Social Media and your personal brand

Social Media and your personal brand

This is an interesting topic that many probably have not thought about, but what does your profile picture on social media say about you?

Turns out, quite a lot. A huge body of research shows that humans have a weird ability to assess each other’s personalities from the quickest glimpses, which is one of the reasons why first impressions are so important and so lasting! Research shows that we no longer have to meet a person to do this, just a quick glance at Facebook, Instagram, or any pictures on social media will often do the trick.

Your profile picture may show that you are an introvert or an extravert, that you have a family, or own pets, and so on. It can also show the other side of you that you may not want your employer or potential employer to see.

This doesn’t stop with profile photos; this relates to your whole social media presence and the pictures you post – your personal brand. Just like a corporate brand that represents a business, a personal brand is a manifestation of ‘you’ on an individual level, but unfortunately not everyone can successfully pull this off.

Having a good personal brand takes time, it takes effort and it takes thought and planning. Profiles with no thought, probably exist just for fun and that’s absolutely fine, but be careful of the photos that you post or the photos that you are tagged in. Compromising photographs of wild nights out, or of you drinking, or of you exposing more skin than you really should, cancome back to haunt you.

In recruitment, we see it more and more that companies are doing their own background checks on potential new hires, in addition to formal references from previous employers, they are searching online and checking out your social media accounts to get a true sense of you as a person and who you actually are! We have had times when candidates have not been selected for interview because of their profile picture and a candidate whose offer was rescinded due to a photo that she posted of herself. The company who was going to hire her, saw this and knew that she did not have the same values as they did, and they didn’t want her working for them and representing them in this way.

So take the time to do an audit of your social media accounts, remove posts that could be perceived as unpleasant, posts where you may have complained openly about another person or company, and photographs that you wouldn’t feel comfortable showing your Granny. This is important to do, not just when searching for your new job, but it is about your personal brand. What would your clients or colleagues think about you if they saw your Facebook or Instagram accounts?