Personal branding for career success
Personal branding for career success

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Personal branding for career success

5 Raising the profile of my online brand at work

You’ve explored a variety of different online tools and it is clear to see how they might be used to raise your profile in the wider world. But what will work best if you want to raise your online profile in your current workplace?

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Figure 5 Boosting your brand

While at work, your personal brand will often be communicated through your face-to-face interactions with colleagues and managers.

You’ll look at communicating your brand effectively in person in Week 7, but building an online profile with colleagues can also be a useful way to share elements of your brand that they might not see in your day-to-day interactions.

For example, starting a blog that discusses topics that are close to you and your colleagues’ hearts will raise your profile and give you an opportunity to share your thoughts and views in a different way.

If any of your colleagues already have a blog, or write for a departmental blog, you could share your ideas for posts, offer to guest blog or simply comment on the posts you read. This would be a good way to slowly build your voice without the responsibility of running the blog yourself!

If your department produces an online newsletter you could offer to write short articles for that. Even sending a thought-provoking email to key people suggesting improvements to a particular project or asking key questions can be a useful way to raise your profile and show others you are committed and engaged.

You’ll probably find that many of your colleagues are already on LinkedIn. If you connect with them, that will give you access to their connections, some of whom might be interesting contacts for you.

When inviting people you don’t know to connect with you on LinkedIn, it is always better to ask a mutual connection to make an introduction. People are more likely to accept your invitation if the connection comes via someone they know.

Once you’re connected, you can comment on their posts or message them directly to introduce yourself.

For the same reason, you shouldn’t accept invitations from everyone who invites you to link with them – they may just want access to your contact list. Also, your network will be more useful to you if the connections are relevant and can add some value to your professional life.

Self employment

If you’re self-employed, then raising your profile online has a double advantage. People find out more about you and get to understand your personal brand, but you can also leverage that awareness to develop and sell your products or services.

Once you have an engaged target audience, you can devise your ‘call to action’ – inviting them to buy your products or expertise.

An example of someone who has carefully crafted their Facebook presence to do just that is copywriter Gayle Johnson from Red Tree Writing. Watch this short video to see how she has successfully built a community of potential clients.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 4 Gayle Johnson - Profile
Skip transcript: Video 4 Gayle Johnson - Profile

Transcript: Video 4 Gayle Johnson - Profile

Gayle Johnson
For me, I decided that I would rather do one platform well rather than spread myself thinly over several platforms. And for me, I chose Facebook. So I spend a lot of time in the Facebook environment. I have a Facebook page that I set up.
And it felt so daunting, I have to say, setting it up. I felt like I was exposing myself to the world. And then I launched this thing and not very much happened. I thought OK, I could take a few risks here.
So I use that Facebook page to really start conversations, interestingly. It's not primarily a selling tool for me. The selling happens, but first of all, it's about building a relationship and it's about building connections.
So on that Facebook page, I share little snippets of what I'm doing. I share little snippets of behind the scenes at my work, some good news about my clients. And every so often I will throw in an offer or an invitation to work with me, but that's not primarily how I use that page. It's more about letting people into my world, I suppose.
And it goes back again to this belief I have that people are people, so by using social media to just be yourself and get allow people to see a little glimpse of what you're like and what you might be like working with, I think it helps them build trust in you. It helps them get to know you. And they can make the decision to buy from you if they need to. And that certainly worked for me.
But then I found what's been even more powerful is setting up a group. So I have a Facebook group now which isn't huge but it is pretty active. And that really has built a sense of community around what I do. So the people in there, they share their kind of issues and tips to do with my work, which is about writing. They ask me questions. They share what's going on in their day. And they've kind of built up networks and friendships with each other too as a result of that.
And that, I have to say, is probably where I get most of my business from. And again, I don't spend a lot of time advertising in there. Every so often, when I have events running. Or if I have an offer, I will make that clear to people. But mostly, it's about building that community.
So when people think they need someone who does what I do, I'm the first person that comes to mind. And they know me, and they must like me because they're still in the group, and they trust that I can do what I say I'm going to do because I kind of throw in bits of evidence. I throw in successes from my other clients, that sort of thing. And that's how work seems to have grown very organically really.
End transcript: Video 4 Gayle Johnson - Profile
Video 4 Gayle Johnson - Profile
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Activity 5 Engaging your target audience

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Consider the platform you identified in Activity 4. Is there anything you can take from Gayle’s experience that will help you to develop your approach further?

Even though she is speaking from a small business perspective in the video, what she says about relationship building is applicable in a variety of contexts. Think about who you might want to build a relationship with in order to enhance your career.

Note your ideas in the box below.

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Discussion

Rather than using social media as a tool to simply sell what you have to offer, Gayle talks about starting a conversation and building relationships. These connections can grow into opportunities or provide you with evidence that will demonstrate your commitment to, or knowledge and expertise in, a particular subject.

When you start to think about the content you want to share, Gayle has this advice:

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 5 Gayle Johnson - Profile Advice
Skip transcript: Video 5 Gayle Johnson - Profile Advice

Transcript: Video 5 Gayle Johnson - Profile Advice

Gayle Johnson
I would say choose one or two platforms and go for those. Don't worry. I get very overwhelmed thinking about all the things I could be doing on social media. And I would say to anybody, do a few things well rather than try and keep lots of balls in the air and juggle them all.
I would then say, as much as possible, let people into your world. And that world can be- you don't have to overshare, that world can be curated. I don't think there's a conflict between showing people the bits that are relevant to them with being authentic. I think there's a way to do both. Your audience doesn't need to know everything about you. They just need to know the bits that are going to help them build a connection with you. So think about how you can be human online. Don't use it as purely a selling machine because honestly I think the sales will happen organically if it's a business that you're building.
And I would also say don't be afraid to share your opinions and share your expertise. So I've said be very human, and I share pictures of my cats all the time, but I would also say do share tips, share questions, invite people to interact with you. Social media really works best as a conversation. So if you can use your page or your Twitter feed or whatever it is you're going for to invite people to interact, that builds a much stronger link than if you're constantly putting out adverts for your latest product or service.
End transcript: Video 5 Gayle Johnson - Profile Advice
Video 5 Gayle Johnson - Profile Advice
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