The fine line between professional vs. personal online branding.

There are often misconceptions about the term ‘personal branding’. Many young graduates believe:

a) That it is only for professionals in BIG organisations

b) That its key purpose is to market yourself to corporate executives

c) That for a successful personal brand you need to have a pre-existing, extensive list of contacts

Today, it’s more likely that your first impression to an employer will be made online, rather than in-person. Which makes having a stellar online brand, 100% priority as a student or soon-to-be-graduate.

We know how tricky it can be though. The boundaries that once distinguished personal and professional personas are now blurred.

Which makes it more challenging to maintain a balance between the two. And as helpful as social media can be, it can also be quite risky.

All it takes is one unfortunate post to damage your potential employment opportunities.

We’re not saying to completely sacrifice your individuality for professionalism! It’s also just as important to be unique, creative and daring in such a competitive environment.

However, we are going to help you walk confidently along the thin line that is professional vs. personal online branding. Note:  The tips below can be applied to ANY social platform ie. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram.

1 // Do some spring cleaning.

Thanks to social media, our lives have never been more transparent. Even though we have some level of control over the things we share online, people can still tag us in images, videos and status’ … extending the reach of this content to various networks.

That’s why it’s important to consistently monitor your social media accounts. Conduct a digital spring clean by deleting any irrelevant status’ or old photos that may portray you in an undesirable light.

2 // Privacy please. 

It may also be a good idea to utilise your privacy setting on the social sites you use. For example, Facebook enables you to share content with close friends and exclude specific posts from the news feed of particular people.

By limiting your posts to be seen by only the audiences you choose (ie. only your friends vs. public), you are then free to upload content, voice your opinion and be an active participant in any community you wish.

3 // Content should be tweaked for different social platforms. 

When we are online, it is vital to consider whom our audience is compromised of. For example, your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts could be exclusively for connecting with work colleagues and professional contacts, while your Facebook account could be for interacting with close friends and family members.

At the end of the day, it is up to you what you choose to share and on which platforms. However it is always ideal to keep your content consistent and to ‘sense-check’ yourself before you hit the “post” button.

4 // Time to double-up? 

Another strategy which you could adopt is to create separate accounts on the same platform. You may wish to set up a discrete, work-related account on Instagram, and use account for personal use.

When you want to post about work or industry news, simply log onto your professional account and vice versa for your personal!

This doesn’t mean you have a secret, ‘split personality’, it essentially helps to distinguish work-life boundaries and provides you with a greater sense of privacy!