Strategies for Using Social Media to Build Your Personal Brand

JJDiGeronimoContributed by JJ DiGeronimo

Have you often wondered why so many are updating, posting, reading and retweeting?  It could be a full time job if you think about all the information created daily.  For some it is – and for some of us it is a way to stay aware of the trends, reports, and news worthy details while highlighting our area of expertise.

Is there a way to leverage what you read to enhance your professional brand?

Many women, already over committed, initially see social media as a waste of time, and let’s face it, do we really need to be posting our whereabouts and food consumption habits? I agree – I am sure many are not really interested in my every move but there are many interested in a slice of my thoughts and it just so happens it is the same slice that provides me many of my career opportunities.

I stumbled across this easy, yet effective, way to keep my knowledge and expertise front and center.  Here’s how I did it.

Building Expertise

Previously, I sporadically posted events of social media sites as a way to highlight activities and encourage others to attend.  One day just about a year ago, I aspired to move into a cloud computing role.  I was unsure if I could land this highly desired role in my current company or if I would have to move outside my company but either way I realized that I must learn as much as I can about the topic to surpass my peers.

On a mission, I created a few Google Alerts and CompTIA SmartBrief requests and day after day I would read the latest cloud computing information.  After a few months, I had a solid foundation of knowledge and started to have some opinions about the materials and curious what others thought.  I started posting the related articles on Linkedin with my comments and questions.

Day after day, I would read and post at least one article that reposted on my Twitter account.  In just three months, I was being contacted from around the world for various reasons, all surrounding my cloud computing postings.  I landed a related job at my current employer, asked to be on a few industry focused groups and now travel throughout America and Canada speaking to IT executives on their cloud computing goals.

My network is stronger than ever and many come to me when looking for advice, resources and connections.  I did not realize how powerful a social network could be now and in the future as I move through my career trajectory.

I should mention that the posting on the social media sites were not my only activities, I had to champion myself to the right people within my company while making a habit of posting required me to read every day which directly impacted my level of knowledge and eventually a level of expertise that came in very handy during related conversations and eventually interviews.

In addition to these activities a few years earlier, I also started a Tech Savvy Women’s group and Blog for Working Women searching for a common voice, these are other initiatives that did not initially start off as social media activities but over the years social media has become a crucial piece to group communications.

Set Goals

I am a big believer in going where people already go and finding a way to make your presence known with elegance, style and purpose.

I find Linkedin a business savvy site and easy site to start and then you can branch to other social media sites and connect them so when you post to one it populates others.  For example, 140 characters of my Linkedin post can also be viewed on Twitter.   (This assumes your profile is active and current.)

Start with an initial goal of just one post a week; find something relevant and interesting to read and then post with a comment, suggestion or excerpt from the piece. Then you can eventually add a few groups to your network to follow their posting and then potentially connect a few people that may benefit one another.  There are many ways to leverage your existing connections while benefiting them through the process.

It is possible to leverage social media as one of the tools to advance your career.  Like any tool, it requires some form of training and some level of commitment.  So for every woman who thinks they do not have enough time to add another level of commitment to their already over-committed schedule, think of this as an investment in your knowledge with potential bonuses to advance your professional brand, network, and knowledge.

JJ DiGeronimo is a technologist, entrepreneur, mother, wife and now author of The Working Woman’s GPS, When the Plan to Have it All Led You Astray.  JJ knows first-hand that every choice is a trade-off and time is precious.

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    Such valid points, especially the one to start with one posting a week, I often tell clients if you answer a question well, you can post it as a blog article, spin that article and even create a bit of PR with it.

    One bit of work… lots of ways to attract attention as a person who knows their stuff.