Social Media Makeover: 7 Steps

The term "personal brand" is becoming more commonly used than you might realize. A great way to look at it is like creating your own trademark. In your professional life you may think it's just enough to have a LinkedIn account and maybe be part of a network such as a Chamber of Commerce in your area. That's not enough, and no matter your age, there's a lot more involved in making yourself a desirable professional than you may have thought.

Have you Googled yourself lately?

This is the first question I ask anyone: Have you Googled yourself lately? If so, what did you find? The best answer is to find nothing which in turn means you have a clean slate to work with.

I'm going to explain how to position yourself and help you polish your reputation professionally by giving you my seven best tips. This will save you from the trial and error phase so please take note; then, take action.

#1 - Privatize all Personal Social Media Immediately

By privatise, I mean keep your accounts locked from public viewing. Accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and anything else you may have an account with. Even privatize all of your previous posts for pictures that date back to 2000... When someone gets a glimpse of your personal life, this can be interpreted incorrectly. Don't let a bachelorette night out with the girls – where everything is documented – be what makes or breaks your online professional reputation.

#2 - Imagine How You Want People to Envision You

This is quite important because you really need to think of what you want your reputation to be. How would you like to be seen? What type of words come to your mind? Perhaps you'd like to be edgy, cool, creative, fun. Alternately you may want to be taken seriously with a corporate type of look.

Once you narrow it down, creating the right type of look you want to achieve becomes a lot easier. I also suggest writing it all down on paper helps you visualise and keep you focused.

#3 - Write a List of Like-Minded People

While you're brainstorming, create another column for professionals in your industry who you see as the best at what they do. Use this to your benefit for you don't want to copy what they do or replicate the content that they post, instead you'll want to use their social media simply as a guideline for inspiration. Every industry has someone in the forefront that is on par with their social media.

Let's say you're in corporate business, I would recommend looking at someone like Barbara Cocoran. Alternately if you're in the fitness industry, you'll want to follow Ali Baldassarre. There is no harm in using someone who's an expert in there field being an inspiration!

#4 - Go Online and Study

Now you have an idea of who inspires you and what type of 'brand' you want to achieve. What you should avoid is overwhelming yourself with every type of social media out there. What you do want to do is study all of the accounts maintained by these leaders in your industry.

Start with your list and review these top five first:

  • LinkedIn

  • Facebook

  • Their own online webpage

  • Twitter

  • Instagram

Take notice of the quality of content; frequency of posting; and type of picture and filters used. What do you find? Consistency. This is something I'm still learning and researching every single day.

#5 - Get Your Best Photo

I recommend hiring a good photographer. If you are in a position to invest in good pictures then it will be worth your while in the long term.

Alternately I suggest downloading a good app like Facetune. When I received advice to download it – I did so immediately. The results, when you learn how to use it well, are excellent! Why not use this to your advantage while you're still an amateur photographer? If you have a new cell phone, most models have the capability to capture portrait photos. This is absolutely a feature that you can use to your advantage.

I do suggest having someone else take your picture for you if possible; either a sister; friend; husband, etc. It may take more than 20 photos before you get the perfect angle and clearest shot possible: Persistence is the key here.

Another pointer I can give is to keep your pictures as current as when you alter your hair color as well as cut. Have you ever seen someones picture on LinkedIn as long and blonde, then in person they cut it short and colored it black? Are you quite confused when meeting them in person? You don't always have to alert the world when you change your hair and profile picture; make sure you 'turn off' notifications if your hair is ever-evolving.

I always recommend keeping your attire in theme with the industry you work. For example if you are in the fashion world you will want to represent a modern fashionable look. Perhaps you are a real estate professional, in this case you'll brand yourself with a powerful suit in a neutral color, a clean hairstyle and neutral makeup. Now a makeup artist will style their hair and makeup according the the type of hair and makeup they do.

If you are unsure of how to look, the best-case scenario is to be neutral with the colors you wear such as black; beige; white; and cream. If you wear your hair out; have a slick or blown out hair style. Finish your makeup with a neutral palette and add a hint of matte lip color. This will work for practically any industry.

#6 - Update all of Your Profile Pictures

Now that you have successfully created a portfolio of professional worthy photographs, it's time to update your social media across the board. You don't want every profile picture to be the same: Make sure to keep them different. Think about it, what is each social media platform for? If it's your personal page on Facebook, a selfie may be okay; for your LinkedIn – a more corporate type of picture is best.

#7 - Request a Second Set of Eyes

I never just settle for my own opinion. This is because I'll never learn, grow and get better. And so I often take a poll of how people around me respond to the changes I've made, whether it be a work colleague; best friend; or even friend of a friend. It's always great to get constructive feedback. This is where you'll learn to improve and become better at creating your overall look.

If you receive great feedback then that's amazing! If you don't receive any praise, then it may be time to go back to the drawing board and start again with point number one.

Hopefully this article helps guide you in the right direction as to what type of personal brand you want to create. My final piece of advice: don't rely on anyone else to do this for you. It's time to catch up with today's online society and show that you're a true player in your industry that is a force to be reckoned with. That's the next step to becoming a "better professional".

By Janika LeMaitre