Insights: Jaigris Hodson's social media matters
It's time to jump on the bandwagon. School of Communication and Culture associate faculty Jaigris Hodson says it has become impossible for communication professionals to avoid being on social media. Companies are hiring people who have a strong online presence and Hodson says ignoring the social media juggernaut will limit your opportunities. But never fear. Hodson has some valuable tips to improve, or get started on, your online personal brand.
First, you’ve got to make a frank assessment of your weaknesses and strengths. Know yourself and the best way to know yourself is by talking to people close to you. You may be surprised what they think. It’s almost like doing market research – only it’s market research on yourself. Like with any marketing campaign you need to know what your product is and what it is you’re selling.
Find your audience. Who do you want to attract to this personal brand? Some people have a clear idea of which industry they want to target. Sometimes you don’t know who your audience is but you can consider your goals for building a personal brand. Then you can search for the audience that matches your goal. If you don’t have a goal, do some soul searching about what you want. Talk to career services or even a good trusted friend or mentor.
Pick a medium - or two
Social media tools are always changing. A couple of years ago everybody was on Facebook. Now people are using LinkedIn or Twitter. Knowing the tools and what they’re good for and using them to reach your audience is key. Twitter is great if you’re a communications professional or want to build a professional persona around social media consulting. If you’re age 20 to 40 and looking to connect peer-to-peer then Facebook is for you. And if you’re trying to target a younger demographic you might want to be on Tumblr. Unless you’re a writer and going for a job that requires writing, much of the media people are engaging with now is shorter and more visual than three to five years ago. You really only need to be on two or three social media sites but it has to be the right two or three. It’s a waste of time if you’re on everything and nobody’s listening.
Practice makes perfect
Whatever medium you use, you’ve got to stick to a schedule. All this comes back to goal and audience. It would be ridiculous to post to Twitter once a month. You would want to post to Twitter every day except perhaps on weekends. But a blog post you might write once a month. Stick to a regular schedule and once you start cultivating an audience they will stick with you. The number one mistake people make is they try to join every new site that comes along. They’re not sure what they’re doing and who the audience is. Go in with a strategy and make time for one or two sites that target your main audience.
Avoid faux pas
Keep your content in line with your brand. Whatever it is that you’ve decided your goals are every message should be tailored to constructing the person you want people to see online. Remember, you’re commenting with a purpose. Every post is a potential post that could reach a person who might have your CV on their desk. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t type in all caps. And check your spelling and grammar.