Creating a digital presence
Developing an online profile builds your professional networking contacts and makes you visible to your peers, colleagues, existing and potential business partners, and companies looking for candidates with your skills and experience. Social media is a powerful job hunting tool and can similarly be used as a screening tool by recruiters. When building a professional profile online, you are essentially marketing yourself to a potentially very wide audience. “Everything you do online is a representation of your personal brand” (Tolliday, 2015). By actively managing your presence on social media, you can monitor your brand to ensure that you are sending out the right image.
I joined LinkedIn in January 2015 after deciding to change career path. The main reason I joined was to create a digital presence and promote my experience and skills. I soon realised that LinkedIn was a useful way to establish connections with professional influencers and peers and follow interesting companies. LinkedIn is an essential tool for graduates, job seekers, and recruiters as the personal profile has replaced the traditional cover letter and CV and the platform now offers a level-playing field for networking.
On LinkedIn I have joined several networking and discussion groups, the most useful of which is currently the ‘Irish Professionals Nordic Network’. Through this group I am able to keep up to date with relevant networking events and connect with other professionals interested in strengthening links between Ireland and the Nordic countries.
A detailed LinkedIn profile with a professional photo, concise summary and additional media and presentation links can create a lasting first impression (Arruda, 2015) and endorsed skills can give credibility to your profile. I have taken steps to complete my profile with my target audience in mind and have successfully reached “All-Star” status (of course, there is still some room for growth!)
Twitter is a relatively new platform for me. I started tweeting in August 2015 and in addition to managing my own Twitter account, I am now also the main copy-writer and administrator of Tourism Ireland Nordics consumer Twitter account.
Twitter is a valuable tool for following experts in many different fields and using lists to bookmark and categorise influential Twitter accounts is a simple and practical way to filter the content in your Twitter feed and focus on a particular topic or trend.
Twitter is less formal than LinkedIn but it is still important for professionals to use an appropriate tone of voice and remember that opinions may be viewed as representative of their company. One of the challenges I experience with Twitter is finding the right balance between Tweets that reflect my personal interests such as travel, food, languages and digital marketing, and content that actively promotes the brand image of Tourism Ireland, as the description in my bio refers to my professional position.
I recently set up a WordPress account to share blog posts about my digital marketing experiences. I have previously written blog posts on LinkedIn that continue to receive new views, and I realise that having a professional blog can help me to promote my profile, reach a wider peer audience and interact with other professionals.
Starting and keeping up with a blog is a bigger commitment than LinkedIn or Twitter, but there are many distinct advantages. A blog can offer insights into the writer’s passions and interests and I feel that by consistently adding posts to my WordPress and LinkedIn profiles, I can develop a stronger personal brand and showcase more of what I know and do in a professional format.
A blog can become a powerful archive of ideas, projects, and professional achievements (Barrett, 2015) and previous posts can offer interesting reflections, enabling the writer to recall how they have adapted to new challenges and developed during their career. Self-reflection is an important skill for professionals as it leads to greater self-awareness and ultimately more effective leadership skills (Tjan, 2012).
It is important to join the conversation on social platforms and to offer thought-leadership or value to your network. To ensure that your profile remains visible, you should share relevant content and update your profile regularly. By setting weekly goals such as finding new connections, posting updates, starting a conversation, or publishing new content, I plan to continue developing my online profile and hopefully stand out as an influential member within my social media networks.
Arruda, W. (2015). How to write the perfect LinkedIn summary. LinkedIn. Retrieved 5 April 2016, from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-write-perfect-linkedin-summary-william-arruda
Barrett, T. (2015). 8 reasons you should have a professional blog. The Curious Creative. Retrieved 09 April 2016, from http://edte.ch/blog/2015/02/05/8-reasons-you-should-have-a-professional-blog/
Tjan, A. (2012). How leaders become self-aware. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 5 April 2016, from https://hbr.org/2012/07/how-leaders-become-self-aware/
Tolliday, D. (2015). How to Use Social Media to Build Your Personal Brand. Social Media Examiner. Retrieved 6 April 2016, from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/use-social-media-to-build-your-personal-brand/