Author: Lisa Malone
In the digital age, there is no such thing as ‘the middle of nowhere’.
Social media had made everything connected – today suppliers are also your customers. Your peers can be your mentors and advocates. Your shareholders are your customers, your suppliers, your employees….
But perhaps you’ve held out, convinced social media is just for kids, cat videos and the Kardashians. Heck, even LinkedIn is only for when you are actually in the job market, right??? Wrong.
Love it or loathe it, this level of hyper-connectivity is here to stay and learning to navigate and distinguish yourself on social media, can be game changing for your career.
Regardless of which platform of choice – Procurious, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook (or most likely a combination of these and others), here are some tips for building a positive brand image online and getting more out of your social media experience:
1. Lose the mask
Unless you are Batman or Superwoman, and there’s a genuine reason to hide your identify from the world, there’s little point being on social media if no one knows who you are.
One of the easiest ways to grow your network and build your personal brand is simply to pay a little attention to your profile.
So make yourself searchable by using your full name and your current role, include a snappy biography – a few interesting details to set yourself apart from the crowd – and add a photograph so people can put a face to a name.
And on the subject of profile photos – pick one headshot to use across all your professional networks so you are instantly recognizable. If possible, find one where you are smiling, look approachable and professionally dressed.
2. Don’t lurk, be an expert
Australians are renowned for ‘lurking’ on social media, rather than getting involved. Perhaps it goes back to that ‘tall poppy’ syndrome but in an age where you compete with people from across the globe for jobs and competitive advantage, being a wallflower just won’t payoff.
It’s understandable to feel a little intimidated at first about putting yourself ‘out there’ on social media. It should then be comforting to know that the ‘Discussions’ section on Procurious is the busiest part of our site and questions range from the most basic (Which companies have the biggest procurement teams? Or Can you take this survey for my Supply Chain Masters degree?) through to the technical and sophisticated.
The overall feeling on social media is generally one of people wanting to reach out and help – not pass judgment.
As you gain confidence, start to think about what you want to be ‘famous’ for? Is it in relation to a particular category? Talking about capability development? Negotiations? Perhaps it’s tapping into a fascination for tech and writing about which mobile apps will help you be more productive. Decide which subjects you feel most comfortable contributing to and focus in on these groups and discussions. It doesn’t take much to become a top-influencer on LinkedIn and then watch your global network grow as people seek your views.
3. You’re not a robot
Don’t be afraid to show some of your personality in social media– after all if we share the same things or are serious and dry all the time, then the social media sphere won’t be a very interesting or colorful place to hang out.
Finding a unique voice is probably the most challenging aspect of embarking on your social media quest. A common mistake is trying to copy another person’s style, which usually just winds up sounding forced and inauthentic. Social media is not academia. Just try to write as you’d speak – don’t overthink it.
Diversity really is the spice of life and in my experience, it’s those Tweets and Procurious posts that reveal a bit of personality that are the most shared, liked and retweeted……no doubt for the simple reason they stand out from the crowd.
4. Connect, connect, connect
The value you derive from Procurious or any other social network will ultimately depend on how involved your network is with the site.
Building a network is a never ending task so make it part of your daily routine. Once you’ve picked your social network(s), encouraging peers, suppliers, and LinkedIN or other connections to join, will vastly improve the quality of your discussions and the effectiveness of your own personal branding efforts!
With the notable exception of Facebook (which in my opinion really should be kept for genuine ‘friends’ given the highly personal nature of materials shared), don’t just stop at adding those who you actually know.
On Procurious, we strongly recommend connecting with any and all of the members across our 56 countries who interest you – perhaps they work in the same industry; manage the same category….or perhaps you’d just like to know more about procurement practices in Kazakhstan …..no jokes, we have Kazakhstani Procurious members!
While it’s absolutely true that we have a responsibility to be good brand ambassadors for our companies, it’s even more important to remember that you are representing yourself.
So before you hit ‘post’, do a quick sense check:
I once heard a recruiter say that if he can’t find a candidate on social media, then they don’t exist as far as he’s concerned. Remaining ‘off the grid’ is just about impossible so you might as well take control of your online brand….beside, you might just discover there is a whole world of fascinating, helpful and likeminded people out there looking forward to e-meeting you!
Lisa Malone is the General Manger – Europe for Procurious - the online business network for the new generation of Procurement and supply chain professionals.
You can connect with Lisa directly at Procurious via: https://www.procurious.com/buildyournetwork/lisa-malone/JtdxK-z
Or follow Lisa on Twitter @lisajoymalone