I was recently asked at a training session what social channels I’d recommend that people set up as part of their overall personal brand management.
There are a motherload of social media platforms and forums out there. How do you know which ones are right for you?
Well, the obvious answer is that you should “set up camp” in the communities where the people you want to know are already hanging out. Even if this is an obscure little corner of the social playing field, it’s your obscure corner and you should try to own it.
But beyond that, I’d recommend you consider three social forums as the new essentials to think about tucking away in your social media “wallet.”
1. You should have a LinkedIn profile like you should have a business card.
LinkedIn has quickly become the go-to place for making business connections and hiring decisions.
In fact, I’d venture to guess that in the future there won’t be any “resumes” as we’ve known them. Forums like this one will replace that need and serve as the professional clearinghouse for our vitaes, recommendations, kudos and professional updates.
This makes a lot of sense considering that people wear so many hats these days.
With multiple jobs, business ventures and freelance projects all in play, you need one place where you can say, “If you want to hire me, this who I am.” and store information on all those assets and skills.
So, if you haven’t yet, it’s time to set up your profile.
Don’t skimp on the details…
- Yes, you need a photo.
- Yes, you should fill out all of your professional experience.
- Yes, you should link to all of your existing business contacts.
This account will be a virtual monument celebrating your professional awesomeness. Make it a good one.
2. You should have a Facebook profile like you should have a driver’s license.
Facebook is the Wal-Mart of the web and I don’t think most people really grasp its size, pervasiveness and power.
Facebook is positioning itself to be THE central home for all of your online experiences. The seeds have subtly been planted across the Internet, from “Like” buttons popping up on most web properties to sites that allow you to log in using “Facebook Connect.”
And it makes sense, right? People are tired of setting up oodles of accounts and profiles and explaining yet AGAIN that they really like puppies, walks on the beach and watching Jersey Shore.
If your stuff is already loaded up somewhere and that account enables you to walk into any ole establishment on the Internet, well then you’re going to stay there.
And believe me, people have really moved into their Facebook homes — some of them horder-style — stocking their profiles with gobs of personal data and family photos.
So whether you like it or hate it, the fact of the matter is that Facebook is going to be with us for a while.
And, just as you use your driver’s license to get into a nightclub, check out a Rug Doctor from the grocery store and yes, drive a car, I think in the future your Facebook profile will be your “social ID” that lends you legitimacy wherever your Internet travels may take you.
3. You should have a Twitter account like you should have a key card to your hotel room.
I know what you’re thinking…”This metaphor has totally jumped the shark.” But, give me a moment to explain.
LinkedIn and Facebook are all well in good, but they are largely closed social networks. You need to know the secret handshake to get inside.
Twitter, on the other hand, is an open network. You can check into as many professional “rooms” within it as you like. Build a network of professional contacts, fellow hobby-lovers, friends and family — the choice is yours.
Twitter is your key to a treasure trove of information, connections, and engagement…should you choose to use it.
Like a hotel room, Twitter is not likely to be the place where the majority of people end up living, but it is the place where they’ll check into when they want to go on an adventure.
Plus, like a hotel room, with Twitter, your commitment is minimal. Set up a name, location and bio and you’re off and running. It’s the home base for the transmission of your social dialogue, not the home base for your social identity.
Call me naïve, but I believe that people are always going to be drawn to places like this on the web where they are free to do as they wish.
Like George Clooney’s character in “Up in the Air,” some of us will choose to live primarily in those spaces, collecting hundreds of key cards along our journey.
For you though, maybe one will be enough.
Just be sure to include that one key in your social wallet. You might not use it right away, but at least you’ll have it in your back pocket, ready for the day when you decide you want to open a new door.