You may be underestimating the power of your Facebook account.
By Zane Ewton
As you share photos, interact with friends and load up on apps, you also are developing your image — a personal brand. Just like a celebrity or company promoting a product, social media will be how others view you.
According to GCU Social Media Strategist Robyn Itule, personal branding is the process by which we market ourselves to others. You’re building a brand, whether you realize it or not.
Ever Google yourself? Were you surprised by the information that was available about you? Anything you post online, even conversations on Twitter, can be pulled by Google into its search results. People who search your name will find those results, and those people might be important to your college or professional career.
According to CareerBuilder.com, almost 30 percent of hiring managers use Facebook to check out job applicants. Of that number, 50 percent look for those who are compatible with their organization and 35 percent use Facebook to evaluate communication skills.
Social media provide a unique opportunity to take control and define your personal brand. Itule says there are four methods to build an effective personal brand.
- Define your purpose. Do you want to be a trusted, reliable source in your industry? Do you want to just connect with friends informally? That decision will influence how you use social media.
- Control access. Evaluate and make changes to your privacy settings. You can control who sees what.
- Control content. Think twice before posting any photos or links, or making comments that will be seen by others.
- Be consistent. If you want to be a trusted, reliable source, you have to earn that trust through consistent, quality interactions.
Every social media network features a variety of privacy settings. Facebook has some of the most customizable settings. However, the default setting on Facebook is “Everyone” — which makes anything you put on the site available to anyone who wants to see it.
Itule recommends separating your personal and professional content. This can be as simple as choosing appropriate privacy settings or as complex as creating separate profiles for personal and professional needs. Also, it’s important to consider how the social media networks connect with each other. It’s a good idea to make sure that your personal Twitter account is not connected to your professional LinkedIn account.
In a world that’s more public than ever, protect yourself and your brand by taking control of the information you make available on the Internet. The GCU Career Services Center can answer your questions on social media, as well as other career concerns. The Center is available to all students and alumni at 602.639.6606 or [email protected].
Reach Zane Ewton at 602.639.7086 or [email protected].