Building a personal brand in social networks

«One of the details that can influence decisions about a candidate is their personal brand on social media, especially their LinkedIn profile. Very little time is spent on looking through the information, so you need to get the recruiter interested from the first seconds: the first impression is very important. At a minimum, you should have an appropriate photo, a completed profile, and specified areas of competence. The more relevant information the candidate shows to the employer, the more interesting they become» – Alina, the recruiter

So, let’s have a look at the concept of a personal brand, find out in detail what it will give you and understand how to work on it!

What does a personal brand mean?

The term “personal brand” has gained immense popularity with the development of social networks, since these days every active user is a brand, media, and influencer. But the phenomenon behind it has existed for ages and does not require a certain number of followers, likes or recognition on the streets.

All the people with whom you met in one way or another in life form a certain personal impression about you – it is precisely this that is described in recommendations by employers. A set of such reviews, including the opinion of the employee of the company who conducts your interview, forms a portrait of you as a brand.

?Thinking about a personal brand is interesting not only from the professional side: try to somehow think about what you would like to be associated with, and what associations they have with you now. You can even ask friends and relatives. This will give the basis for interesting thoughts: maybe you are not living the life you would like to live?

What is the benefit of a strong personal brand?

First of all, if your name is discussed with a positive connotation in professional circles, you are most likely to be given preference in interviews, negotiations, tenders, etc. Everyone likes to have confidence in the future, and having testimonials about you gives potential employers or partners a valuable sense of trust.

Also, working on your personal brand can bring you unexpected benefits:

● A feeling of recognition — both by a highly specialized circle and by the general public, because you are the one who chooses the audience
● The formation of a community of like-minded people or followers around your interests, which will support and accept both in moments of success and in times of defeat
● Additional earning opportunities
● The opportunity to influence the field and promote ideas that interest you
● A good incentive to continue developing and working on yourself

It sounds nice, doesn’t it? So, it’s time to decide on the goal that will become the basis of your promotion strategy and choose the tools to achieve it.

Building a personal strategy

What would you like to achieve with social media? Find a new job, clients, become a popular expert, enter the international market…? Think, research if necessary, and keep the goal in mind while planning your next steps.

? There is a common stereotype that to build a personal brand you must be a charismatic person with an interesting life. But let’s be honest: everyone likes different characters, different themes and ways of presenting them, so the most important thing is to tell a story about yourself that doesn’t go against your personality. To do this, think about the following questions:

  1. What story would you like to tell about yourself? It can be something about childhood, university experience and previous bad work experience.
  2. What motivates you the most?
  3. What makes you unique?
  4. What valuable skills or knowledge do you have?
  5. How can you describe your personality?
  6. What influences you? What are you afraid of, and what, on the contrary, do you enjoy?
  7. What are your principles and values?

Having worked on these questions in detail, you can understand that only a few percent of your life is covered in social networks. Or, on the contrary, you will see that you tell too much. At this point, you should define your boundaries and plan what you want and what you absolutely do not plan to tell.

Selection of promotion tools

Next, we proceed to choosing social networks. Ideally, choose those with which you are already familiar and whose principles are clear to you. Also think whether they have an audience that would be interested in your content (for example, colleagues or groupmates). Consider the type of content that you will need to work with: YouTube or TikTok will require video shooting, Instagram and Pinterest like aesthetic photo content, Facebook is good at sharp longreads, Telegram is great for blogging, and LinkedIn is the most “working” platform.

? It will be relevant for the IT community to pay attention to professional forums as well: many of the most relevant discussions take place on the DOU portal. You can also work on blogging (DEV and AIN sites are great for this), or at once create a geek community on Discord. In short, there are a lot of options — the main thing is to decide which content creation is the most interesting for you. Additionally, consider defining promotion tools, from collaborations, cross-posting, active participation in professional communities to targeted advertising.

Work on content

First of all, you should choose the main topic that you will cover. It can be both a direction in general (life hacks for QA) and something more narrow (creating chatbots in Python). It is desirable that the topic overlaps with your work experience: when you can support the given facts with examples from life, it causes more trust in the material and interest. Just don’t forget the NDA from previous projects.

The main topic can be added by parallel ones: for example, you used to work as a tester, but now you are learning to code and you notice some interesting things, create your own life hacks or want to share useful resources. Or do you want to talk about the life of an IT specialist from Ukraine somewhere abroad or do you have other, non-technical hobbies that you would like to discuss.

? At this stage, try to draw up a document with a detailed content plan: you can immediately write down ideas for future content, you can divide them into headings. Let the main topic appear in 50-75% of the posts (if we are talking about content that requires more time and effort to create, like a YouTube video – it can be in all 100%). Fill the other part with additional topics, trends or just light entertainment content (because who among us doesn’t like memes).

You should not try to plan too much content at once or far in advance – there is a great risk of being overtired from a sudden unusual load and abandoning the project at the start. Content planned well in advance risks becoming irrelevant at a certain point. So break the global plan of creating your own brand into small tasks and perform them systematically, but without undue pressure. 

And finally: don’t consider yourself as a mega-expert, let people say it for you. Build your personal brand with love and genuine interest in what you do, even if it’s the most boring thing in the world. Your audience will always feel and appreciate sincerity and authenticity.