Now, I may be
slightly massively behind on my uni work and may experience the occasional (or daily) meltdown about my dissertation, but you can’t say I do nothing; and part of that happened to be me attending a guest lecture this morning – I will be expecting a reward in the post.
This week, the wonderful Leeds Beckett Business school has launched their Creative & Digital Careers Series, part of which includes sending us incessant emails (only joking) requesting us to get involved. That team spirit lead me to writing this post/review of Digital Identity Day: Brand You.
Led by expert social media trainer Sarah Allison, we were given the opportunity to listen to an experts advice on how to develop our digital skills and grow those ever important networks. After all; in this fast and every changing industry, the connections we make today and the work we put in are vital to our future careers; so let me take you through it.
To start off, Sarah started us with a run down of search engines. As a student who has heard way too much terminology over my all too short three years, i’m no stranger to SEO and it’s importance; and how the smallest of things can land you smack bang at the top of Google. As a female of 21 years, I also understand that my Bebo profile is not something I want to pop up when people search for my name – the shame I feel anyway is enough.
Her first top tip is to search yourself, and if you’re as lucky as me, that dreaded Bebo profile won’t come up and neither will those photos of you from 2002. However, if not this could have a serious impact on your brand! You need to control what comes up, as your prospective employers or future clients don’t want to be faced with a result that shocks them (like a picture of you drunk circa 2011), ultimately reflecting badly on you and causing you to lose what they’re offering you.
While telling us this, Sarah endeavored to give us tips on just how to avoid this embarrassment, first off; CLEAN UP! You as an individual have the ability to delete old profiles, posts and photos and not only that, utilising websites such as brandyourself.com and SALT.agency, you can clean up your profile and get rid of all that bad content.
Before you start running around like headless chickens and deleting everything you have from Facebook to Pinterest, think about this; all of this depends on what you want to do and the person you are. Yes, if you’re a student like me looking for that all-too-important graduate job, maybe getting rid of those photos of you covered in wine could be really helpful. But if you’re all about creative content and working in an industry that may not be as straight laced, make sure you’re only censoring whats necessary.
Not only that, but Sarah’s next point could have you rethinking pressing the delete button – if you’re not about censoring yourself, remember that all we’re talking about here is content and if you wanna cover up the bad, get your butt out there and start creating more good.
(I hope the word butt doesn’t effect that graduate job…)
Moving on! We’re at part two of the lecture now and to be honest I was hooked. The thing is, to brand yourself is important for everyone! Once you’ve cleaned up those old search results and your pristine LinkedIn profile is sitting at the top of that list, you’ve gotta start thinking about these next words;
Personal. Brand. Purpose.
Your content is representative of you, but who is the ‘you’ that you want to portray? A big question and to be honest, I didn’t have much of an idea, so Sarah got us thinking about usernames. When I think about my main social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat) you could find me on at least three different handles – and that’s before you think about my professional profiles (the straight-laced ones).
If you’re creating a brand, it’s important to make sure that your future employers, colleagues or clients can all find you and the best way to do that is to stick to one, professional name or social media handle – if this sounds to hard to you, or like me you’re thinking ‘but everyone is taken and I’ve already got 6 numbers after my name’, then Sarah advised us that websites such as namechk can be the first step to making sure your social media handles match across the board.
As well as this, ensure your profile picture is something you’d be happy with if it was broadcast in Times Square! It’s a first impression to employers, coworkers and clients, not a picture for a dating website. Once you’ve done this, you’re set and ready to go!
The final step to branding yourself surrounds the content you are distributing; DJ & Document vs Create & Invent (this doesn’t mean get on the decks and gain a residency at Pryzm). In simple terms, don’t claim to be someone you’re not – document your journey and how you got here, create content that will provide excitement and add value to your brand. If this doesn’t sound like you, accumulate and contribute to content from others; building your connections and adding to discussions to create your own content.
Now I know this was a long ass post and you may think that creating your own brand just isn’t a good use of your time, but I honestly have to disagree. This lecture to me really was helpful no matter who you are or what you aim to do in life – if you’re aiming to be a tattoo artist or a lawyer, branding yourself is key to making sure that wherever you are, at least you look right for the part.
So take these tips and fly (straight to Google and get deleting that Bebo).