Building Your Brand

As the semester comes to an end, it is vital, especially for those of us graduating, to be thinking about what our social media pages and profiles say about us. We’ve all heard that what we post on the Internet is out there for the world to see, including future employers. It is not difficult for employers to Google your name and get an easy first impression. Clearly, it is important to remove any content, pictures, statuses, etc., that could be inappropriate or misinterpreted. But why not go beyond just the clean up stage and make your social media sites really promote you? This video by graphic designer Jacob Cass tells his story of the importance of using social media to promote your personal brand.

Personal branding is “the process by which we market ourselves to others.” In the competitive job market, it is important to stand out. According to John Doherty, truly building a personal brand can take time, but he lists ways in which to build it: by writing what you know, by what others say about you, by having a strong voice, and by using consistency across many platforms. The words that people associate with you are part of your brand, so it is important to use all available platforms to promote what you want to be identified with. As college students prepare to join “the real world,” an obvious platform to examine first is Facebook.

According to the Huffington Post, out of the hiring managers who screen applications using social media, 65% of them use Facebook as their primary source. Therefore, your Facebook page can be an extension of your résumé. Just like you determine what goes on your résumé, you determine what goes on your Facebook page. So, you might want to consider changing your privacy settings to where photos tagged of you by others do not appear on your page.

Now, the obvious place to start is the clean up stage, which means going through your page, including photos, posts, and the information section, with a fine tooth comb and deleting anything that is not going to make you positively stand out. Next, update your profile picture and cover picture with your audience (aka possible future employer) in mind. Hiring managers will look at profiles to see if applicants look professional and appear to fit the company’s culture. In relation to Walther’s Social Information Processing Theory, computer-mediated communication, such as content on a Facebook page, can give the reader an impression of that person, which gives them an idea of who that person is. Therefore market yourself further, update the “About” section, including the work and education sections as well as the contact information. While all of this information will be on your résumé, it needs to be updated and maintained on your social media sites as well. It can be a place to add additional accomplishments and qualifications. Once your page is in order, do not neglect to post insightful and productive status updates. Do not ruin the brand you are building by posting careless statuses.

Using your Facebook page to build and present your personal brand is a simple yet effective place to start. Through Facebook, you can link viewers to your other social media sites and blogs further promoting yourself. Begin thinking about the image you want others to have about you and start tailoring your available platforms to match it.

Laura Tippett

15 thoughts on “Building Your Brand

  1. Your post on how to use social media is great! Cleaning up your personal social media site is definitely going to be important. I think that building a brand for yourself through social media is extremely important especially because so many employers do look at that before they hire employees. Thinking of Facebook as an extension of a resume is definitely something that I had never thought of before; I will definitely remember how to clean up my social media for the future.

  2. I am so glad to see some more attention to the subject of the computer mediated image and its influence on the job search for many young Americans looking for jobs out of college. I cannot stress to my freshmen residents enough about the importance of filtering explicit or inappropriate content from their social media outlets. It’s as if they feel like whatever they post on social media has no consequences. I see too many young adults posting Twitter updates, Facebook photos, and Instagram photos clearly exhibiting them in highly inappropriate situations and with captions that include explicit language. If I were an employer, I would absolutely use social media as a tool to decide what types of people I would want to represent my company and my brand, and discard the ones who were not at a professional-seeking point in their lives.

  3. This is a great post because it relates directly to this generation as to what to expect and be aware of as we submerge ourselves in our social media platforms. Today, there is a huge demand to identify yourself as “unique” and people are implementing this idea through their social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). What most are forgetting is that the Internet is public. What you say and do online is readily available to anyone who’d like to view. We must remember that some of these people do not know us and can misinterpret what kind of person you are. For future employers, it’s important for us to keep our home pages clean and professional; since 65% of employers today utilize Facebook as a their primary source for investigation, it is something important to keep in mind.

  4. I really enjoyed this blog post about the effective use of social media. I know that cleaning up my facebook page is something that I have been meaning to get around to. My social media pages are probably going to be a huge selling point to any future employers. What I do with my online profiles is how I am branding myself to the world. If I did not know me, what would be my perception of my brand via my online profiles? As Caitlyn pointed out – you made a great point by mentioning that your online profiles such as facebook and twitter are an extension of your resume.

  5. I agree that using Facebook as an extension of your resume is a great idea. I tend to view social media as something that you should keep seperate from your work life, but I can see after this post that it is something that could further promote your brand. Through the comments and the way we design our page, we could show future employers our personalities in a professional way. I also think that this openness to show employers all of your social media sites can be interpreted as you being honest and genuine in the way you present yourself, as well as confident in your personal brand.

  6. This is a great angle to look at social media networks that I have not looked at before. When applying to jobs I cleaned up my Facebook and other social networks assuming the possibility that they could be viewed. If I take the time to update my online presence and completely redo my social networks to reflect my abilities and the brand I want to portray, I believe it would give me a slight leg up against competition for future job opportunities. Also the point made about creating unity between social networks and websites would give viewers a cohesiveness and there would be less mixed messages about the brand you as a person are trying to portray.

  7. I enjoyed your post on using social media. A lot of people think that when they are applying for jobs, they should delete their social media accounts. In reality, social media is a free form of advertising and can be used to our advantage. Cleaning up our pages and then portraying ourselves how we want possible employers to see us could help them learn more about us and stand out from other candidates.

  8. I agree with your post. Apart from the official application sent out to companies, one’s Facebook page does have importance to future employers. For that reason people should be careful with what they put on their social media pages. Also for us Communication or Marketing students it is a great way of presenting our skills in creating our personal brand image via our private social media pages.

  9. I think this is a great post on how to appropriately use social media platforms! I am aware that how we express ourselves on social media reflects our personal brand, but I’ve never really thought too much about it. I was a little taken back when I saw that 65% of hiring managers use Facebook as their primary social media source, and that it is seen as a resume in itself. I never thought of Facebook as a way to further market myself or that I should take advantage of it by adding accomplishments and more about me to my profile. Considering how prominent social media is nowadays, it definitely makes sense that these platforms strongly influence our personal brands. Great post, I found it to be very insightful!

  10. I really enjoyed this post! I honestly never thought about using social media as a way to promote your brand. Obviously we all think to delete anything that won’t positively reflect us to a potential employer but I don’t think many people would think to use it as basically a second resume. We could all benefit from revamping our social media platforms and you have definitely inspired me to take a closer look at my own and see what positive changes I can make!

  11. Your words are very true regarding our online life! What we thought was “cool” at 17 to have on our Facbeook pages definitely would be mortifying now at 22. I know for a laugh I sometimes will ‘stalk myself backwards’, and look at all the photos I was tagged in 5 years ago. I had to get used to ‘censoring’ my online brand a long time ago. Back home I manage a cinema which boasts a staff base of over 100 people between the ages of 15 – 25. I learnt the hard way that accepting the friend requests of these adolescents and developing a friendship socially, will ultimately harm your ability to perform your job. It shouldn’t be this way at all, but unfortunately it is. So now is the time, before we graduate, to do a ‘spring clean’ of our online profiles and start to build an online presence we can be proud of.

  12. Building a personal brand is truly a challenge. It was hard for me to think about myself for the “personal brand soundtrack” blog us IMC1 students are doing right now. It’s not just about looking “clean” on social media, but looking engaged and informed as well. I have trouble being “active” on social media. I’m more of an observer than participator. Being an observer is part of my personality, so it’s hard for me to take that participator role. Employers and clients want people who participate, so appearing engaged is something I need to work at.

  13. I found very interesting and helpful your post. It is true that we need to promote our personal brand in the way we want it in order to cause a positive impression among other people. I believe that the steps detailed in your post related to our Facebook page are simple and useful to have a fresh start in the business environment. More than ever, that we are in a relationship based economy, where one of the most important keys for being success is Word-Of-Mouth (WOM); I consider that create positive WOM about ourselves will definitely help us achieving our goals. I will definitely use these advices from now on to improve my image and my personal brand!

  14. How I appear on social media is something that has been on my mind since I started applying to colleges back in 2009. All of my high school teachers told us that colleges sometimes looked at applicants facebook profiles, and that we’d better not have inappropriate pictures of ourselves on our profiles because that could influence whether or not we were accepted. Now, I don’t know if there’s any truth to that, but I remember thinking that if Facebook could influence what school I went to, it would no doubt effect my future job, maybe even my future relationships. This post is very helpful in getting people to realize the importance of how they are marketing themselves to the world, especially if you’re looking for work in communication fields like advertising or PR, because social media is a huge part of those jobs, and knowing the right image to portray may mean the difference between a successful advertising campaign, and an offensive one.

  15. I definitely agree that social sites such as Facebook and Twitter are unofficial resumes of an individual. I think that it is very important to keep your online social presence “clean” but an even better idea to keep it private. A lot of friends of mine have private Twitters and Facebooks but also will change their last names on these sites so that they are unable to be found by employers. I think that these are good ideas to keep your social life private.

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