BernieBorges.com Blog: Social Media and Web Marketing
Design Matters in Your Personal Brand
Design of Your Social Networking Profiles Influences Personal Brand
One of the two most sought after talent categories in tech are designers. If you’re a designer you’re gainfully employed with a very bright future. The demand for designers likely will continue to accelerate in the years to come. For the rest of us that are not designers, we can learn a valuable lesson from this trend and take action in our career journey.
Design Makes a First Impression in Your Personal Brand
It is well known that people form an impression in the first 30 seconds upon meeting you in person. Such an impression is made by three factors; your attire, your verbal communication and your non-verbal communication through posture, hand shake, the way you sit or stand, the way you look at the other person, etc.
First impressions online are very similar except they occur in less than 10 seconds! When someone first encounters you online how does the design of your personal brand create a first impression? The answer to this question will vary according to where you have a first encounter. A first impression on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest can be very different.
So how can you ensure you make a desirable first impression in your social networking?
Personal Brand Consistency
Don’t leave first impressions to pure chance. You must start with the goal of your personal brand. Define your goal by assessing where you are now in relation to your career journey. Then, make sure you align all your social networking activities, including their design, around your goals.
Social Networking Myths
Don’t believe that you can build a different personal brand on LinkedIn than on Facebook. The myth that only your closest friends will see you flipping the bird on Facebook is just that – a myth. Your social networking footprint is not private. In fact, no matter what you’re privacy settings are on Facebook, your digital footprint is public. Don’t kid yourself.
Unique Personal Brand Design Guidelines for Each Social Network
Take the time to design your personal brand social networking profiles.
The recent Timeline model in Facebook gives you several easy ways to design your personal brand. The poster image is the biggest and most prevalent image you can publish to support your personal brand on Facebook. Additionally, the profile picture in the lower left allows you to display a photo. Feel free to be more casual with this photo compared to LinkedIn. Just remember to align with your personal brand goals.
Choose a Twitter design that fits your personal brand. Twitter gives you 160 characters to write a bio or description. Use each of those characters carefully to create a first impression. Use free Twitter designs or fee based Twitter designs in the background of your Twitter profile to support your primary personal brand goals.
Since Pinterest is now ranked the #3 most popular social networking site, I’ll address it in the same order. Pinterest gives you a header area where you can display a photo and a short bio or description. You can also link your other social networking profiles. The most compelling way to design your personal brand on Pinterest is by the boards you create and the images you pin to them. Create boards that align with your personal brand goals. Remember that Pinterest is totally public. Any image you pin to Pinterest is available to anyone even if they are not on Pinterest. You can do more damage to your career journey by pinning images that run counter to the career path you seek. If you’re an active job seeker, you should create a digital resume on Pinterest.
In LinkedIn the primary design element is your photo. Choose a recent photo in a business or business casual setting. Don’t use a picture with your kids or your dog in LinkedIn. Reserve those pictures for Facebook. Choose a picture that represents your personality in a professional context. Design your LinkedIn profile headline carefully. While they’re just words, the words you choose contribute to that first impression. Your career summary should be well written and easy to skim to get the highlights. When your LinkedIn profile is easy to skim in less than 30 seconds you can create a positive impression, and your LinkedIn profile design is working in your favor.
The rule of thumb in Google+ is similar to all of the above. The same guidelines apply when you post photos in your Google+ profile and status updates with links to articles and images.
Personal Brand Design Matters
The fact that designers are in such high demand reflects the prolific culture of today’s digital communication across our personal and professional lives. More than anything, I hope you are keenly aware of the importance of design in your personal brand and that you’ve taken (or will take) steps for a design that suits your career journey goals. You don’t need to have access to a designer to design your personal brand. But, if you want help from a designer, consider tapping into your local universities. You’ll probably find a talented design student willing to help you for free in return for the opportunity to add design samples to his or her portfolio. If you have other suggestions on this subject, please add them below.
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