I’m currently teaching another personal branding class to undergraduate and MBA students and I’ve reached the point where everyone is required to establish a Facebook profile. This is always the most controversial part of the class. A few folks have avoided Facebook by choice and cringe at the thought of it being a required element of my course. Others have been on Facebook for awhile and don’t like some of the guidelines I have for how to practice serious personal branding on Facebook.
If you make personal branding just about marketing and promoting yourself, you are missing the big picture. Personal branding is more about the strategic management of your brand over time in order to get the most out of your career or business. I immerse myself in the most important social media platforms so that I can learn firsthand how they work and why people use them. The more I know about why people engage in social media, the better prepared I can be to leverage and continuously improve the value I have to offer to others.
Facebook is huge. There is a reason behind its phenomenal growth, and understanding that reason is important for the management of your brand. You don’t want to be on the sidelines as it continues to grow and change over time. The only way you can truly understand it is to actively participate. Facebook is not the most important site for your personal brand, but it is absolutely necessary.
Make sure your use of Facebook helps your brand. For too many, Facebook is hurting it.
For those serious about personal branding, Facebook is a powerful tool, not a toy. Even if all your friends are doing otherwise, don’t go to Facebook, or anywhere else online for that matter, to screw around. The stakes are too high. Learn to be professionally personal with the pictures you post and the conversations you have on Facebook. Be remarkable, not foolish.
If I were an employer, I would never hire anyone that was not engaged in social media (e.g. LinkedIn, blogging, Twitter, Facebook). Business is becoming increasingly social. I want to hire people that understand this and with their personal brand, can help, not harm, my business. Facebook is the best place for you to demonstrate that you understand the power of social media and can be trusted to behave responsibly online.
You need to be on Facebook.
Bret Simmons is an Associate Professor of Management in the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), where he teaches courses in organizational behavior, leadership, and personal branding to both undergraduate and MBA students. He has a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University. Bret practices personal branding at his website Positive Organizational Behavior where he blogs about leadership, followership, and personal branding. His purpose is “to change your mind about the value of partnering with others to build healthy, responsible organizations where everyone can thrive.” You can also find Bret on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.