I was asked to present an online session on professionalism in the workplace for recent graduates taking part in a development programme in Belarus. One of the excellent questions arising from our discussion was how do you establish your professional identity using social media.
Professional identity is about who you are, who you want to be and what you stand for in the context of work.
I take the path that matters to me. Alignment is what makes a strong identity – what you see is what you get. Francesca Campalani, Lloyds Banking Group
Communication has become more complex because of the interplay between the virtual and physical worlds. It pays to be proactive and present your professional identity before someone else does it and accidentally or deliberately misrepresents who you really are.
I’ve experimented with several online tools over the last few years to develop my presence professionally. Aside from the obvious ones like LinkedIn (a must) and Twitter, here are three I’ve personally found to be helpful and how you might use them (all are free with options for paid upgrades):
About.me is a quick way to create a one-page website that’s easy to set up. I use it to signpost many of the places I can be found on the internet, a one-stop-shop for my links. Click here to see my page. It’s quite personal and visual. A lot of people post beautiful pictures as their background. I have a brief paragraph about the philosophy underpinning my energy and commitment to helping people learn to leap in their working lives.
You can include other media like videos, links to podcasts and other URLs to show off your work. There is space for your ‘backstory’, but it’s deliberately designed for a brief overview. Other people can compliment you in the form of different icons like ‘cool page’ and ‘inspiring pics’. You can follow other people and create collections. You can track your statistics by week and month (I’ve had over 5000 views this year). You can even turn your page into a digital business card by downloading an app.
About.me is perfect if you don’t have a website and you want to quickly get a professional (or personal) online presence.
Thinglink.com is a platform that makes your images and videos interactive and your content more engaging. It allows you to create rich media tags that link to other information about yourself.
Click here to see my example. It’s visual, immediate and different. You could create links to your CV, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, About.me page, and within presentations, Slideshares, blogs, videos, podcasts etc.
RebelMouse captures the content from your social engagement on common platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest in the form of a rolling, up-to-date personal website. You can create a newsletter or create updates for emailing to your network. People can register to get alerts for your page.
Again, it’s highly visual. What I like in particular is how it engages people on Twitter. Every time you retweet something, it sends to the original tweeter a compliment with a picture of a high-fiving squirrel. I will often get a resulting follow or comment and that can start a conversation.
It’s important to ensure your social engagement is aligned with what you want to be known for and that your content is interesting or valuable to the audience you are targeting. Setting the right tone to reflect your existing or desired professional identity is often a matter of trial and error to see what works.
Which ones do you use or recommend? Give these ones a try and let me know how you get on!