Just like a corporate brand, each of us has our own brand. It includes our character, social media presence, conversations, lifestyle — everything we do pours into our personal brand.
Everything we do, in a work or school environment to what we are doing on Friday night is reflective of our personal brand. Our clothes, decisions and conversations dictate this brand.
Social media is also a reflection of your brand, a reflection of you to those who don’t know you or work with you regularly.
Social media authorship shouldn’t be taken lightly, because it could stay with you for the rest of your life. For future employers and love interests, it is likely to be their first impression.
People who follow you because of a cause may not share your beliefs, even though they share an affinity for that cause. Your objectives should always be to create advocacy and loyalty, never to polarize people.
You have people following you on social media who look up to you, without knowing you completely. Any remark you make can tear down the influence you’ve worked so hard to build.
Contrary to popular belief, no one wins in trending social media tiffs.
Don’t let yourself be defined, in anyone’s eyes, by a single post. You’re better than that. We all are.
What to post: goals and achievements, positive social life, quotes and interesting interactions.
Don’t post: when you’re emotional, when you’re tired, or when you’re making a joke about someone. Inside jokes or sarcasm don’t translate well on social media, or in professional life, for that matter.
Developing our pseudo character on social media may be easier than our inner character. Real character takes time and patience.
Character building helps us be proactive instead of reactive. If we have taken the needed steps in developing morals and setting priorities, we are less likely to have an impulse reaction when put in a trying situation.
We all know the saying, “it’s not what you know, it is who you know.” One day, the nerds at the college party will have jobs, maybe even top jobs, in your field. You will need to collaborate with them, retrieve information from them or even be interviewed by them for career advancement.
How awkward would it be to walk into an interview and the interviewer only remembers a sly remark or self-righteous attitude you displayed in college? How is that for a first impression?
After college, I moved to a neighboring state, with limited professional contact with my collegiate peers. Nine years later, I returned to my home state.
I was excited to reconnect with many peers in the agricultural communications sector; there are a few I’d rather not. What is my hesitation?
Maybe I didn’t include them as I should have in collegiate club meetings or committees. Perhaps my leadership was a bit too dominant and their last memory of me is taking charge and leaving them in the dust.
My point is while you are in college — actually your entire life — be nice. I am not talking the fake smile kind of nice. I’m referring to the genuine smile and concern for others. People can tell the difference.
We should do this to keep our moral compass in check, but it also will come in handy professionally when you are looking to make career advances.