RCC Spotlight: Growing your brand online with social media
Whether you mean to or not, you do have a brand. Amber Auger, MPH, RDH, lays out best practices for managing and making the most of your social media profiles.
Social media has an enormous impact on how we consume information, how we connect, and how we present ourselves to the world—including to our potential or current employer. A recent survey from Small Business Trends found that 90% of employers find social media a valuable resource when determining if a candidate is a good fit.1 Nearly 80% of HR professionals have denied a job to a candidate because of inappropriate social media content.1
If you’re not on social media, it might be challenging for you to stay relevant to your peers, patients, and employer—so you need to know best practices for your professional online brand.
What is your brand?
Whether you’re intentional about it or not, you do have a brand. It includes your image, mission, values, and vision.2 The first step to creating your online brand is to identify potential content and goals. For example, if you are looking to get hired, LinkedIn is the perfect social platform to market your services. To increase your visibility among LinkedIn’s 738 million users, you’d upload a high-resolution photo with a neutral background and solid color top, and highlight what makes you qualified for the role you want to attract. You can share the latest scientific information, connect with old classmates, and attract potential employers by sharing your resumé.
Different platforms for different purposes
Meanwhile, there are 2.7 billion people on Facebook, one billion on Instagram, 400 million on Pinterest, 100 million on TikTok, and two billion on YouTube. Each platform works differently and attracts different age brackets of active users. For example, if you are looking to become a dental software consultant, YouTube can be a suitable place for sharing videos that explain the software’s features.
Determine what social platform feels the most appropriate for your purposes. For example, if you feel overwhelmed by creating video content, then TikTok and YouTube may not be for you. Once you’ve created your account, identify what types of information you want to share. When commenting on others’ information, be supportive and positive, and ask follow-up questions. If you feel you must force yourself to comment on something in a nice way, just keep scrolling!
Be cautious—because content lives on
If you plan on sharing photos and content a patient or an employer could observe as inappropriate, don’t post it—or you can make your account private. Growing your personal brand on any social media platform can be exciting (and overwhelming) but unfortunately, any social media account is susceptible to negativity. Avoid posting profanity or engaging in an argument with someone online. Finally, always keep in mind that anything you post on social media can live forever, private or not and even after you delete it, because a viewer can screenshot any interaction.
How I’ve grown my brand
I have business pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. I share content on these platforms consistently, but my focus is on my Instagram, @amberaugerdh. I regularly share practical information and strategies for communicating with patients more effectively and improving time management, along with the latest developments in oral science. I also talk about my research assistant often—that would be my dog, Margo. I post this type of content to be informative and grow my brand; and also to avoid getting into “digital wars” about vaccines or politics, or turning my page into a list of complaints.
Social media will continue to grow in the coming years, so pick the platforms that will help you achieve your career goals. Remember that every single interaction we have on social media can live on forever. Every soundtrack, image, and caption reflect your brand, so choose wisely.
- Babu S. 90% of employers consider an applicant’s social media activity during hiring process. Small Business Trends. July 22, 2020. https://smallbiztrends.com/2020/05/social-media-screening.html
- Sprout Social. Social media demographics to inform your brand’s strategy in 2021. September 28, 2021. https://sproutsocial.com/insights/new-social-media-demographics/