“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” — Oscar Wilde

It’s not always easy to “be yourself,” especially when it comes to social media. After all, the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram provide the tempting opportunity to be whoever we want to be.

Social media allows us to show off our shiniest personality traits and hide the bits we don’t want the world to see. When it comes to your career that’s not a bad thing. After all you don’t need to broadcast the fact that you have a fear of public speaking or struggle to meet deadlines (especially if your colleagues or superiors regularly see your posts)!

There’s nothing wrong in using social media to promote yourself — we all have our own “personal brand” and can use the many online platforms to illustrate our finest points. However, that brand should be fashioned around the real you — your core personality and beliefs.

Creating a whole new persona can be an attractive option, we can go so far as to reinvent ourselves online — hands up who’s ever had a hankering to be smarter, funnier, richer etc. Social media can make this possible, on the surface at least — but scratch that surface and you are still you! You might not think it’s possible for people to permeate your shiny exterior, but they can. Many people are able to spot an imposter, as it’s difficult to stay in character when you’re merely playing a part.

Being yourself is much more sustainable and we’re guessing you’re a good egg, so why pretend to be someone else?

Showcasing the Best Version of Yourself

The answer? Be yourself — but showcase the best version of yourself that you can muster. This might mean keeping certain things to yourself (such as your worst flaws and any outlandish opinions). You don’t have to debate every point; you don’t have to share every thought and you don’t have to recount your day in minute detail. When it comes to social media complete honesty is not always the best policy!

That said, lying is not the way to go either. Just be a little economical with the truth, oversharing is not the best way to promote yourself. Instead, think about the image you are trying to portray, and marry this image with your true nature.

What are you good at? What do you enjoy? What do you believe in? Let your qualities, knowledge, skills and experience shine through via social media.

Crafting Your Strategy

Creating a social media strategy may sound a little contrived, but it’s not just large corporations that consider their approach before posting. You too can woo your followers! Your online presence should demonstrate that you are approachable, trustworthy and consistent.

Transparency is key if you want to gain the trust of those reading your posts. It’s ok to reveal your vulnerabilities (people like to know you’re human) but you don’t have to go to town on your faults and shortcomings. Make it evident that you understand you aren’t amazing at everything, but exhibit your willingness to climb hurdles and overcome obstacles.

Improving your online presence isn’t all about you, it also involves taking notice of what others are saying. Your opinion certainly counts, but so do the views and ideas of others. Joining conversations, valuing others feelings and offering insight shows you have empathy and can also result in lots of new followers.

Interaction is vital, link up with like-minded people. If you have a passion or interest social media is the perfect place to show off what you know. Interested in new technology? Connect with fellow techies, comment on their posts and start new conversations. Enjoy indulging in the latest trends and styles? Bond with other followers of fashion as you drool over the latest Louboutins. Treat each social media platform as a place to make new friends and influence people and aim to provide value.

Make sure your presence is worthwhile, there’s no point in turning up at the party if you’re just going to skulk in the corner.

What Social Media Can do For You.

If people like the real you, the chances are that they will take notice of what you have to say, and this can open all sorts of doors. We’re talking personal doors and professional doors — don’t underestimate the power of social media. A savvy platform user can further his or her career by networking and using their online presence to prove what an asset they could be.

Put your efforts into building your reputation, creating meaningful relationships with others and reinforce who you are and what you can do. You’re not going to please all of the people all of the time, and you may come across the odd negative comment (there are plenty of naysayers in the world — especially online)! Don’t let that put you off, keep it real and be yourself.

Remember — social media doesn’t need to be a warts and all experience, think before you post if you want to open doors and further your personal life and career.

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