You have heard of employers interviewing candidates from across the country through video, and students tweeting links to their portfolios to employers. The modern, digital world is moving fast, and it’s changing the rules for employers and job seekers. Same goes for those who give career advice to professional and student job seekers, too.
Whether it’s news, the latest music video, or an answer to a burning question, most of today’s information is accessed online. People search for answers 5,922,000,000 times each day on Google alone.
It seems fit that counselors should also hang out in the realm where questions are asked, developing their own online place to help do what they do best — advise others. One of the best ways to do this is through becoming an online thought leader, using a blog and social media to build a personal brand.
This helps you relate to those whom you advise; chances are, they are on social media trying to establish a following, too. If not, they may need to get out there for the sake of networking for a career.
Here are some tips for building your personal brand through today’s online tools:
Guest writing for various online publications can help you establish credibility as a thought leader. Within some guest articles, you may be able to link to your blog or website, generating exposure for your brand. If you really don’t have time to maintain a regular blog, guest blogging is the perfect opportunity to still be seen as a thought leader.
To find guest blogging opportunities, first check groups on LinkedIn or Twitter for posted opportunities. Scope out existing blogs that cover relevant topics to which you’d like to contribute, or perhaps your colleagues, friends, or online connections have blogs for which you can ask to be a contributing writer. Additionally, online publications like The Huffington Post, Forbes, and Daily Muse allow contributing writers to submit posts, just check the posting guidelines first.
If you choose to manage your own professional blog, you may also offer students to contribute to your blog as a guest writer.
With 73 percent of people using social media, counselors can easily become thought leaders by growing a following through social media. With so many channels out there, you may not have the time to develop and maintain a presence on all of them, but you can still choose a few to maintain well.
One technique of gaining followers on virtually every social channel is to first follow others who show interest in your industry. Follow your target audience — job seekers, HR professionals, or whomever you think would benefit from the information you post. Follow other career counselors and learn from the techniques they use to engage their audience.
To get people talking to you, comment on content of those you follow. As your followers grow, post interesting and relevant content to engage them in conversation, such as links to interesting articles and your guest and personal blog posts. Balance industry topics with timely, popular information. Ask questions, and encourage others to share their opinions.
No matter how brilliant or insightful, lines and lines of text alone can get boring after a while. Break up the text a little by including multimedia and visual elements throughout your social media channels and blog. Post “how to” videos and video interviews with opinion leaders covering buzzworthy topics. Make creative memes to illustrate a career-related scenario. Every once in a while, throw in a relevant, yet hilarious photo.
Studies show website visitors stay an average of two minutes longer when they view a video, and are 64 percent more likely to purchase a product. Now, as a counselor you may not sell products, but in a sense, you do “sell” your personal brand; multimedia elements can increase the value of your content to your audience.
To stay above water in this digital wave, career counselors are going to have to build their personal brands online, if only to teach those they mentor to do the same. Building a personal brand and network gives job seekers the competitive advantage they need to get a dream job. If you can achieve success through this yourself, you can lead others to do so as well.
What are some other ways you can build your personal brand as a career counselor?