There is no doubt that Facebook is the king of social media sites. But along with LinkedIn, Twitter, and a personal blog, how does Facebook rank with respect to its importance for those practicing personal branding?
Let me first preface my remarks. If you are just looking to have fun in social media, then what I am about to say does not matter to you – you can tune out now. If you are serious about personal branding and see social media platforms as tools rather than toys, then here is how I rank the four sites mentioned above with respect to their importance.
- LinkedIn. If you are serious about personal branding, you MUST be on LinkedIn. It is the minimum place where you can communicate your professional intentions to engage in community with people that share your value. At LinkedIn, you can expand your resume and say more about what you can do to help others address opportunities or solve problems that matter to them. If you will put your LinkedIn address right below your name on your resume, you will immediately differentiate yourself from the vast majority of your peers that have not taken this simple step to enhance their professional profile.
- Blogging. This is how you take command of your brand. There is no better way to build content and conversation around your brand than to have an active blog. With a blog you can fully document your value and target what you say to those that need your value right now. Your blog becomes the hub from which you send multiple spokes into other social media platforms in order to help search engines find you. Your blog is where you can practice permission and inbound marketing by collecting the names and e-mail addresses of those that want to hear more from you. If you are not blogging, you are not fully leveraging the power of personal branding to transform your career and life.
- Twitter. The beauty of Twitter is that it is an open architecture. You don’t have to mess with all that goofy friend stuff in order to follow or be followed by others that have shared interests. Because of that, there is no better place for you to spread the word about how what you are writing at your blog can help others. I was on Twitter before I started blogging, and once the light bulb went off for me about the genius of Twitter, I KNEW I needed a blog. More people have found my blog through Twitter than any other single source. I have met more people on Twitter that have turned into real phone conversations or real in-person meetings than any other social media platform. My blog will always be pay-dirt, but Twitter is the center of my personal branding universe.
- Facebook. The value of Facebook to the serious personal brander is very overrated. Think about it, while you can connect with thousands on Twitter, most of us have less than 500 connections on Facebook. Of those connections, how likely is it that one of those folks is going to help you get a job or increase sales to your business? It is possible for sure, but less likely than LinkedIn, Twitter, or your blog. In fact, you are more likely to do something on Facebook that will HURT your brand than you are to do something that will help it. You can post silly pictures of yourself scantily clad or slobbering drunk that will rightly raise the eyebrows of professional recruiters. Or you can deny access to a decision maker that wants to check you out, sending them the message that you have something to hide. You need to be on Facebook because there is no better place where you can demonstrate that you understand how to be professionally personal. Your practice of consistency and transparency on Facebook will help your brand, but bad judgment on Facebook can haunt you.
Be remarkable! Do something your peers are not willing to do by practicing personal branding with commitment and professionalism and you can help yourself find the work that you want to do, not just accept the work that you can get.
Bret Simmons is an Assistant 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.