Key takeaways from a #virtualspacehero LinkedIn LIVE
24.07.2020 | 15:00 CET
Digital Communication & Personal Branding in the virtual space
Working on your personal brand has become more important than ever – particularly now as almost everybody is working online. Besides, it is more common for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees (Forbes 2019).
In this #virtualspacehero #LinkedIn live Ritchie Pettauer (Datenschmutz, highly recommended LinkedIn LIVE Show about digital communication datenschmutz.net/linkedInshow) and Barbara Covarrubias Venegas have been discussing the following questions and exploring the topic of personal branding, digital communication and social media:
- Why is personal branding more important than ever?
- What is the role of social media channels?
- What do we need to learn about digital communication on LinkedIn?
- What are red flags when growing your network online?
What is a personal brand & when should I start building one?
Most of us start by defining and building their personal brand during their teenage years. Yet, at that age we are still developing our personality, shaping our views and beliefs. And that is why we often imitate and don’t differentiate ourselves yet as unique individuals at that age.
“Personal branding is not a value per se. It is a tool or a means to network more efficiently.” (Ritchie Pettauer)
When we start the university and / or our first job, we usually have our own unique communication style and personality. This is also the moment to start building up your network and think about how you position yourself online.
“I am always a bit surprised when I talk with my students about social networks and ⅔ of them don’t have a LinkedIn profile setup. Of course, at the end of the semester, this number is pretty different. I would always suggest to start building up the network already while we are studying and not to wait until you are looking forward a job” (Barbara Covarrubias)
“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” (Michelangelo)
Ritchie was comparing personal branding with you being a sculptor: you define and redefine yourself. People who are fully aware of personal branding know that it is never about external action, but rather about your internal understanding of your goals.
📌 Step 1: Ask yourself: What do I want? What is my goal? Who do I want to become?
📌 Step 2: Use clear communication to demonstrate your values, your interests and skills to interested people through your social media channels.
📌 Step 3: Be honest! Don’t brag about yourself. Don’t confuse personal branding with personal bragging. Personal branding, just like personal development, is a life-long process. You can always work on your personal branding and on your online identity (find out more in #virtualspacehero blog post on virtual authenticity).
The key to effective personal branding is to use the right wording and the most important keywords to present yourself as appealing to your target audience as possible. Online tools can be used to research for example the relevant keywords for your field, such as google trends, keyword tools and social media platforms.
How to build your personal brand on LinkedIn?
💡 Build your network while studying. Building your profile and network before you start your first job can be very useful. Don’t be shy when you are a student and connect with your professors, guest lecturers, colleagues and interesting professionals in your field.
💡 Be active on LinkedIn. Even if you are a student, you should be active on your business social media platforms. Share your thoughts, topics and research you are interested in.
💡 Discover and use different features. Learn more about the platform. For example, LinkedIn offers the career advice option. More about career advice LinkedIn feature here.
💡 Connect with future employers. This can help in so many ways. Show interest in the company by following the company page, their project and even connect with employees of that company if you know that you want to work there.
💡 Digital first impression matters. Employers will usually google your name or check for your social media presence. This doesn’t mean that your name shouldn’t appear on google search. Quite opposite! Just make sure you leave a positive online impression.
“Build up your network and be engaged in MEANINGFUL discussions. It’s all about quality. Students can also use this as a powerful tool and please consider: we all started somewhere. My first posts received only a few likes, mostly of friends, until my network grew and my articles appeared to a larger audience.” (Barbara Covarrubias Venegas)
Red 🚩 flags 🚩 in the virtual space: What NOT to do when building a personal brand on LinkedIn?
Certainly, when building your personal brand in the virtual space beginner mistakes will happen. Some of the red flags you should definitely avoid are the following:
🚩 Send personalized messages. When connecting with professionals, experts and even University professors we highly recommend to always include a personal note to your connection request. This will show the person that you have a genuine interest in connecting with him/her and are not just randomly clicking through connection requests. Besides, when your network grew after many years, you might be able to remember when and why you connected with that person, e.g. you saw him/her speaking at a certain conference.
🚩 Don’t talk only about yourself – make your posts meaningful for others. Of course, all social media platforms are tools for people to position themselves. But, it is not only about YOU – it is about what you can contribute to a certain discussion, to another person’s business and so on. Therefore, when it comes to your “about-section” on LinkedIn try to avoid phrases starting with “I am”, “I know”, “I have skills such as…”. Rather try to present yourself in a more indirect way. What can I do for your customers? Who are my clients? What benefits will they have? Have a look at the About section of Ritchie Pettauer, Barbara Covarrubias Venegas and Tamara Mladenovic.
🚩 Don’t over-skill. Linkedin has a skills & endorsement section, which you can feature with your top three skills that you feel most confident about. Still, you should not exaggerate. If your LinkedIn account has too many skills listed, people will have a hard time believing. Be consistent and choose your top skills that are most important for you and for the professional you want to become, the job you want to get.
OUR ADVICE: Don’t be afraid of online interaction.
Raise your voice and speak about topics that are important or interesting to you. There is a term used to describe fear of public opinion or fear of posting online called “fopo”. Research even shows that women are more likely to be afraid of negative opinions when they speak up online or post something (Why women are less likely to speak up in public than men). But, LinkedIn, compared to other social media platforms, definitely has a more professional and polite tone, so it is less likely to receive super-negative or rude comments (#shitstorm). Therefore, no reason for fopo 🙃
Remember: be engaged in meaningful discussions, be active and consistent in your postings – then your network will grow for sure!
Ritchie is Content-Marketing, Social-Selling & Employer-Branding expert with a special focus on LinkedIn. His legendary LinkedIn Live Show attracts many viewers every week.
💡 Resources 💡
Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever?
Is Building A Personal Brand Actually Worth It?
Reinventing Your Personal Brand
11 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand
How to Use Your LinkedIn Profile to Power a Career Transition
How to Tell Your Story on LinkedIn
6 Ways To Make Your LinkedIn Profile Unforgettable
Five Surprising Ways To Make Your LinkedIn Profile Shine
10 LinkedIn Background Photo Ideas To Make Your Profile Stand Out
LinkedIn and how to use it: a graduate job seeker’s guide
Students: how to use LinkedIn at uni to help you get a job when you graduate
TEDxBerkeley | Designing a purposeful personal brand from zero to infinity
TEDxWabashCollege | Powerful Personal Branding
Book recommendation: LinkedIn for Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide by Sandra Long