Beyond Simple Networking: 5 Ways Social Helps Build a Personal Brand

Build a personal brandYou may be new to social media. Or perhaps you’ve used Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to post personal updates… but not to deliberately build a more professional personal brand. And you may be wondering:

Is there more to social media than just networking?

Can social media really help me build a personal brand? Will social help me find and maintain a fulfilling career?

The answer to all of those questions is… yes!

Here are five ways social media helps build your personal brand and carve out a great career (and most of them have nothing to do with “networking”):

Social Proof

Read just about every resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile out there and you’ll see the same thing over and over: everyone is “passionate” about something.

  • “I’m a passionate business development professional.”
  • “I have a real passion for working with children.”
  • “Marketing isn’t just a job for me, it is my passion.”

The trouble? Like “detail-oriented”, “hard worker” and “team player” – “passion” has become a too-easy to say cliché. To set yourself apart, you need social proof. You need to show – subtly, of course – that you are passionate about a subject, career choice or industry.

Share a post from about social selling on LinkedIn. Show pictures of you working with children on Instagram. Share Seth Godin’s latest post on Twitter and Facebook. Do that consistently – just 4 or 5 times per week – and you will provide any employer plenty of social proof.


Without a doubt, social media is full of noise. Everyone with a keyboard and a blog is an expert. Everyone with a smartphone is a cameraman. Everyone with a GoPro is a YouTube god.

And yet within that noise is an immense amount of knowledge and experience. Want to learn how to plan a trade event? Google it. Want to learn the basics of HTML coding? Go to YouTube. Want to learn advanced Excel skills? Check out Coursera.

Learning, thanks to social and digital media, isn’t just limited to higher education. Working knowledge of almost anything, perhaps just enough to get you through that big job interview, is a Google search away.

Finding Mentors

One key to building a great career: building relationships with mentors who can keep you focused, shorten learning curves, and help you create solutions you didn’t know existed.

And where do you find these mentors? Social media.

LinkedIn Groups, Twitter chats, and Google+ communities are a goldmine of industry and career veterans ready to help you and your career. And all you have to do to get them interested is… ask good questions. From there, you can build a mutually-beneficial relationship – and a great career.

Creating an OPEN Circle

In the early days of social media, we focused exclusively on “networking.” We counted our likes, followers, and comments like they were dollar bills. Quality didn’t seem to matter… only quantity.

Today, though, the focus has changed to quality content, quality contributions and, yes, quality connections. Which is why those most successful on social media, as we point out in A World Gone Social, deliberately create OPEN (Ordinary Person | Extraordinary Network) circles.

What do I have in common with that person? Will this person see value in what I am sharing? Will I learn anything from them? Is this person a potential partner, collaborator or friend? Do they, once the relationship is built, have the capacity to refer me to others in their network… and can I do the same for them?

The OPEN mindset, rather than just collecting more connections, is how we grow our personal networks – and our personal brand.

Achieving “Relentless Giver” Status

As our OPEN circles begin to expand, we have an opportunity to earn status as a Relentless Giver – that person who shares consistently, goes out of their way to introduce others, and answers the call when friends need help. Simply put: on a global scale, they give before they take.

Relentless Givers are the pinnacle of social collaboration.

Everyone knows them for their good deeds, ability to connect like-minded individuals and their selfless support. Yes, this takes some work… but the rewards are well worth the effort. Why? Because when a Relentless Giver finally asks for help, everyone wants to reciprocate.

Need an introduction to an influencer? A lead on a new job? Launching a podcast or e-book? Your personal brand is well-respected… and your OPEN network is ready to assist.


Building an amazing brand through social media isn’t easy… and it doesn’t happen overnight. But with perseverance, consistency and a positive approach you can – and will – build the kind of personal brand coveted by employers.

So whether you’re just starting to build a personal brand on social media, or need to refine your current brand to be more professional… get started today, and get started the right way.


Mark Babbitt AuthorAbout the Author: CEO and Founder of YouTern, Mark Babbitt is a serial mentor who has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable and Forbes regarding job search, career development, internships and higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce. A keynote speaker and blogger, Mark’s contributions include Huffington Post, Bloomberg News, Switch and Shift, and Under30CEO.

AWorldGoneSocial 3D ThumbnailMark’s book, A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive (AMACOM), with Ted Coine is now available.

Questions? Contact Mark on Twitter.



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