Most people have been told, at one point or another, that having a “professional brand” will help you advance your career. And while it’s a good idea to focus on what you want to be known for around the office or even within your field - how do you go about establishing this brand?
Leveraging social media as a tool to extend your professional brand is something anyone can do. Check out these five tips to establish your brand and voice as a passionate, proactive public servant on social media.
- Find Your Focus
Social media channels can often be overwhelming. There are barely any rules or limits to what or how often you can post. This can sometimes lead to a confusing feed. You need to focus on what you’re trying to say on social media and stay consistent. For example, if you’re trying to get ahead in your career in human resources, there is no need to post about sports on your LinkedIn account. If your goal is to build a curated feed based on your professional interests, you might consider creating a separate personal account for posts related to more personal interests.
- Share quality content.
“Fake news” is having a bit of a moment right now and it’s important to establish yourself by only posting credible sources. An easy way to do this is to select articles and content to post like you would when writing a college essay. If the source seems questionable, skip it. Rely on sources you know and trust when posting or supporting your arguments on social media. Do a little research and find out who the thoughts leaders are in your field and follow them. Also reach out and follow associations you’re interested in.
- Be Supportive.
One of the best ways to increase your social media network is by posting other people’s content. Support your peers by sharing their content - everyone loves a good shout out. Most people will reciprocate the effort as well, giving you exposure to their network. If you attend events, trainings, or webinars, it’s also a great idea to live-tweet, mention the speakers and use the relevant hashtags to grow your network.
- Follow up.
By far, one of the most overlooked aspects of social media is the power of following up. Met someone interesting recently at a networking event? Follow up with them on social media. LinkedIn is the no brainer, but check to see if they have a Twitter handle as well. Most likely, they’ll follow you back. Every professional introduction can be valuable and social media is a great way to solidify these connections. When you’re looking for a new position in gov, or maybe just another person who might deal with the same career challenges, the bigger your social network is, the better chance you have in finding a helpful connection.
- Be Active and Consistent.
Don’t forget that building a brand on social media takes time. Dedicate 30 minutes a day to post new content, follow a few peers and check out relevant feeds. There are tons of free social media management tools to help you.
It can take a little time to establish yourself on social media but with some time and thought out strategy, your online presence will be an invaluable tool to help you create the brand you want in public service. Be sure to include your professionally-appropriate handles on your resume and email signature!