Be Your Best You, Online — 5 Ways to Optimise Your Online Presence

Social media can be a powerful communication tool.

Empowering us with information and helping us forge communities. It can be a means of executing strategic and successful professional networking and even be used to campaign for social justice and change. But when used unwisely it can be brand damaging and jeopardise your credibility or, even worse, your employability.

Here's 5 tips to ensure you be your best you, online.

Best Face Forwards - Posting with Mindfulness and Purpose

It should go without saying that when you post online, your content lives on. Can you ever truly delete it?

From your content floating around in a dormant state on Facebook’s servers to being collated through mass state sponsored surveillance - if you’ve posted it, you can be sure that the content will live on somewhere in one form or another. Even if it’s just your dodgy MySpace profile from the 90s, BE AWARE!

Tom from MySpace. Everyone’s first friend.

I cringe on a daily basis at some of the self absorbed social media posts which are designed to inflate ego and appear to demonstrate little consideration for long term repercussions.

Selfies in moderation? Cool. 👍

Photos of you in your underwear on a daily basis? Not cool. 👎

I mean, if you want your boss, future mother/father in law, your younger brother and sister, your high school teacher, future employers and their dog to see you nude...perhaps consider an alternative career path in adult entertainment?

Have a look through your recent timelines and think, “What would my gran think about this tweet? What would an employer think about this photo?”. Alternatively, you know that scene in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade where the knight asks you to tweet about your bosses new hair cut? Let’s hope his response after your tweet would be, “You have chosen wisely”.

So whether you’re doing personal social media for business and networking or just for fun, please remember that whether you like it or not: you are engaging in a personal branding exercise and the content will live on. So henceforth, post with mindfulness and purpose!

What’s My Brand Again?

Who are you and why should other people care?

That’s ultimately the question you want to answer when someone stumbles upon your social media accounts.

We’re looking at personal branding just now, so I’m going to assume that there’s no real need to focus on the tone of voice for your brand - as it’s you and so it should be your tone of voice. Obviously do show considerations for the platforms you’re sharing on. For example, with Twitter you’d be short, snappy and humorous and on LinkedIn you’d take a more formal tone with your word choice, sentence structure and grammar. You are on a mission here to know your audience and give them content they’ll want to engage with.

For me, I would define my personal brand as fun, nerdy, humorous with a dash of dry wit and a sprinkling of self-deprecation and sarcasm. I post content about the stuff I enjoy - so technology, music, video games and digital marketing. To do otherwise would be super boring. It is my own personal branding and social media afterall, so I better post content I’m actually passionate about!

Now, it’s your turn! Write down 5 buzzwords that describe your brand and what kind of content you’re into. It’s great to always have this in the back of your mind so you keep your content on-brand and your audience fully engaged.

Select your platforms

“You can find me on Google+, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, LinkedIn, my blog, your mother’s blog, my neighbours Twitter and more!!!!!” — A Generic Marketer

This social media crime is usually performed by small businesses and medium sized corporations rather than those embarking on an exercise in personal branding online. However, it’s still worth highlighting.

Early on I made a conscious decision to select only 2 platforms for daily and weekly use. For me I chose Twitter and Instagram - basically because they’re my favourite. There’s also a light sprinkling of long form blog posts and audio snippets too but you may notice that a lot of the content I generate is re-purposed and re-posted. This is for brand cohesion and also because it saves time! An additional by product of this method is that it allows your followers another chance to interact with content earlier posted that they may have missed.

I live by the mantra of, ‘do it well or don’t do it at all’. For that reason, don’t spread yourself too thinly! Be selective about your social media platforms and use the ones that fit your brand best. Afterall, you don’t need to use them all. Keep it focused and you’ll see more returns for your investment of time.

Optimise your profiles

To optimise your content you need to think of two things: you want your audience to find your content and you want to impress them. After all, why else would you be doing social media?

For personalised branding we have a gift from the heavens: the hashtag. It really is a marketer’s dream. When utilised correctly, it’ll help drive traffic to your content and keep your content in the right lane - in the right stream of online conversations.

So plug into trending topics that are brand appropriate and utilise hashtags to both bring people to your content and bring your content directly to them.

Let’s take a look at my Twitter bio.

My Twitter bio shows personality, humour and also succinctly states my interests: media, technology, digital marketing and video games. Oh, and that I’m taking part in Camp America 2018.

As well as telling everyone exactly what I’ve done professionally and what I’m interested in, I’ve also utilised hashtags to bring people to my profile. By using “#DigitalMarketing” I’ve optimised my profile so that when people search for the profiles of people interested in this topic, mine will pop up.

Also, to reinforce this, I’ll add this hashtag to tweets every so often to further the reach of my content or the content I’ve shared.

By implementing this method and sharing content with other related hashtags (like #SocialMedia or #ContentMarketing) my targeted demographic will eventually find me.

Follow a similar tactic and you’ll have the right audience, at the right time.

Planning, structure and research

Now that you’ve nailed your personal branding and fixed your profiles so they’re easily found, it’s now time to generate your own content and source other people’s content.

There’s many useful apps and services to aid with sourcing shareable content and that can also help you schedule posts ahead of time. I’ll perhaps share some fantastic finds that I use on a daily basis at a later date.

Ultimately, you don’t have to create a special planner with colour codes and pipe cleaners and glitter and stickers...although that would be fantastic! But you do want to consider scheduling your core posts ahead of time so you remain consistent and reliable to your audience.

This will actually free you up and allow you to focus more on interacting and replying to your followers throughout the day. Some people schedule the night before but I like to schedule in the morning so my content is the freshest possible.

Also, have a look forward at up-and-coming events - both online and locally. This will allow you to differentiate yourself further. Whilst the "national day of bla bla bla” can be a fun option, it’s a bit throw-away isn’t it?

What about a local comic con? Or showcasing your local museum?! Think how much awesome content you could generate for your followers from a simple day out with friends! This would especially be interesting to your followers from the other side of the world.

Well, there you go! By being self-aware, mindful, engaging, technically savvy and strategic you’ll be able to optimise your online presence and future proof it too.

Just be sure to keep it slick and keep it on-brand.

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