Last Monday, I was sitting in the living room with my roommate waiting to watch one of our crazy addictions, The Bachelor. With my computer in my lap, I pulled up my Twitter account and decided to tweet something about the show (obsessive – I know). I was mid-tweet when my roommate uttered the words forbidden by social media fanatics: “I just never know what to tweet about.” As if the first comment wasn’t bad enough, it was her second comment that really made my head spin: “I’m just not interesting enough.” Not interesting enough? Why do people think only celebrities hold social media status when we’re all entitled to our own online presence? What makes people interesting on the Web?
Okay, so nobody says we have to give a Lady Gaga VMA performance to be considered interesting, but as PR practitioners it is essential we build our own personal brand. Today’s digital world makes networking easier, faster and more personal. With the click of a mouse, you can communicate with other PR practitioners, access endless possibilities and start building your career. So how do you get yourself noticed in cyberspace?
The first step to personal branding is discovering your identity. As social media users, it is our job to express our individuality and promote it to an audience. The most successful branders are those who take time to answer the question: “How do I want to be perceived?” People should get a sense of your personality and character when they view your profile. They should also be able to see what you’re passionate about, achievements you’ve made and qualities you have to offer the industry. Post things you find interesting. Share pictures of the places you’ve been. Upload videos that show you getting involved. Allow your profile to be your own digital billboard on which you can showcase your personality and professionalism.
After you have developed your identity, decide how to create your brand. Social media innovators are constantly creating new platforms and applications to facilitate networking. The days of using Facebook to connect with friends and upload silly pictures are over. Start taking advantage of these media tools to promote your brand. Think of your profile or web site as a digital resume. Everything from your picture, bio and posts should be a complete representation of you.
The most important step to building your online presence is interaction. In everyday life, you don’t sit around talking to yourself – you communicate. Start asking questions, giving advice and sharing your ideas. People want to know what you have to say. Use your profile as a way to create dialogue between you and your audience.
The more updated and integrated your profile is, the more interesting you will be to your audience. So tap into your inner “Gaga” and start your personal brand. After all, the key to keeping an online presence is being yourself, no matter how “uninteresting” you might think you are.