Social media has changed career networking for ever. In many industries it’s now possible to build a reputation that extends way beyond the people you’ve worked with, creating a personal brand that can bring real opportunities.
It’s something that’s likely to become more and more important if trends towards remote working continue and face-to-face networking isn’t always possible.
So how do you build a great reputation in your industry online? We’ve gathered some expert insights to get you on the way.
Focus on the right channels
You probably don’t have time to be on every fad social network that Silicon Valley launches. After all, you’ve got other work to do than managing SnapChat, TikTok and Twitter. So, start by checking out where your industry is talking and heading there to join the conversation.
Marketing consultant Brian Honigman urges people to focus on the social media channels where the people they admire congregate, and not to insist on being everywhere. “Nobody will notice if you’re not there, but they will notice if you are there and do it poorly,” he says.
Define your goals
You need to know what reputation you want to build. Start by making a list of the traits you’d like your social media presence to display: maybe you want to be seen as a thought leader, a creative powerhouse, a public speaker or a mentor.
“Whatever your ideal image and brand is, first define it,” says Kim Harrison, founder of Cutting Edge PR. Then learn from people who already have that reputation, he says. “Building your personal brand can take time but by observing popular influencers, you can learn and apply habits and techniques that have made others successful.”
Show your expertise
Building a reputation as an expert on social media means creating content that people want to share, which in turn increases your following. Dorie Clark, author of What’s Next?: The Art of Reinventing Your Personal Brand, says you should aim to show you have expertise in your content, rather than telling people you’re an expert.
If people are engaged and enthused by what you’re saying, they’ll do a lot of the work for you. “You lose credibility with people if you show you’re blowing your own horn. You need other people to blow the horn for you,” Clark says.
Be a cheerleader
No one likes a know-it-all, so don’t neglect the social side of social media. Make sure that you have a reputation of being a team player by sharing some of the spotlight and celebrating the achievements of others.
“Cheer for everyone and everything in your industry,” says Meagan Bowman, CEO of e-commerce company Stopwatch. She says it shows that you love strong competition – and it’s also likely to make others more willing to return the favour.
Once you’ve started putting out content and grabbing people’s attention, it’s time to start reaping the rewards of recognition, accolades and connections – all of which can be used to strengthen your CV and open up new opportunities.
Timothy Carter from digital marketing agency SEO.co recommends offering to collaborate with people who are more successful to reach bigger audiences and climb the reputational ladder. “Sometimes, merely being associated with a known authority can help you get seen as an authority in your own right,” he says.