News & Resources »

Considering your online presence and building your brand

Published 6th July 2016

Social media has taken on many duties in how it’s used, from networking and marketing, to arguably the most well-known method of connecting and keeping in touch with family and friends.

With the rise of professionally-minded platforms aimed at creating business, social ‘networks’ began to morph into social ‘networking’. This networking component has brought a concept where “network” was simply a noun, and turned it into a verb.

In the advent of many personalities – as individuals, small business owners or something else – using any and every social media platform to get their personal brand out there, Human Resources teams are taking advantage of the many benefits this allows. An awareness of this HR perspective on social networking can help professionals get even more out of their online presence.

Recruitment became a whole lot easier and more efficient for recruiter and the recruited
This is particularly so for those companies that have a high level of desirability and exposure, but also works with those who simply have a strong network of followers. By HR teams taking advantage of their online networking, sharing job vacancies online leads to a greater pool of applicants to choose from. Not only that, but hiring managers can also take the opportunity to screen candidates more thoroughly, finding out more about them. This is where the opportunities come in for professionals themselves.

Professionals have more opportunity to present themselves
This can really play as an advantage or, in some cases, a distinct disadvantage to professionals looking for work, whether this is as employees or as independent workers looking for their next contract role.
How you present yourself online has become an important aspect to consider during the job hunting process, or even while you’re simply networking. And this kind of presence goes beyond what you put or share on LinkedIn. Prospective clients, employers or collaborators will not only search for you on professional networking platforms such as LinkedIn, but will also look you up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or anything else you happen to also use (including the trusty Google search).
This concept isn’t new, yet the wide scope of how this can affect your success in connecting with those important contacts is still often overlooked. So what can you do about it?

Building your brand
Beyond adjusting your privacy settings and being more selective with who you connect or become friends with online, there is a lot more you can do to proactively build your brand – whether that brand is a small business or just you!
You don’t always need a specialised page on Facebook (for example) to do this, particularly if you are not running a business as such but rather cementing your status as knowledgeable and skilled in your area of work. On whichever page, profile or platform you choose, you have a great opportunity to use it to build your brand. You can do this by positioning yourself as more of an industry expert and sharing thought leader pieces in your field (whether you’ve written them yourself or are providing commentary on something someone else has written). You can also use it as a tool to follow or connect with people of expertise in the industry, and be active in engaging with others.
The trick here is to really choose the most appropriate platform for you. For example, you may be on Facebook but if you use it for a mostly social purpose you risk alienating those close to you if they aren’t your desired audience professionally. This is where specific business networking sites that harbour your key demographic professionally would do you more good in the world of building your professional brand. Your efforts in positioning yourself won’t be as wasted as they might when the ‘right’ people professionally aren’t seeing or reading what you have to say. The added, and perhaps one of the most overlooked but important, benefits having a professional online presence separate to your personal online presence is that you can keep your personal profiles as private as you like and keep your professional profiles more accessible (again, as much as you’d like) to those who are looking to network and build their contacts.

Now what?
Now you just need to make a decision. Like with all things, you can’t move forward properly without understanding what you want out of it. It’s easy enough to figure out whether you want to separate your personal and professional life online; the action steps beyond that are to adjust a few of those privacy settings and get started!