Updated: Dec 31, 2020
For professional purposes, Twitter and LinkedIn are highly recommended. LinkedIn is ideal for professionals to network and stay involved in their industry digitally. Whereas Twitter is used to share content in brief, but formal ways to demonstrate your thought leadership in your relative industry.
Instagram, on the other hand, is mainly for visual storytelling through images and videos. However, some use it as a professional profile. It's a great way for creatives to display a portfolio of their work, especially since the platform has recently rolled out its "Content Creator" profile option. Once you decide on the social profiles that you want to focus on, let's discuss the six methods of effectively maintaining your account.
Now that you have one or more of those social profiles set up let's focus on maintenance.
Your social media profiles are a reflection of who you are. And while you should maintain a professional online presence on platforms such as LinkedIn, it's okay to be quirky and fun, if that's who you are in real life. Giving your profile some of your personality, displays authenticity. If someone were to browse your social media profiles and then meet you in person, it should feel like they've already met you.
Optimize your profile.
Not only should a profile fit your personality, but it also needs to tell these three things: who you are, what you do, and what you want. Always include a professional, conservative photo as your profile picture. Profiles with no pictures tend not to get viewed as often as ones that do.
The headline of your LinkedIn profile is crucial because it shows viewers what you do in a nutshell. A popular option for LinkedIn headlines is usually to simply use your current job title and information about your previous company. And for those who are freelancing or "funemployed," there's an option to let recruiters and other connections know you're open to opportunities. So, that will cover both what you're doing, and you're in search of.
On the other hand, the third part can be tricky if you want to find a new job, but you're still currently employed. It may not be the best idea to advertise openly on your LinkedIn profile that you're seeking new opportunities. Unless you've discussed these possibilities previously with your employer, and there is a mutual understanding of your foreseeable exit. If so, you can then switch your LinkedIn headline from your job title and company to a basic blanketed statement for what it is you do. For example, take a peek at my LinkedIn profile. It states that I'm an NYC based Communications professional.
The same rule of thumb applies to Twitter. While Twitter is certainly more casual, it can also benefit young professionals considerably. Plus, it's one additional outlet to put yourself out there and connect with new professionals in your industry. Take a look at my Twitter profile below.
For personal branding purposes, I recommend using the same headshot for both LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. However, if you would like to keep your Twitter more casual, for viewers to see a different side of you, you can include a different picture.
Next, we have our bio section of the profile, which is similar to the brief "headline" on LinkedIn. Again, in my profile, I included the title "Content Creator" as a blanketed statement for what I do or what I'm passionate about. A headline is excellent for searchability purposes when other Twitter users are looking for content creators. To show personality, I included that I'm also a "tartare connoisseur" and "spin enthusiast."
Anyone who knows me knows that I love any tartare, whether it's tuna or steak. And anyone can figure out by one look at my social media profiles, either personal or professional, that I love to spin. I've even had coworkers join me for spin class after work because they'd never tried it before but finally found someone who knew what the cycling kick was all about. I've got them hooked too! These are small ways you can stand out from a group of profiles. Because with a touch of your personality, you can even find some common ground in your workplace.
Start a conversation.
Did you know you can start a conversation without even trying? Pay attention the next time you browse through Twitter or LinkedIn. Widely used by professionals, both platforms are where people are looking to connect with others or promote their business.
These profiles sometimes include a question right in the bio, headline, and summary. I recently came across a LinkedIn profile that had the headline "Ask me how to get featured on my podcast." That's a unique way for users seeking podcasts to subscribe to as well as someone potentially looking to be featured on a podcast.
Another way to strike up a conversation is to use an appealing headline or catchphrase. It could be a quote you live by, a quote you thought of and are known for, or a provocative statement that triggers a question or two. The best triggering statements are usually career changes, like a lawyer who decided to teach instead, or maybe a seasoned professional who switched careers after twenty years. For example, my Twitter profile includes the tagline, "That NYC PR girl that ended up in legal marketing @HaleyGuiliano and running @OSFLblog." It serves as a great conversation starter for anyone wondering what happened, and it promotes my side hustle.
It may be helpful for you to add a recurring calendar appointment to remind you to post on your social media. Eventually, it'll start to feel natural and become a part of your weekly or even daily routine. This routine will also help you beat any social media platform algorithms that determine whose feeds and how often people view your content.
Decide on a frequency, but try to be consistent. Engagement is key. Think of social media engagement as a sort of quid pro quo kind of thing. Whenever you like someone else's content, they're likely to like your content. Whether they intentionally visit your profile after you've "liked" theirs or your post popped up in their feed after you engaged with theirs, they'll likely return the favor.
Connect with professionals in your industry. Track the content they're creating and sharing so you can stay up to date with the latest industry trends. Post about what matters.
Lastly, but most importantly, be professional.
Don't say anything on your professional social media that would make you feel uncomfortable if brought up in front of any crowd. This includes bad mouthing your coworkers or your employer. Handle any matters offline and in-person.
Note, you can post about politics or retweet those funny memes on your personal social media. Even if you just retweet someone else's negative or inappropriate content, the general public will take that as your opinion also. When it comes to your professional Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, demonstrate some thought leadership by sharing your content or commenting on others'.
In a Nutshell
Maintaining a professional online presence is an essential aspect of personal branding. Keep your personal social media in private mode, and keep your public social media profiles as professional as possible. This leaves yourself open to new opportunities and puts your best face forward. You never know who's checking you out on LinkedIn, and it could lead to your next career move. Use social media to your advantage. Continue to connect with others, demonstrate thought leadership, and stay in the loop.
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