Find your online voice

When I first looked into developing my online personal brand I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing or where to begin. After reading a few articles with their own tips and words of advice the fog is starting to clear a bit I realised I was approaching things all wrong. Some of the articles I read said I should keep my online persona and my actual persona separate, maybe this works for some people but not for me. I have a varied set of interests and that I should focus on one topic and work on building an audience around that subject felt like I wasn’t giving a clear picture of the type of I am by neglecting my other interests such as baking and reading. The problem with this approach is I can’t give every topic the full attention it deserves, at the moment my Twitter feed is full of posts relating to mental health, social media, technology with the odd post about baking and exercise adding the personal touch showing that I do have a life and interests that may attract a new group of people who also bake and have an interest in robots being developed to mimic human traits.

I need to find a happy middle ground that worked for me, a mixture of posts that Once I had worked out that in order for me to be comfortable posting online and building up a network I needed to be more ‘human’, more myself. Remain professional but understand the people I engage with online and whose posts I share haven’t met me in person, they don’t know my personality all of which I need to convey through an online post.

This new approach seems to be working with Twitter and I’m trying to utilise some of the resources on there to help my bother find a job by sharing his digital artwork. His Asperger’s does hinder him in some ways, new people can unnerve him but don’t feel sorry for him as his has a lot of positive traits that any employer would be lucky to have him once both parties get past the initial obstacles. LinkedIn I’ll keep it more professional for now until I find a voice for this network that I am comfortable with, this is still a work in progress.

I know I have been lax in posting on this blog, but on here I have always tried to be myself. Blogging is the one place where I have written about my interests, things that have caught my attention in the news to work related pieces. I probably should have put more thought into the type of image I wanted my blog to have or what personality I wanted it to have, but over thinking all this would just stress me out instead of having fun with it. Which I think I do, I’ve written about random people fly tipping to the lack of forks in the work kitchen, I have also been serious when writing work related articles.

If you want to know about creating an online personal brand than there are lots of articles out there to help you, some will get straight to the point others will be very long winded that you will lose interest within the first paragraph. They will have one thing in common, be you; be genuine, be real. This is your selling point, talk about the things that interest you, make you laugh, make you cry, share your knowledge and experiences but don’t be fake. You can’t please all the people all the time but the first person you might as well please is yourself the rest will eventually fall into place. For some an online persona is about building an audience for their brand for others it is a therapeutic experience. You can think about how you want network, market yourself and your blog once you have found your online voice. Once you achieve that there will be no stopping you.

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Social branding: building my online personality

Not so long ago I wrote a blog called ‘ Social branding; who am I? Since then I have been working on creating and developing my online personality by sharing information, images that interest me and may possibly interest others. Along the way I’m making a few discoveries about myself, realising I know a bit more about digital marketing than I thought which is a boost for my self confidence. I’ve been working on my Twitter and LinkedIn profiles with a mixed bag of success, I’ll go into more detail below.

Twitter

I’m not embarrassed to say that in the past I wasn’t a Twitter person, since using it for work and attending some communication conferences I have got an insight to how I could effectively use this social network without sharing every aspect of life, nothing wrong in being selective.

  • Less is definitely more
  • Don’t go nuts with the hashtags
  • Be genuine and not so self centered.
  • Put some thought into the content I’m sharing, is it something my followers would be interested in.
  •  Don’t forget to have fun with it.
All sounds simple enough when you think about it
  • Put some effort into building your online persona,
  • Look for articles on your topic of interest
  • Like and share other people’s posts
  • Write and share your own words of wisdom, this part I sometimes struggle with, but something I am slowly but surely getting to grips with.
Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t

I’ll admit that I don’t always know what I’m doing, there is a lot of information online some of it can be conflicting and down right confusing. Eventually I will have a much more structured approach  but at the moment the mixture of structure and ‘winging it’ is paying off.

My number followers are increasing which is good though the numbers do tend to fluctuate.

Followers April-May

I noticed in one day my number of followers had fallen by 10, but by the end of the day I had regained the number of followers originally lost. As you can see I have been posting a lot of message related to technology. It’s linked to my new found interest of artificial intelligence, it’s something that both worries and fascinates me at the same time.

LinkedIn

I use this social network differently to Twitter. With Twitter I feel I have more freedom to post a mixture of posts that show my different interests from a digital communications point of view to baking and about the exercise classes I attend. LinkedIn has a more professional air and not really a place to post how I profusely glowed during a weekly Zumba class.

LinkedIn is a work in progress

I have updated my profile, even went as far as filling in the summary section about myself. If I keep going in the direction that I am it is only a matter of time that I too will be confidently sharing my own words of wisdom. No I just need to be a bit more active and get involved, comment on posts and join some of the groups.

The one things I have learnt and I would say is one of the most important pieces of advice given on this journey is that no matter what your topic of interest is, it is important to find your own voice, be yourself. Just because you can’t be seen doesn’t mean your followers won’t be able to see through the fakeness.

What I’ve learnt about creating online content so far

I’m not a social butterfly, I don’t thrive in a room full of strangers with ease. I am an introvert until I feel comfortable enough to allow my extrovert side to make an appearance. People who know me well enough may find this all hard to believe as they tend to worry when I am quiet! So you can imagine my own surprise that of all the jobs and potential career paths I could have fallen into and have a genuine eagerness to learn more about and some degree of success in is digital communications.

My current employment is in external communications; maintaining the company’s website and social media pages. I have been fortunate enough to have been allowed to explore the world of video, at the moment I have only dabbled in stop motion animation but will be using YouTube editing facilities in the near future. I have been to conferences to increase my understanding and learn from experts who were once in the same position as me; wondering where to start with a social media campaign, what content to share with the world, how to engage with people to create a strong following. Then there is the topic of branding, both for business and personal, that’s right people branding is not reserved just for businesses. Just by how I present myself online through the content I share, posts I comment on even this blog are all part of my brand.

Personal Brand

For the first time I took part (a little bit) on a Twitter chat hosted by Hootsuite called #HootChat. I was a bit apprehensive at first as many of the people also taking part sounded experienced and knew what they were talking about and knew each other, but we all have to start somewhere so in I jumped with my digital arm bands.

The questions put forward for discussion revolved around branding;

  • Do you have a brand?
  • How would you describe your brand?
  • How do you maintain your brand?

This got me thinking about myself and how would I answer these questions, in short the answer is I don’t know, I’m still figuring this out. What I have learnt so far is that I need to think about what is my online persona, is there something in particular I want to be known for?

Original tweet posted my Sarah Picard

Persona Tweet

I am sharing a lot of things around social media, mental health, blogging and artificial intelligence; this is a topic that has caught my eye lately. I want to try and remain a personable by sharing my interests and generally things that happen in my world.

MyTweet

Content is king

Whilst at the Engaging Digital Conference piece of advice given was when generating content think of it as storytelling. Engage, depending on the topic and your personality even entertain your followers through the power of your words. You want your content to encourage people to comment, share and like your posts.

Be selective, just because you have a lot to say doesn’t mean it needs to be said all at once, one of the pieces of advice given at the #DigCommsConf by speaker Oli Lewington was to avoid ‘blasting people with your hose of content’, you want people to come back!

Hashtags are handy but you don’t want them to distract from your message. At the conference during her talk speaker Joanna Goodwin noted that from her experience less hashtags used is more.

Twitter_Hashtag

Try not to be a complete narcissist and think just because you wrote an excellent article that people will just gravitate towards you. Get involved, share other people’s posts, comment, like etc. I manage to share and like other people’s posts but haven’t been very vocal when it comes to commenting. This is something I will work on but the fact I’m thinking about my personal brand and being more active on Twitter and LinkedIn is a step in the right direction.

Video

‘Video will account for 80% of all internet traffic by 2019, up from 64% in 2014, says technology giant Cisco. ‘

I still want to try my hand at creating and using more video in my posts. Video is a great way to tell a story and visually engages followers. I’m still a newbie and have been somewhat lazy in developing those skills myself, until then I will happily share other peoples videos.

Social personal branding; who am I?

It has been a while since I have written a post about personal branding, so why now? There could be some potential employment changes in the horizon for me which got me thinking about my own digital branding. A lot has changed in my world in the past few years so naturally has my attitude and outlook has as well changes which should be reflected in how I brand myself going forward. First I need to figure how I am going to do this and what type of person I want to show to the digital world?

How I used social media in the past compared to now has changed, I haven’t been as focused on the changes and developments happening in the social media world or how it still plays a significant role in people’s lives, in some cases consuming them. Love it or hate it social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, it has evolved into a world all of its own. I decide what to share and how much online, common sense should still be used even when promoting oneself.

In the past most of my Twitter post were related to the type of job I was in at the time i.e. jobs boards, job searching. Even with my blog I would alternate posts between those that were work related with ones that were linked to what was going on in my personal world.

I have drifted away from Facebook now mostly liking posts that appear in my newsfeed, If I do post something it is usually linked to my job or something I have been tagged in.

My LinkedIn profile hasn’t been touched for several months, only to update my profile with my current employment description and even then that addition doesn’t really provide enough information about the job I actually do. Shame on me, entirely my own fault. Some LinkedIn users would argue that over time LinkedIn has lost its way from what it was originally meant to be; a business networking online platform instead of now being viewed as Facebook for professionals with users commenting not always on the skill of a fellow user but on how they look when they update their profile picture or even the type of picture used. Despite this LinkedIn is still credible and a good way to network, share business experiences, look for a new job or to headhunt a potential future employee. I’ve hyped up LinkedIn a bit here however like other social networks one size does not fit all. In a blog post written by Things Career Related, the writer though an advocate of LinkedIn discusses the possibility that LinkedIn is not for everyone. It is possible that I am becoming one of those people, I haven’t made a firm decision yet about what I want to do with my LinkedIn profile time will tell.

As you can see, I have been working on reviving my blog trying to post something at least once a week. I think I stopped blogging partly due to time constraints but also because I thought I had nothing to write about. Looking back on old posts I realised I do have a lot to say, its the way that I choose to share it. I wrote about a variety of things from baking, to the job sector I was currently employed in, some of it was on serious topics others had a more dry sense of humour tone. It was just a matter of rediscovering the things I enjoyed, discovering new things, topics of discussion that I thought were relevant.

The plan going forward is to continue writing my blog, if nothing else I enjoy writing and blogging is a great way to get some of my thoughts down on digital paper. Surprisingly since spending a bit of time each day on Twitter and sharing articles that interest me I’ve seen an increase in followers, heading in the right direction even with my Twitter bio only being seven words long! Facebook I’ll leave it in the shadows for now visiting it for now. LinkedIn has potential but one step at a time.

So who am I? There are many different sides to me that keep evolving but for now I am another digital world wanderer intrigued by how technology and the virtual world has encompassed our lives, but lets not forget the baker in me without technology and social media I wouldn’t be able to link with other excellent bakers and find some amazing recipes.

Image from www.pixabay.com

Promoting the job & company to a future employee

We’re always looking at ways a candidate should try and brand themselves, writing the perfect CV, how to behave in an interview, what to do when you are offered the job, that at times we neglect what employers should be doing to sell themselves to potential employees.

Many employers these days will turn to social media to check out their short listed candidates, potential employees will do the same. Does your company have a Twitter, Facebook page, can they be found on LinkedIn?

There are websites such as glassdoor.co.uk where past and present employees of a company can leave reviews about their experience. Depending on the number of reviews these can be taken with a pinch of salt but can also raise a few questions.

Candidates have to write a CV highlighting their knowledge and experience, employers should be doing the same when advertising a poistion by including important information such;

  • Salary
  • Location
  • Clear job description
  • Qualifications and requirements required to do the job
  • Benefits
  • Training

There are many poorly written job adverts where companies have not taken the time to create something informative and appealing to prospective employees.

As with a CV the employers should be honest with what they are offering. If the job doesn’t include the luxury of being able to work from home then don’t put it in the job description. This also applies to interviews, don’t make false promises that the potential employee will expect you to follow through with should they accept your job offer. Many people may be desperate for a job but there are also many people who will happily walk away if the job is not what they expected it to be based on the information provided. Wasting both the employer and the employee’s time and money.

Interviews

As the interviewer you may think the interview begins once both you and the candidate are seated and you are ready to begin the interview. Wrong. Interviews are an opportunity for the candidate to also interview the interviewer and the company, this begins the minute they walk through the door.They will already be taking in their surroundings, the location of the building, how they were treated when they arrived.

Don’t keep an interviewee waiting, if you are likely to be delayed keep them informed. If an interviewee arrived late with no fore warning it would be a strike against them.

Be prepared! Do your research, make sure you have read the interviewees CV and decided on some relevant questions.

Have information about the position, the team they could be working in to hand. The purpose of the interview is not only for you to gauge if the interviewee is the right person for the job but also for the interviewee to gauge if this is the right job and company for them.

Don’t answer your mobile phone or have members of your team coming in and out asking you questions. This shows a lack of interest and professionalism.

If you are looking for a replacement, no bad mouthing the current / previous person doing that job. This reflects badly on you, your department and the company.

Respect is a two way street, treat your interviewee as you would like to be treated.

Personal Branding – How to do it, do you need it?

brandWith the social media revolution underway there are new buzz words being created and thrown around usually to describe something you most likely will already be doing without knowing it. I’m talking about Personal Branding.

What is Personal Branding is it important?

Type ‘personal brand’ into a search engine and you get a plethora of results from what is personal branding, how to create your personal brand to maintaining your personal brand.

Many of us will already have started building our brand via the likes of our CV’s, LinkedIn, blogs, Facebook etc, now there is a term attached to it in the form of Personal Branding. The focus is on the message our various online and physical profiles send out to others about ourselves and how they can benefit or hinder our careers. Is this person driven, are they a successful Accountant with a desire to become a partner in a lucrative company. This may sound over the top but is information both prospective employees and customers will want to know about you even before they have met you.

MarketWe hear about how the social networking sites in reality are not as social as you thought them to be, with the need to be cautious about what you post and who the information is visible to. With the new social media driven world we currently live in, we as people have become marketable commodities.  Appearance, skills, experience, online persona, are all segments grouped together to create the brand that is you.

Depending on the industry you choose to work in, branding yourself in such a way may not seem essential. Yet with 45% of US people checking out a company’s various brand pages before deciding to buy one of their products then why not an individual before deciding to hire them?

Sending your CV to apply for a job, attending an interview, going for a promotion,  these are all examples of how in previous times  you marketed yourself to demonstrate why you are the better person for a job. This is no longer enough, companies have marketing strategies in place to promote their products, and the same applies to individuals.

There is plenty of advice and tips out there on how to build your brand, though the majority of it comes down to common sense.  In case you are stumped below are some questions you should ask yourself.

  • How do you want to be perceived by others?
  • What career path do you want to take?
  • What are my future goals?
  • What are my strengths / personal attributes (organised, problem solver)
  • What are my interests? Hobbies, sports etc

Take your time to figure out the answers to the above questions. Once answered, you can then get to work on building your profile.

  • Are your social profiles complete and free from anything incriminating?
  • Do your social profiles have a professional looking picture?
  • Have you written any articles / blogs?
  • Do your online profiles contain links to these publications?
  • What does an online search of your name return?
  • Do you have a Personal Brand statement that accurately and concisely describe you and the direction you are heading in?
  • Are you using an appropriate email address ie one that contains your name?

All of the above will help you build a brand that will be memorable to your targeted audience. (Prospective employers, customers)

Online profiles are a part of brand building but not the only tools out there. Not necessary but handy to have are business cards that have your short snappy personal statement and contact details on. These will come in use when you attend networking events.

verysexyladyYou don’t have to suddenly become a narcissist, but your appearance is a part of your brand. As much as we dislike it people are judged by their appearance and seen as a reflection on their ability to carry out certain tasks. All depending on the type of brand you have created ensure your physical appearance reflects it.

If nothing else this process will help you find out the things you enjoy doing and want to do more off, and help you set future career goals. You will discover your strengths and weaknesses, that you may choose to work on. Once created your brand is not set in stone, as with everything you will continue to develop it, as you grow so will your personal brand.

http://careers.guardian.co.uk/build-personal-brand

http://mashable.com/2009/02/05/personal-branding-101/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2012/02/14/the-first-step-to-building-your-personal-brand/2/

http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2013/9944/social-networking-45-check-out-brands-pages?adref=nl012913

http://andsomepeople.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/its-all-about-the-candidate-engagement-of-employer-branded-content/

JobServe Insight : Super-charge your adverts – Written by Rachel Reading

Advert Optimisation

It should go without saying that the fundamental of a good job advertisement is that it is attractive to its desired audience. However, writing a good job advert goes beyond these basics, and should be based upon an understanding of the techniques employed by job seekers in searching for jobs, and by job boards in delivering (what they perceive as being) the most relevant jobs.

Did you know that a well written advert can receive as many as 71% more applications than a less well written equivalent?

For the majority of job boards, the primary search criteria are determined from the job seeker entering one or more keywords or phrases that describe their requirements. JobServe’s sophisticated search engine works on a “best match” basis, therefore the better your jobs match the candidate’s “keyword search”, the higher they will appear in their search results.

To dispel a couple of myths

  • JobServe Best Match does not place adverts in the search results based on the age of the job.
  • JobServe Best Match does not list adverts based on the repetition of key skills in the advert body.

Reaching “Active” Candidates

Fundamentally, job boards can only match based upon the content you provide in your job advert. It is therefore important that your job advert contains all of the necessary constituent parts.

Shown below is the all-important structure for writing an advert, structured to work well with job board technology. Recruiters are advised to follow this format when writing their own job adverts on JobServe.

Job Title
It is perhaps of little surprise that the job title is one of the most important parts of the job advert. The job title is the first thing to catch the job seeker’s eye, and draw them to read your advert further.

The job title should both accurately describe the role using the terminology most likely to be used by job seekers, and also include popular alternate titles for the same role, as well as identifying the key skills.

Job Description
You should start your job description by repeating the job title, trying to avoid prefixing it with superfluous words such as “My client is seeking…”.

Keep your job description concise. Aim for between 200 and 500 words and use short paragraphs and bullet points where you can to make the ad easy to scan.

Give an idea of what the company culture is like at the end of the advert. This is an important selling point and should be included, but not at the expense of the information on the role.

Location
When completing the location information for your job, always try to be as specific as possible. Many job seekers will run proximity searches to refine the results for where they would like to work. Stating which town or city a job is located will mean it will be returned in far more search results, leading to more response.
Salary
Stats show :

  • Contract roles with salaries disclosed receive twice as many applications than those without
  • Permanent roles with salaries shown receive 50% more applications than those jobs which do not show the salary

If the job you are advertising has extra benefits, include these with your salary information. Some of the modern “intelligent” job search engines, such as JobServe, will take this into account when providing matches to candidates.

Jobs by Email

Jobs by Email was pioneered by JobServe in 1993 and is the proactive sending of jobs to matching candidates over a certain period of time. JobServe will send your job via email when it matches search criteria set up by our candidates.

By following the above suggestions, you will be increasing your chances of your jobs being included in more relevant Jobs by Email subscriptions each week, therefore widening the audience to your role.

And don’t forget…these may be passive candidates, not necessarily actively searching for jobs on the site. By receiving these emails they will have the opportunity to apply for your job, and they haven’t had to lift a finger!

Branding

Brand awareness, and the smart application of it, is a useful way for recruiters to increase the number of applicants to their job.

Where permissible, branding should always be applied to the job advertisement. This helps provide credibility to the advert, and assurance to the job seeker.

As a client of JobServe, you have the ability to fully brand each of your adverts on the site to increase your brand awareness and to help increase applications to each of your requirements.

If this is of interest to you, please contact your JobServe account manager who will be able to assist in getting this set up for you.

You can also view this article on JobServe