Personal Branding can be a bit of an intimidating topic to discuss. It goes beyond our resume and cover letter writing, but how? Fear not! Chances are, you're already on it. Think of your personal brand as how you represent yourself. How do you act around your professors? Your parents? Your friends? Whether you realize it or not, it's likely that you have different versions of yourself you present to each of these people. Each version is meant to help you put your best foot forward. It's easy to show the best version of yourself in real life, but we often overlook our internet brand. Fortunately, we were able to sit down with Jennifer Heal, a social media guru, who provided us with some tips and tricks on how to ensure you're showing your followers (and potential employers!) the ideals you want to represent yourself with.
GH: What are some recommendations for understanding your personal image/aesthetic?
JH: I would say pull from your own experience and stay true to yourself. What are your likes? Dislikes? How does that translate to your everyday life? The clothes you wear, the music you listen to, the personal touches you add to your living space. All these things can help you identify what makes you, YOU -- and furthermore, you can pull from these things to identify correlations in your style. From there, your aesthetic should become clear. Colorful minimalist? Laid back vintage lover? Don't box yourself in!
GH: Any tips as to how this translates online?
JH: To translate your in person image or aesthetic to digital, you must first start with color. I always find this is the most natural way to develop your "online brand". Pull colors from all your favorite things that show up most consistently in your everyday and build out a palette from there. Once you've got your color palette, then think about what inspires you, the message you want to express and how you want to translate these items into social posts. For example, maybe you’re passionate about the environment and take steps to reduce and reuse everyday. Your color palette might be more subdued but that doesn’t make it boring…simply stay consistent and use it to make your words, tips and tricks stand out!
GH: How do you keep this consistent across social media? Tips for each platform (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn?
JH: Consistency is key; however, don't mistake consistency for posting the same thing across platforms. While the message and aesthetic should feel similar, the ways in which you share should be different from Facebook to Instagram etc. As a general rule of thumb, I always say that Instagram or TikTok should be your starting point. Start by creating content for those platforms and build from there. Once you've got your assets for Instagram (video or photo), think about ways you can work smarter (not harder) to manipulate those assets for your remaining platforms. LinkedIn being the most professional, does it make sense to even share what you just shared on Instagram or TikTok there? For Facebook, you want to ensure you're using the correct hyperlinks and using it as an opportunity to link directly to an external site (if warranted). For example, say you're launching a big new Social Media Marketing course. You might plan your launch announcement by first creating an Instagram Reel talking through the benefits of your course, then cross promote that Reel onto TikTok. From there, you can pull out key information bits from your reel to create a visually pleasing graphic for Facebook and Pinterest that keeps in line with your overarching color palette. Your Facebook post can be used as an opportunity to link back to your course website, potentially using it as an opportunity to boost via paid media to further your reach. And finally, your LinkedIn announcement can be the most visually straight forward syncing to a blog post about your course launch which will auto-generate an image directly from your site. This 360 approach is what will help you win at social.
GH: What do employers look for online? How to maintain employer-friendly social media and branding?
JH: Employers are constantly looking online at your social presence, especially if you're applying for a role in the marketing realm. They want to see your eye and how you interpret the world around you! This is one of the first things I look at when hiring assistants, junior social managers or interns. I want to ensure the person’s vision goes across channel - one of the biggest ways to do this is by making your profile photo somewhat consistent across Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, on your resume etc. It's an easy way for employers to identify you. Furthermore, if your resume has a color palette or look and feel, keep that aesthetic going on your LinkedIn page. It shows that you are thoughtful and pay attention to detail. All this to say, it doesn't mean you need to stop sharing cute selfies or cocktails with friends on social -- just be mindful and if something feels borderline, perhaps create a separate private account for just family and friends.