So you want to build your personal brand as an employee.
You’re trying to navigate the tricky field of professional social media. You want to be authentically yourself online, while staying within your company’s social media guidelines.
You’ve seen horror stories in the media about employees getting fired over TikTok videos. You don’t want that to be you!
Here’s exactly how to do it, from the people who empower employees to build personal brands every day.
Personal Branding 101, for Employees 👇
Check The Social Media Policy
The first thing to do is to check your company social media policy.
It might say you’re not allowed to post on social media.
It’s a very outdated approach, but unfortunately we do still see companies who do this.
If this is the case, you’ll have to demonstrate the value to leadership. Don’t worry, there’s some advice for you below.
The third scenario is that your company doesn’t even have a social media policy.
If that’s the case, they should probably should grab our free template 👀
Even if there’s no social media policy, it doesn’t mean you can post whatever you want.
3 Rules to Follow When Posting On Social Media as an Employee
1. Never post anything confidential on social media.
2. Be careful whenever filming or taking photos at work. Check what is visible on your desk or computer screen. Don’t post pictures or video of your colleagues without permission.
3. Remember that anything can go viral. You should expect the content you share to be viewed by your colleagues, clients, or boss. Keep this in mind before sharing!
Follow Brand Guidelines
Many companies will also have brand guidelines alongside a social media policy.
The brand guidelines typically cover design, including logo variations, colors, and fonts you can use when creating content about the company or products.
They might also have specific phrases or words to use, and what to avoid.
For example, some companies don’t allow the use of emojis for professionalism 😥
When talking about your work, the company, or products, be sure to follow these guidelines. Otherwise, your company may ask you to remove your post.
If can’t find any brand guidelines, ask your marketing team to point you in the right direction. They’ll certainly have a brand kit you can take a look at.
Demonstrate The Value
If your company is running an Employee Advocacy Program, or already encourages employees to post on social media, you’ll have no trouble with this.
If not, you’ll need to put forward your idea with leadership, and get their support.
Do this before you start building your personal brand in public. Otherwise, you could land yourself in trouble.
How To Get Leadership Buy-In
They need to know how your personal brand can benefit them.
If you want to build your personal brand, you’re likely to be thinking about how it can impact your career and bring exciting opportunities.
But have you considered that it benefits your company reputation too, and depending on your role, makes your job easier?
Here are some ways employees having personal brands on social media benefits businesses:
- Brand Awareness
- Talent Acquisition
- Showcases Company Culture
- Builds Trust With Prospects
- Generates Leads & Sales
Hit them with the stats 👇
If you work in sales, point out that 54% of decision-makers say they spend over an hour per day consuming thought leadership content (Edelman). If you’re active on LinkedIn, you’ll reach the right people.
If you’re a recruiter, here’s a big one: 79% of job applicants use social media when looking for a job (Glassdoor).
In marketing? 82% of B2B marketers report having the most success on LinkedIn.
Alleviate The Fear
One of the biggest fears employees face when building a personal brand is the fear that their manager will think they’re looking for a new job.
How to alleviate this?
Have a conversation. Explain why you want to do this, and what your goals are.
Your boss shouldn’t feel threatened that you want to build your influence, in fact they should be motivated to join you!
Showcasing expertise with thought leadership is one of the best ways to help your company reach business goals.
And it works even better when the content comes from senior leadership, because they’re likely to be influential figures already.
Besides, people trust people more than brands, so it’s more important than ever for the C-Suite to be active on social media.
Personal Branding Is Personal, BUT...
Personal branding is unique to you.
Even if you’re an employee!
One way many LinkedIn influencers make their profiles stand out is through their profile cover image. They use colors that match with their profile picture and graphics they create. Fonts are another popular choice to showcase a bit of personality.
As an employee, however, you may not be able to do this.
Many companies have social media templates for your cover image and profile picture, to maintain consistency.
That doesn’t mean you won’t have a personal brand though!
Personal branding isn’t just about visuals.
It covers tone-of-voice, the way you present content, your writing style, phrases you use…
Basically, it’s all of the elements that demonstrate your personality and expertise, combined.
The Goldilocks Zone
Consider how your company values align with your own.
What’s your company mission?
What corporate-social responsibility (CSR) endeavors do you participate in at work? For example, charity, sustainability, diversity and inclusion.
Finding the ‘Goldilocks zone’ between your own values and company values is key.
It’s all about striking a balance, because your personal brand is personal to you, but you are representing your company at the same time.
Besides, you’re likely to get bored very quickly when creating content that doesn’t feel like you. The last thing you want is to sound like a corporate robot!
The result? Authentic and professional content👌
Not Allowed to Post on Social Media?
This is the worst-case scenario.
Unfortunately, some companies aren’t receptive to employees posting on social media.
But it’s not game over.
You can still build your personal brand in other ways, even if you’re not allowed a public social media profile. It’s just significantly more limited.
Say yes to opportunities like networking events, or public speaking. Connect with the people you meet on LinkedIn.
Work for a large enterprise? Network internally!
Offer to mentor new hires. Speak up about things that matter to you. Organize charity events.
Keep in mind that attitudes towards social media are still shifting. Just because they said no now doesn’t mean they won’t change their mind!
Navigating social media as an employee can be scary at first, and the articles about employees losing their jobs over it don’t alleviate fears!
But now you know how to be professional on social media, and what to avoid doing. As long as you stick to the guidelines we’ve pointed out, you’re all good.
You’re ready to showcase the value to decision-makers in your business, gain leadership buy-in, then start building your personal brand.
The sooner you begin your personal branding journey, the sooner you’ll see the results you’re looking for.
It’s a win-win, for both your own career path, and driving business to your company.
Want to learn more about Employee Advocacy?
We can help with that! 👋
Join our weekly webinar on Mondays at 2pm UK time.
Prefer to jump right in?
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More Personal Branding Tips 👇