Do You Know What Your Social Media Brand Says About You?

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Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT

Certified Life Strategies, Stress Management & Holistic Life Coach

Career Transition & Job Search Coach

For the video message, click here.

I know, I know, I talked about "brand" last week, too, but it is very much on my mind these days. I think that too many of us are going through life without thinking about our "brand." We need to pay attention to it, however, because it can lend itself to our success or failure whether it is in our personal lives or our professional lives.

This message is so important to me that I wrote a post recently for LinkedIn. I am offering it here to make sure you get to see it.

Please don't ignore YOUR brand. You do so at your own risk. At least know what you are doing!

Here is the post from LinkedIn:

Unless you have been living in a cave, under a rock, or on an island somewhere for the past decade, you are more than a little familiar with the various social media platforms. You may be an avid Facebook user, for example. More than one billion people are. Similarly, there are over 970 million users of Twitter, 300 million users of Instagram, 100 million users of Pinterest, while LinkedIn boasts 400 million users as of this month (and growing by 2 new members per second).

Some people have told me they don't like Facebook, and they are "afraid" of LinkedIn. I tell them I don't care if they don't want to use Facebook, but they need to get over their fear and resistance to using LinkedIn. The fact is that many types of information have been posted about each of us, either with or without our consent. The days of being "anonymous" online are long gone. I tell my clients who are hesitant about using LinkedIn in their job search, for example, that it is time to "just do it" and  "get with the program." It is a much better strategy to use social media to your benefit than to try to ignore it by pretending it doesn't exist.

Regardless of your current level of (dis)comfort with the various social media platforms, you have a "social media brand." My question to you is what kind of "brand" are you conveying, and are you conveying it intentionally or haphazardly?

I believe that in general, there are 4 types of social media users:  (1) the savvy user, (2) the lazy user, (2) the narcissistic user, and (3) the clueless user.

Which one are you?

The savvy social media user is the one who understands how social media platforms can help them. They may or may not be in business for themselves, but they use social media to advance themselves in smart and socially savvy ways. They work on building a solid impression on Facebook, for example, and they utilize the power of LinkedIn, leveraging their network to their professional benefit. They use Twitter to build a following, and they learn about other social media platforms as they become available. The savvy social media user uses the various platforms well, and they use each platform the way it should be used. They understand that the different platforms have been created with different purposes in mind, and they have taken the time to learn how to use each platform with purpose.

The lazy social media user is the one who can't be bothered to maintain it once they have set up a profile. They may have a Facebook account, but they never check it, and they don't interact with their "friends" because they don't have the time or the patience. They don't understand Twitter and learning something new is just too much of a bother. Justifiably they argue that learning all of the ins and outs of new media platforms is overwhelming.

While it might be okay to avoid using Facebook and Twitter, it is not okay to avoid using LinkedIn. If you have set up an account on LinkedIn, it behooves you to make sure your profile is filled out completely.

You also need to check it frequently to make sure it stays up to date and "ready" just in case a recruiter drops by to check you out. You may just happen to have the skills, attributes and experience they need to fill an open position. You need to make sure you have an optimized profile and that you are building a network that is filled with individuals who are in your field, know you or want to know you, and can offer recommendations and endorsements of the good work you have done. In short, you cannot afford to be lazy on LinkedIn. 

The narcissistic social media user is perhaps worse than the lazy social media user. This user is certainly more irritating as far as I am concerned. May I just say that I don't care what you ate for dinner. I also don't care that you are taking a break from whatever you are doing to head for the bathroom. I don't want to know the gory details of the last time you had the flu. I DO care if you are sick, but please leave off the overly graphic details. I DO care if you are on a wonderful vacation to the Bahamas, but I don't need an update every five minutes. In my view, the narcissistic social media user is the person who thinks they must be posting something--no matter how innocuous or obnoxious--every few minutes, or at least a dozen times a day. Not least from my point of view.

The clueless social media user is also worse than the lazy user because he or she is creating an online social brand without being aware of it. This can be very dangerous, especially if you are still trying to climb the corporate ladder, you want to be considered for a promotion, or you are looking for an incredible opportunity that might be just around the corner. You cannot afford to be clueless any more than you can afford to be lazy or narcissistic. In today's Internet-driven world, you can only afford to be get with it! Wake up before it is too late and you have missed out on the great opportunity that would have been yours if you had only been more informed and more proactive about building your social media brand.

Until next time.

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Vanessa Jackson
Phoenix Rising Coaching
1541 Flaming Oak
New Braunfels Texas 78132
United States of America