Flash Communications

Tales from a student-PR agency at Kent State University

Social media and personal branding from a college student’s perspective

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Junior PR student, Bryan Webb, shares a few tips on personal branding from a college student's perspective.

Junior PR student, Bryan Webb, shares a few tips on personal branding from a college student’s perspective.

Ever since MySpace surfaced when I was in middle school, I have been an avid social media user. I can’t quite figure out why social media intrigues me so much, but it certainly has something to do with the networking aspect of it.

I’m a person who likes to get out, meet new people and take advantage of professional opportunities as they arise. I haven’t always been like that, but networking through social media – and in real life – has helped me gain confidence and, more importantly, experience in what I want to spend my post-graduation life doing.

Immediately when you network through social media, you begin to build a personal brand. That is, your online presence (whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or blog sites) is the beginning of your mark and reputation.

I’m sure I’ve had my fair share of regrettable Tweets between eighth grade and now. But building a personal brand on Twitter requires young adults, like me, to be very conscious of what we send out to the world.

The most fascinating aspect of this whole social media and personal branding craze, to me, is Twitter. I’ve had my account since 2006, so I’ve seen the website come a long way with the addition of retweets, hashtags and mentions.

I have written for multiple publications thus far in my college career, and I have learned many things. Although I am no expert, I came up with three things you could be doing with your Twitter account to maximize your personal branding:

  1. Use hashtags.
    People, and especially companies, search specific hashtags on Twitter multiple times a day. Look at some professional and company accounts to see how they are using hashtags. Hashtags are also commonly used for live-tweeting and tracking live events, although there are a few cons to live-tweeting. Be careful not to overuse hashtags, though. I’ve always gone by the rule of three, maximum, per tweet.
  2. Mentions are key.
    I write for Black Squirrel Radio, and over the summer I made a list of “Ten Country Songs You Should Be Listening to This Summer.” I tweeted the article out to every artist on the list and, by doing that, I got a reply and retweet from one of the artists. Avid fans also search Twitter for mentions of their favorite artists. That list ended up being my most viewed article of the summer. Most companies also check their mentions and sometimes engage in conversation with their followers. (You may even get a new follower from it.)
  3. Tweet links and information about your desired industry.
    This is something potential employers may be looking for, and it shows them that you’re dedicated to what you want to do. It also shows that you’re in-the-know of what’s happening in your industry. And who knows, you might be able to Tweet your way to your next job.

As a junior in college, I still have a lot to learn about personal branding and utilizing social media in the most effective ways. Getting a head start, though, never hurts and I believe that you can always learn more.

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Author: LukeArmour

Luke Armour is the Coordinator of Flash Communications, managing this bright student intern PR agency housed in Kent's University Communications & Marketing. He's also an Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University.

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