Social networking and branding hang like a dark cloud over the heads of all communications students. It’s our version of the printed resume, except the resume doesn’t include daily updating, or the consistent showcasing of your work to professionals in your field. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus and especially your blog all should be maintained every day to ensure your professional future. For beginners that’s a pretty daunting list, especially if you’re like me and previously only used Facebook to post random pictures of friends and funny moments.
Alexandra Chang, a freelancer who writes mainly about technology and culture, spoke to my social and mobile media class this morning on this issue. She gave us lots of advice on our own networking and branding, but three pieces of advice stuck out to me.
“It’s just about being comfortable with who you are and your beat, too.”
I think anyone who has ever used social media, whether that’s a blog, or even just Twitter, remembers the beginning, where it seemed forced and awkward to constantly post your thoughts to the world. That’s why it’s important to pick a beat that you’re passionate and, more importantly, excited about. The worst thing someone can do is pick a topic that they think is popular, but struggle through each blog post because they lack intellectual stimulation.
Find social branding idols to emulate. They say the best way to enhance your writing is to read absolutely everything. This also applies to your branding and social networking. Find those who have already excelled in your field and read their blog posts, professional writing, Twitter posts and anything else you can find. Their success and failure can show you how to approach similar issues.
“The personal and the professional are inseparable online.”
You don’t have to follow all of the typical rules about being professional; it’s okay to show some personality, but you have to know when to hesitate before hitting the post button. It’s not necessary to post about mundane every day activities if they don’t relate directly to your topic. However, people also want to connect to you. Positing interesting, personal information about yourself could help you relate to your audience.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory: write and post a lot. That means putting down those addicting Netflix binges and getting to work, but it’ll be worth it.
Overall, it’s definitely hard to begin social networking, but according to Chang, these three pieces of advice will really help.