The average person spends two hours a day on social media, according to studies published by socialmediatoday.com. TWO. HOURS. So, if you’re not thinking about what your online profiles says about you, it’s time to start — a strong presence online can help you get ahead.
Each of your online profiles is an opportunity to show people who you are in the world, the impact you want to make and the connections and relationships you want to have. Plus, people are going to be drawn to the most authentic you portrayed through these touchpoints, so the more that you reveal about yourself in your online profiles in a way that’s authentic, the more credibility and trust you build with others.
Consider these five tips to help you communicate your most empowered self:
CREATE A SIGNATURE STYLE
Make sure all of the platforms you’re on have a consistent tone, energy and message. Think to yourself, if I look at all of my online profiles at once, will someone get a 360-degree picture of who I am? (Hint: You want that answer to be yes.) And don’t let your online profiles simply sit there! Check your profile picture, cover image and bio at least twice a year to confirm they still reflect the identity you wish to portray. Remember, as you evolve professionally, your profile and your presence should evolve, too. (I update mine at least twice a year.)
DOUBLE DOWN ON YOUR FAVORITE PLATFORMS
When it comes to showing who you are online, consider a quality-over-quantity approach. Take a moment to figure out which platforms align with you, then invest in those in a thoughtful, strategic way. For example, if you love curating beautiful feeds, consider dedicating more of your presence to Instagram. Or, if you’re great at writing, think about a profile on Medium. A few very strong online profiles are more important than a bunch of different ones that are not consistently maintained. That leads me to my next point…
DELETE THE ACCOUNTS YOU DON’T USE
People feel compelled to be on platforms, even if they never use them. I recently coached a client who was on LinkedIn, but didn’t have a picture or a filled-out profile. It left an impression that had nothing to do with who she is and what she’s capable of in her career. Instead, she was much more drawn to the About.Me platform, which allowed her to show off her business side but in creative way that aligned much more with who she is as a person (see below). The lesson? It’s better to delete the accounts that don’t “fit” with you, and invest in the platforms that feel right.
RECONSIDER YOUR PROFILE PICTURE
Think about the three words you want people to think when they look at your photo. Does your online profile picture give that impression? If the answer’s no, it’s time to get a new one. This came up recently with another client, whose profile photo did not show off who she was— or where she wanted to go in her career. So, we put together a Pinterest board of portraits that inspired her, and worked with one of her photographer friends to shoot her new profile picture for free. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so really think about what you want yours to say about you — then get it done.
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS ONLINE
We’ve all been there. In fact, it’s an innate human quality to compare yourself to someone else in order to establish your own value. That’s why it can be difficult to see someone with a big following and think, ‘This is what it’s going to take to get that.’ But those people already have those followings, so the chance of you being able to create traction and make an impact by recreating what someone else has already done are less than if you’re bringing something forward that’s unique to you. You’ll only stand out when you’re being yourself, not when you’re imitating others.
Ultimately, you want to show your whole self through your online profiles. The fact is, we live in a quick-to-judge world right now, with an endless stream of social media and platforms to check daily (including my former employer, Facebook!). But a strong online presence is a powerful opportunity to tell people who you are — and you get to control that message — so take advantage of it!
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