked your blog and it made me think a lot! Like me, you began by talking about ‘building your own brand’. I definitely think this is important and something I hadn’t really thought about until I did this blog. Nowadays so much of what we say and do ends up online even if we don’t want it too, so if we don’t make a conscious effort develop our own brand, we may come across in a less authentic way. Your post touched upon having an ‘About Me’ page. This is something that I hadn’t included in my blog, but from discussing building your own brand, I think this is an important step in that process. What I found most interesting was your discussion on Lucy Cronin. I’ve definitely noticed people building their own brand online on social media. One girl I follow on instagram has amassed 20,000 followers in the last 6 months and this opened my eyes to how quickly (and easily?) this can happen. But I notice there is a trend in that they are mostly all fitness accounts. So do you agree this is only possible for certain careers? And also do you think that by doing this people shut off other career pathways? So for example, when I Googled Lucy Cronin the results all relate to fitness, what if she wanted a change of career?

    1. Hi Abby! Thanks for reading my post and for your comment 🙂
      Yes! Unfortunately doctors don’t like LinkedIn all that much so there aren’t many medical students on it, so I thought of the other ways of being professional and authentic online involves small businesses and personal branding! I agree – if you don’t control your online presence what you may be portraying could be inauthentic. I like About.me because its so simple and it has everything all in one place! LinkedIn in comparison is very daunting – I had to use the slideshare that Clayton Jones made to help me develop my LinkedIn – have a look if you wish: http://www.slideshare.net/ClaytonJones8/linkedin-tips-59488230 it was very helpful!

      I completely agree with you – this may only be possible for very certain careers (i.e. a Secretary/office worker/HR management consultant would have no use for this form of social media and branding!). Thank you for mentioning that; over the past 2 days I have realised there are many different social media websites and networks one might use that Holly Tripp brought to light: https://shar.es/1Y3Fau (she termed it industry specific social networks)!

      To answer your final question – yes, possibly! But I’ve also learnt that embracing the powers of social media can inspire those around you: I started following an Anaesthetist that I aspire to be like who takes to social media by blogging, tweeting, vining his ideas and views (especially about the junior doctor contracts) (@traumagasdoc). This may not directly improve his professional profile but it may open up indirect opportunities for him by making him well-known and looked up to. All experience is experience at the end of the day!

      Have you found anyone influential and inspiring on social media?
      S

      1. Hi Shriya, thanks for the insightful reply! Living with a medical student, I’ve definitely been more aware of the interactions between healthcare professionals on twitter, especially about the junior doctor contracts; if you type in #juniordoctorcontracts on twitter, you get so many interesting views on it. I guess it doesn’t always need to directly influence your career but social media may help to circulate ideas and issues, which could still help you in the long run, like you say you found with @traumagasdoc. We both agree that different careers benefit in different ways from social media- I think its just finding out what works best for your chosen career.

  3. Hi Shriya. I enjoyed your blog post and it certainly made me consider the importance of building a personal brand in creating an authentic online professional presence.

    You started to explore how to build your personal brand in the video featured in your post however it would have been interesting for you to talk about this more. Hyder’s article for Forbes.com makes building a personal brand easy in 7 steps and also explores the advantages of having one – you should have a look!

    I noticed in others’ comments and also on my own social media accounts that although your example of Lucy Cronin’s branding success was good, it follows a trend that fitness accounts and personalities tend to grow their personal brands quicker on social networks. What would you suggest for those in other career pathways who want to create a strong personal brand?

    Hyder’s articles for Forbes.com – http://www.forbes.com/sites/shamahyder/2014/08/18/7-things-you-can-do-to-build-an-awesome-personal-brand/#4346e7f61274

    1. Hey! Sorry for the late reply!
      Thanks for the article, I think I’ve seen it before and it makes good points. I think I found her 5th point to be an aspect I found important but difficult – for example when I was writing some posts for this blog (unrelated to UOSM2008) I didn’t want to just post photos of my food and dog (that’s for Instagram), I wanted each post to have a purpose, a reason for reading and something that was (hopefully) interesting e.g. Lab.
      As for your question about other career pathways, I think LinkedIn is the obvious answer for an online resume but blogging and most other social networking sites can help you create a strong brand. It may not help you get a job directly, rather just help you in the process. What do you think, what’s your opinion?

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