Reinventing Your Professional Persona with Social Media

Unless you’ve been a career solopreneur, chances are you’re either working (or have worked) for someone else. What do you do when you want to start your own business, but your professional image is tied a little too closely to the role you played in another organization…a role that might not fully reflect your capabilities and services as a solopreneur?When going solo after a 17-year run as an employee for a telecommunications company, I faced that dilemma. Although my product development and project management skills are still important to my professional persona, they’re not at the core of who I am as a freelance writer. And I don’t want people to continue to think of them first when they see my name.How to get beyond that? Social Media.

Here are a few savvy ways social media can help you in the process of reinventing yourself:

  • You define who you are. Unlike a corporate job description, your social network profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, your blog and wherever else you have an online presence) are in YOUR control. YOU tell connections, fans, followers and plussers who you are and what you have to offer.
  • You can share to shape your identity. Social media gives you the power to position yourself as a SME (Subject Matter Expert) in your field. By finding informative, interesting articles and sharing them in posts, you demonstrate that you know your industry and are in tune with credible sources of information. (Tip: Stay consistent in theme. It’s OK to mix things up occasionally to add variety, but don’t confuse people. For example: I want to stay top of mind as a resource in the areas of writing, entrepreneurship, small business and leadership, so I keep the overwhelming majority of my posts focused there. I’ll sometimes toss out something about entertainment, world events, my pets…but not very often! That’s what my personal Facebook wall is for.
  • Add credibility with LinkedIn groups. Joining a few relevant to your industry gives your profile more clout – and they can connect you with some top-notch professionals. Keep up on the group discussions as much as possible and give your two cents when you have something of value to add. AND don’t be afraid to post questions when you need help in finding information. My experience with LinkedIn groups is that members truly enjoy sharing expertise and helping each other. Yes, even when they’re competitors!
  • Social media offers an extended reach that you can facilitate. By commenting and liking posts made by others in your networks, you make yourself visible to their contacts as well. It’s that open invitation to join any conversation that gives you the opportunity to make your professional persona known to a broader audience. Plus, your interaction builds good will with those you’re responding to – EVERYONE loves when someone likes or engages with their posts. And they’ll be more inclined to offer comments to and approval of your posts in return.

It takes effort (a lot of it!) to establish a new identity via your online channels, but nothing can give you more of a fighting chance to succeed than social media’s reach and influence.

What other ways have you used social media to reinvent yourself?

Dawn Mentzer is a solopreneur, freelance writer & author of The Insatiable Solopreneur™ blog. Connect with her on: Facebook  | Twitter | LinkedIn | Google+

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One response to “Reinventing Your Professional Persona with Social Media

  1. Pingback: How to Reinvent Your Personal Brand | Bach Seat

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