Personal branding is a concept that many more college students are adopting. “Get out there, be social,” “Clean up your image, employers are looking at Facebook before hiring.” Most advice about how to create a strong personal brand while in college focuses on the obvious, things like: Don’t post compromising pictures, don’t write profanity, carefully organize your friend lists and watch where and how you are tagged in photos. Here we are going to assume that college students are smart and that these obvious tips are, well, pretty obvious. This article focuses on how to use social media to create a personal brand in less obvious but very effective ways. Want to stand out and land a good job? Then read on.
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Student Branding on Social Media Starts with Focus
Each person is unique and has different objectives and goals, and a personal brand must reflect that. When creating your personal brand online the idea is to be the best YOU can be, in whatever desired field you are pursuing. There are probably a lot of interesting things about YOU but it is essential to focus when creating a brand. List 5 things you love or that define your strengths and then choose 3. Here is an example:
Lucy is a college student, interested in working in the world of fashion. She is very detail oriented. She loves donuts, dogs, swimming, skiing, biking, math, chess, movies, shopping for shoes, decorating her dorm, tennis and having coffee with her girl friends. Lucy, like many of us, is an eclectic girl. Yet to create her online social brand it is important to concentrate on the elements of her personality that most relate to her goals. Lucy decided to choose dorm decorating, movies and shoe shopping as the most important things to her. When Lucy is being social online, when she is creating her Pinterest pages she will try to always come back to these three core subjects. Why? Simply put, Lucy is creating a brand, and not just being social online for the sake of it. Through focus Lucy can create a personal brand online that has depth and character. Her other interests will naturally seep in over time as her brand becomes more complete. The idea behind this approach is that any prospective employer will leave Lucy’s social profiles with a memorable impression.
Effective Student Branding on Social Media Uses Color
Color is one of the strongest weapons in product branding. Color defines everything from mood to personality. This is why it is also important to use it in a student’s personal online presence. Look at your dorm room bedding. What colors did you choose? Do you like the pattern well enough to repeat again in other parts of the room? How does the bedding pattern make you feel and why? The best personal branding pages use color as well as focus to further create a lasting impression. Like your dorm stuff, the colors that you choose for your Twitter background and that are pinned onto Pinterest matter. Choose a color palette that is 2-3 colors and stick with it as often as possible. The result will make your personal brand memorable and distinctive.
Social Student Branding is About Where You Choose to Hang Out Online
When employers and human resource professionals look at social media pages they are often looking at them to decide if you will fit into their corporate culture. Every business has a personality. A person can have the best resume but still turn into the worst employee. Savvy employers know this. They also know that students will manipulate their profiles to look like they will fit in. If you are trying to sell yourself as a math geek, it’s important to belong to a few math geek forums and be active in them rather than spending your time commenting on smutty websites. The friends and connections you make through these groups can help in the future. Align the places you choose to be social with where you want to be in ten years. For example, Lucy focused on Justluxe, Women on Business and her college math blog rather than spending all of her online time on Stumbleupon. Through these forums Lucy is looking to learn as much as she can in addition to making new connections and furthering her own brand.
Using the strategies above will help to create a successful student brand. As your brand develops it will change and grow. This is perfectly normal for a young person. Just remember to change
your social pages to reflect your personal growth!
Laura Wilson is Brand Manager for OCM, leading online supplier of dorm essentials.