By Published On: March 26, 2024

Put the coat down and back away slowly

In an era where our digital footprints precede our handshakes, it would seem like a no-brainer for every professional to have a social media presence. Yet many seasoned and emerging talents are still hiding in the shadows—like that guy in a trench coat mysteriously lurking in a damp back alley.

This blog is about changing that mindset. Wherever you stand in your career, whether you’re climbing the corporate ladder, side-hustling by night, or daring to go solo, not being on social media could be a career killer. Because if you’re not out there asserting authority in your industry or subject area, your competitors are.

If you’re resistant to posting on business-oriented social media platforms, consider this—your clients are yearning to know who they are dealing with. Faceless business transactions are no longer acceptable. The market yearns for personalization. When you post on social media and lend a persona to your professional profile, your clients will know you and start growing comfortable with you even before you ever meet them in person or on-screen.

This introductory exchange of values can’t be realized in any other way. It sets the tone for future interactions and gives prospects a sense of what it’s like working with you and your company. And it doesn’t have to require a communications degree. A mere ‘like’, ‘comment’, or ‘share’ on your employer’s company profile adds to your visibility and demonstrates your contribution to your company’s collective identity.

When it comes to advancing in your career or finding new job opportunities, your social media presence doubles as your brand. Future employers scour through profiles to find glimpses of smarts, skills, and personality traits that may blend into their company culture. Your online presence signifies you’re keeping pace with the shifts of your profession.

Think of social media as your personal press, where you publish not just what you do, but how you think and what you advocate for in your industry. It’s like the cover page on the curated magazine of your professional life.

Two sides of the coin

Despite our POV on this topic, the debate over the separation of personal and professional lives on social media rages on. On one side, the guy in the trench coat asserts that a distinct division is crucial for maintaining professional decorum and ensuring personal opinions or activities do not tarnish his professional image. His point is well taken as it underscores the potential risks of over-sharing or posting controversial content that could alienate clients, colleagues, or potential employers.

On the other side, we are arguing that integrating your personal elements into a professional profile can humanize you, making you more relatable and approachable to your audience. It adds depth to your professional persona, showcasing multidimensional traits and interests that can foster stronger connections and build trust. This approach advocates for authenticity and transparency, suggesting that professionals need not shy away from exhibiting personal facets, as long as they are presented thoughtfully and appropriately.

Navigating this debate requires a strategic balance, and encourage you to carefully curate your online presence in a manner that respects both your personal integrity and professional branding.

Now that we’ve convinced you…

Your LinkedIn profile is your digital ambassador. Think of it as a dynamic CV that narrates your career story, showcasing your expertise and ambitions. It’s also ripe for networking. Connect with industry peers by using targeted keywords, and don’t hesitate to reach out with personalized messages.

Interact with posts, attend virtual events, and consistently contribute thoughtful insights to discussions. Share achievements and celebrate milestones. Utilize hashtags strategically to maximize visibility and pin significant achievements to your profile for immediate impact.

All this activity creates an interactive and live portfolio that enhances your professional narrative and invites engagement. It’s a critical touchpoint for professional opportunities, so ensure it reflects your strengths and passions.

When it comes to your content, it’s all about balance. Share content thoughtfully, mixing industry news, personal insights, and a dash of personality. Ensure your profiles across different platforms tell a consistent story. While the tone might shift slightly from platform to platform, your core professional message should remain clear and coherent.

About those potential employers you’re aiming to impress down the road—they’ll want to see your professional achievements, as well as your proactive approach, your ability to stay relevant in a fast-paced world, and your knack for engaging with a community. This mix sends a powerful message that you’re doing more than just riding waves—you’re making them. And you’re ready to bring value, innovation, and a fresh perspective to their team.

A word about the P word

Your public perception is precious career capital, and social platforms provide the stage to sculpt it. A quick way to level-set is to Google yourself and see what comes up. If there’s anything that doesn’t align with the professional image you want to project, consider making it private or removing it. Use privacy settings to manage who sees what. While your profiles should reflect well on you, there’s also merit in keeping certain aspects private.

How’s the weather on the fence?

If you’re feeling tentative about jumping into the social media pool, you’re not alone. It can feel like a big, noisy place where it’s all too easy to feel overlooked or lost. Here are some tips for overcoming those hesitations so you can start making a splash…

  • Start Small and Focused: Don’t feel like you need to be everywhere all the time. Pick one or two platforms where your desired audience hangs out and start there. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and can dedicate more time to creating meaningful content.
  • Be a Genuine Participant: Engage with others’ content, join groups or forums relevant to your interests, and contribute to conversations. The more you participate, the more comfortable you’ll become.
  • Share Content That Excites You: If you’re passionate about what you’re posting, it’ll show, and others will respond to that energy. Start by sharing articles, insights, or projects that genuinely excite you, and your originality will shine through.
  • Forget Perfection: Many of us hesitate because we want every post to be flawless. But perfection can be the enemy of authenticity. It’s okay to make mistakes. It shows you’re human and makes you more approachable.
  • Set Personal Boundaries: Decide in advance how much time you’ll spend on social media and what type of content you’ll engage with. This will make it a positive and enriching part of your life, rather than a source of stress.
  • Celebrate Small Wins: Got your first like, comment, or share? Celebrate it with your team, your spouse, your kids, your dog. These small milestones are a big deal and signify your growing comfort and impact on social media.

Conclusion

Social media is no longer optional for professional development and personal branding, especially for individuals in business settings visible to clients. A thoughtful social media presence can be a significant asset in your current role and as you navigate future career moves.

Now go forth and be social. Because hiding in your living room is good for your dog, but not for your career.

About the Author: Beth Seitzberg

Beth Seitzberg
During her career crafting creative Beth has conceptualized, designed, developed, strategized and overseen the building of brands, campaigns, and creative platforms for large corporations as well as for dozens of regional and local companies in every sector including financial services, manufacturing, retail, medical, and non-profit. This range of experience with clients of all sizes has honed a specialization in brand management and application of master brand strategy across channels and tactics. With a background in psychology and sociology she brings both a researcher’s behavioral approach and an artist’s instinct to her work. Beth specializes in designing outstanding, strategic creative that ties into business goals and communicates the client’s message clearly and distinctly in their unique voice.
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