InsightsPOSTED May 31, 2014

How to be smart about using social media for personal branding

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I’ve always been one to embrace social platforms, going as far back as my high school days, chatting with friends on ICQ or sharing my teenage angst on Livejournal.Yet, I’m still very shy.

I like to organize parties, events or be on engaging on social platforms but I don’t like to be the centre of attention.  I’m not and never want to be Kim Kardashian. I don’t want my personal life being front page news or gossip, and there are some things I just want to keep to myself. Although, if you don’t know: my favourite food is Poutine and I love playing Catan and Euchre.

In the spirit of growing, this month at APEX our team was challenged to try something new and push ourselves.  There is a huge benefit to having a great network of contacts and building your own personal brand.

So for me, I chose to be more social media confident, less conservative and tried to really emphasize our talent here at the agency. I have many very talented and social friends here in Toronto that get noticed frequently online or speak at events and have been doing really well professionally – but I never really put myself out there to showcase how talented and experienced I am.

This month, I took the leap and just did it.

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Here are a few things I took away from the experience.

Share relevant local and professional news: The world of PR and social media is constantly evolving and shifting. Over the last month, I made a conscious effort to read and share articles and posts that were relevant to my work, but also provided interesting insights on my personal interests of including beauty, film and music. I found Feedly very helpful in finding the most important articles and sharing them directly on my Twitter feed.

Share those great, positive moments – professionally and personally: Whether it’s great feedback on a project, meeting a new client, sharing a team moment or posting pictures with friends  – share and be proud of what you’ve accomplished. I personally found this hard to do – as I don’t want to be the person who is a “braggart”. As those people on my social media feed bug me! However, I’m getting better at finding those picture worthy moments.

Avoid negativity or brand conversations that could affect new business opportunities: We all get frustrated at times by brands or corporations when things feel unjust. Try to have these conversations offline or just take a breath and forget about it. As much as I wanted to share a brand experience during this month – it still felt wrong and not worth sharing.

Selfies, it’s not you, it’s me: There are some days when I’m very put together and a great selfie is needed. However, there is no way I can do an #OOTD (outfit of the day) every day. I’m just not that stylish and I frequently wear the exact same outfit.

Overall, I think I pushed myself to embrace the best of social media, but not get trapped in the social game of it. I love my city, my job, my clients and my friends and hopefully you’ll hear more from me.

Katie Boland is a Senior Consultant at APEX Public Relations. Follow her on Twitter.

Check out more posts from our Push Yourself blog challenge: