How to Use Social Media to Boost Your Personal Brand

Personal branding on social media is an intimidating topic for some professionals and consultants. Maybe you’ve struggled with it, too. You want to be warm and approachable, but you don’t want to cross the line into oversharing. You want to be professional and polished, but you don’t want to be thought of as the boring guest at the cocktail party.

Choose Your Networks

The first thing to do when using social media to uplevel your personal brand is to decide how you want to be known. Pick one to three subjects you’d like to focus on, so you become THE Expert in those subject areas. And they should be things you’re excited about, because you’ll be sharing and writing about these topics for some time in order to become known as Subject Matter Expert.

You can have a profile on every social network if you want. But most professionals and consultants find their clients and cohorts stick to one or two social networks, depending on their industry or profession. If you’re in the training and development field, you’ll find Twitter and LinkedIn are traction builders. For someone in leadership at a design firm, you might find Facebook and Instagram are where your best clients hang out.

If you’re in a tech related field, you might find that your community prefers Twitter or Reddit instead. Don’t stress about this. Simply pick the two social networks where you get the most traction. These two social networks are ones to update daily.

Keep Your Social Media Profiles Consistent

Review your profiles on all your social media channels. Would someone who’s not familiar with your brand be able to tell you’re the same person? If not, it’s time to align your social media accounts. You’ll want to use the same profile picture, bio, and header image across all your social platforms. This makes it easy for visitors to recognize your brand, regardless of the social network they’re using.

Post Frequently

Maintain an active profile on the most popular social networks in your industry – and your target audience, those people who need to know about you. Some networks are better for posting multiple times a day (like Twitter), while for others posting only 2-3 times a day (or week) works better. This is another reason you want to choose only one to three platforms; activity helps you gain traction with your target audience. And you want to be able to effectively manage the social media channels you choose.

A dormant account can negatively impact your online brand.

To determine the best posting frequency, run a few short experiments. This will help you discover how frequently you should post and what times work best for your followers.

If you’re not sure what to post, follow the 4 out of 5 rule. This rule means posting 4 pieces of content that are useful to your audience to every 1 piece of promotional content. Don’t be afraid to promote great content to your followers, even if you didn’t write it. When you’re the one that shares the latest news in your industry, followers will view you as the go-to source on trends and news in your industry. Curating great content counts.

Join Communities

Once you gain some traction on social media with your personal brand, look for communities of like-minded professionals or your ideal client tribe. Facebook and LinkedIn have groups. Twitter has lists and chats, like #lrnchat for learning pros and #TwitterSmarter and #SocialROI for social media fans. But they all mean pretty much the same thing – they’re an online gathering of people around one central subject, whether that subject is learning and development, social media, HR, healthcare, etc.

The great thing about groups is that they give you a chance to form connections with other members and give them value. It’s also an easy way to do customer research and create your own professional learning network. You can discover what questions your audience frequently asks, what they struggle with, and what they would love to know more about.

Using social media to brand yourself and enhance your online reputation is a smart idea. Just remember to post and share valuable content that benefits your target audience.

CTA: Struggling with your personal brand? Join me July 11th, for “Leveraging Your Personal Brand to Propel Your Career” , an online program in partnership with the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Hope to “see” you there!

© Wendy Terwelp / www.knocks.com / All rights reserved.

Wendy Terwelp is an award-winning career expert and personal branding strategist who works with high-performing leaders and organizations who want to advance careers, rock networks, and up-level their brands online and off. Follow her @wendyterwelp.

Owning Your Personal Brand Starts with YOU

When it comes to designing your personal brand, it’s essential to understand yourself. If you don’t, you can’t possibly represent your best self to your ideal clients and others who need to know about you, like colleagues, cohorts, and coworkers. You need to know how you’re wired and be able to communicate this effectively. From there, people will choose whether to work with you or not based on what you’ve shared about yourself.

Understand how others see you.

Do you know how others see you and how you come across at work? If not, take a survey. Ask friends, family, colleagues, coworkers, managers and others whom you trust what they think your top five skills are and the top three words that come to mind when they think of you.  

By knowing who you are, what you want, and what makes you unique, you will be able to clearly communicate your goals and unique value to people in your network, whether they’re internal people from other departments, potential clients or potential employers.

Consider your top priorities.

Your top priorities can help you design your personal brand and attract your ideal client or other professionals who need to know about you to help you advance your career. One healthcare executive regularly posts photos of her marathons, family, and speaking engagements. This shows she has a solid work/life balance with a focus on health, and can easily wow an audience. Ideal positioning to attract leadership opportunities in healthcare, her target audience. She landed a senior leadership role with a major healthcare organization and was also elected to a board role with her professional association.

By sharing her interests and values online and off, she’s attracted people and organizations with similar values, which helped advance her career. (That and a stellar work history with bottom-line results.)

Choose your career goals.

Choosing your career focus is an important part of your personal brand. When you love what you do, that enthusiasm is going to shine through to your potential clients and other professionals in alignment with your brand – and your career – and attract them to you. As a result, people will be eager to work with you.

Before you decide on your career focus, it can be helpful to consider other jobs you’ve worked. What did you enjoy doing—presentations, leading others, teaching, etc.? What did you hate doing—researching, administrative tasks, etc.? When you know what you enjoy, you can fill your business and career with more of those tasks. As for the tasks you hate, consider delegating or outsourcing them to someone who enjoys them.

Own your experience.

There are many ways you can show your expertise. Maybe you’ve been quoted in a popular trade magazine, news media or well-known website. Maybe you’ve been thanked for your insight or your help with a difficult project. Ask for recommendations about your work on LinkedIn or, with permission, display your recommendations and testimonials on your website or blog.

Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through your work. Enhancing and owning your personal brand can help you create a career you’ll love for years to come.

For more help up-leveling your personal brand to attract right-fit opportunities to you, check out my upcoming online workshop, “Leverage Your Personal Brand to Propel Your Career” sponsored by the Association for Talent Development (#ATD).

© Wendy Terwelp / www.knocks.com / All rights reserved.

Wendy Terwelp is an award-winning career expert and personal branding strategist who works with high-performing leaders and organizations who want to advance careers, rock networks, and up-level their brands online and off. Follow her @wendyterwelp.

Five Moves to Rock Your Network® Online

Editor’s note: updated May 2019

How do you leverage social media to network effectively and stay top of mind? Check out these five rock star moves to get connected, get known, and make your network thrive:

1. Pick Three: With so many social media networks to choose from, I recommend picking three so you can manage them well. For career and business development, I recommend: LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. As of 2019, LinkedIn has more than 610 million members, Twitter has more than 326 million users, and Facebook topped 2.38 billion.

2. Create a branded bio: Tell a story in your social networking bios. Let your personality pop. Don’t regurgitate your resume information or company bio. Know that chemistry helps you land and KEEP new clients and jobs. Likability counts, be interesting.

3. Know what you want: When you start networking online, it’s important to know what you want from the activity. If you want new clients, be sure your profile is on brand, up to date, professional, personal, and communicates your value and scope of practice. Have a professional, current headshot. For #LinkedIn, add a custom background image or color as well.

4. Join a group: Know that in order to make the most of an online group, you’ve got to take an active role. If you’ve got a business, join groups where your ideal clients will be, including niche and specialty groups. For job seekers, find out where your ideal employers hang out and join those groups. People like to do business with those having similar values, backgrounds, and experiences.

5. Be relevant and add value: Social networking gives you a chance to demonstrate your thought leadership and set yourself apart from your competition. As an executive and leader in your profession, it is even more critical to demonstrate your expertise online.

Take Action: Review your current social networks and identify at least three action items from the above list you can implement immediately. Schedule time to effectively manage your online network and communicate with your contacts regularly. It only takes minutes a day to fuel your network and fire it up!™ That way, your network is there for you when you need it.

Grab your free social media action plan here!

© 2006 – 2019 | Wendy J. Terwelp | All rights reserved.

How to RSVP to LinkedIn Invitations from People You Don’t Know

“Hi Wendy, I’d like to join your LinkedIn network.” Sound familiar?

This is the standard LinkedIn invitation sent when people hit “connect.” And there’s a good chance you’ve received many of these since you joined LinkedIn.

As a career expert who advocates LinkedIn as a tool for career management and personal branding, my clients frequently ask me what they should  do about LinkedIn invitations from people they don’t know.

When you receive the standard LinkedIn invitation from people you don’t know, typically one of two things happen, 1) it’s deleted or 2) you hang on to it because you don’t want to offend the invitee by not accepting. Translation: “invitation limbo.” And a full inbox. After a certain time, invitations are deleted automatically by LinkedIn.

Here are solutions you can use to take action on LinkedIn invitations from people you don’t know:

Step One: Review their profile.

  • Do they have a professional headshot?
  • Do they have a professional summary that communicates who they are and what they do? Is it interesting? Does this seem like a person who’d add value to your network?
  • Have they provided value added content? This could include media links, status updates that resonate with you, etc. Check out their activity.
  • Look at their groups. Do you share any in common?
  • Check out shared connections. How many do you have in common? Have any of the common connections written a recommendation for this person?
  • Is this person an alumni of your school? Or employer?

If all of these are a “go” and the person seems like they’d be a wonderful connection to your LinkedIn network, hit “accept” and write a personal message welcoming him or her to your network.

Step 2: But, I’m still not sure…

  • If their background seems intriguing, and you’d like to learn more prior to accepting, pick up the phone and make a personal connection or
  • Hit “message” and here’s what I say, “Hi! Thanks so much for your LinkedIn invitation. Refresh my memory, how do we know each other?” Or, “Hi, Thanks so much for your invitation, how might I be of service?” See if they reply and determine your next move based on their response. 
  • If they’ve written you a message, you can reply to the individual without immediately accepting the invitation.

Step 3: Notice Red Flags

If the profile is missing key ingredients, seems sketchy or that profile looks too familiar (hello, stock photo!), decline.

Step 4: You Get to Choose

It’s YOUR LinkedIn party and you get to decide who gets to join. You got this!

Let me know your favorite tips for LinkedIn invitations in the comments.

And if you or your company needs help with LinkedIn, let’s talk!

Wendy Terwelp is president of Opportunity Knocks™ of Wisconsin, LLC and author of the Rock Your Network® series. Dubbed a “LinkedIn Guru,” by the Washington Post, Terwelp works with organizations ready to take their employees to the next level with the right personal brand, networking strategies and online activities… to not only close more deals and attract more clients, but prepare emerging leaders for the roles you have to fill. Her consulting services, speaking engagements, and workshops serve audiences worldwide through conferences, associations, and corporate engagements.

Terwelp’s private coaching clients regularly win raises, promotions, and jobs. Are you a rock star at work who wants career success on your terms? Schedule a session to discuss your career, goals, and next steps.

 

 

Who needs to know about you?

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“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” Jim Rohn

As the author of “Rock Your Network®,” I’m often asked  about how to network, how to network while working (aka no time to network), and who should be in your network.

Where do you begin? Begin with your career goals. 

Are you looking for a promotion? New business? More clients? Colleagues and peers to brainstorm ideas?

Knowing  your goals will help you determine who needs to be in your network. And who you may need to prune. There are now five generations in the workplace with the arrival of Generation Z. Therefore, it’s good to diversify your network across generations for lasting career management.

When one of my clients was in the market for a new gig, he tapped his college alumni – those who graduated 10 years ahead of him and those who graduated 10 years after him. This led to several opportunities. And, after he landed his new gig, he maintained those connections throughout his career, rising to his current role: vice president of business development.

Your networking criteria will help you save time because you’ll focus on only those areas relevant to your goals. And you can use your networking criteria online or off. For example, I list my personal criteria for connecting on LinkedIn in my profile under “Advice for contacting Wendy.” In my case, I accept invitations from people I know, met personally or know through another connection I respect.

As your career evolves over time,. your networking criteria evolves with it.

Be sure to nurture your network by regularly communicating with people, providing resources and assistance when they need it. Networking is a two-way street. You’ve got to fuel your network to fire it up!

Coaching Challenge: Write down your own criteria for adding people to your online and offline networks based on your career goals.

Need help with your networking efforts? Check out my networking programs here, including LinkedIn networking.

© 1998 – 2016 Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.

Easy 5-minute Tips to Make Your Network Thrive

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No time to network? Have you got five minutes?

Here are some quick tips to stay top of mind with your network and make it thrive.

1. Get Social: Set a specific purpose and time limit for your social media activities each day. This helps you avoid overwhelm or distraction (hey check out this link, which leads to that link, which leads to …). In your specified time frame, take a moment and tweet a reply to one of your followers. Have you read a great post on LinkedIn or Facebook? Hit the “like” button and share it with your connections.

2. Repurpose: Are you reading a great blog post or article you feel would benefit your network? Tweet a link or post a link to the story with a brief descriptor on LinkedIn or Facebook. Or if it’s relevant to only one or two people in your network versus the entire group, send a link to the story in an email: “Saw this article and thought you might find it helpful.”

3. Align networking with things you’re already doing: Going to a football game? Whether it’s the pros or your kids, game time is a great time to network. You’re sharing a common interest, which makes starting a conversation easy.

4. Make a plan: Going to a networking event or conference? Set a goal to meet at least three new people.

5. Create a dynamic, branded sound bite: Doing so helps you quickly address, “So, what do you do?” Check out chapter 5 of my book, Rock Your Network®, for a quick three-step formula to create a sound bite that helps you network with ease and confidence. Got a business? Shark Tank’s Daymond John says, you better be able to distill your brand down to two to five words. Are you ready for your next big gig?

Now that you have your networking plan, sound bite, and goals, you’re prepared for networking anytime, anywhere, I’d love to hear your networking stories and tips. Feel free to share in the comment section. Go get ’em!

© 1998 – 2014 | Wendy Terwelp . All rights reserved.

 

 

Do Employers Read Online Portfolios?

bar_biz[1]Web or online portfolios have been around for years and are now back in the news. Passe or vogue?

In a recent story by The Wall Street Journal, employers stated they don’t have time to read online portfolios. Per the story, “One big problem: Few employers are actually looking at them. Polls suggest employers might be interested in the sites—83% of respondents to a recent Association of American Colleges and Universities survey said an e-portfolio would be “very” or “fairly” useful in ensuring that job applicants have requisite knowledge and skills. But basic human-resources software don’t allow such links in the first round of application submissions, and many hiring managers are simply unwilling to carve out time to dig into the digital showcases, they say.”

Online portfolios work on interviews: While employers may not have time to look at a portfolio in an initial resume scan (employers receive 200 to 300 resumes per day 7 days a week according to one recruiter), candidates may be able to showcase their skills with an online portfolio during an interview. Candidates can back up interview question  responses with examples from their online portfolios. Additionally, time for portfolio highlights also depends on where the candidate is at in the interview process – such as a second or third interview. Type of job, company culture, and the interviewer’s personality will also play a role. Web portfolios can demonstrate proof of performance. And employers say that “past performance demonstrates future productivity.”

Old school: Mass Communications / Journalism grads like me had to build a portfolio of clips and send them to employers with our resume in some cases or bring them to  interviews as leave behind proof of our ability to write news stories. And that was in the late ’80’s.

New tools: Now, LinkedIn allows you to post proof – you can add links to videos, SlideShare presentations, blog posts, white papers and more.

Boost your personal brand: This all helps boost your personal brand. According to one poll, 86% of people use a search engine like Google before ever meeting you, the web portfolio gives people information you WANT them to see. As LinkedIn typically lands on page one, start there.

Readers rock! Hat tip to Thomasina for sharing the WJS story with me via Facebook. What’s your take on web / online portfolios?

Comments welcome: Have you got an opinion or story to share? Feel free to leave comments.