I’m an independent web developer specializing in Java, PHP, and MySQL. How can I use social media to build my personal brand?
As a techie, whether you are working independently or employed by a company, social media can help you professionally in a number of ways, including the following:
- Becoming known as a thought leader in your technical area
- Make contacts that can help you sell your services and/or find a job
- Enhance/expand your technical knowledge via online dialog with other techies
- Get assistance technically by posting questions on technology oriented discussion boards
There are a number of things that you can do to help realize these advantages. They are:
- Answer questions listed on technical discussion boards. This helps you showcase your technical ability and your willingness to provide value as part of the online community.
- Concentrate all of your social media activities within a single technical area. As counterintuitive as it sounds, it’s easier to get work as a specialist than it is as a generalist. This is the case, because in a competitive market, people look for the best person they can find in a given technology. This puts a specialist over a generalist almost every time.
- Tweet insightful technical ideas in your area of concentrated specialty. These tweets should be related to questions you answered on the technical discussion boards. Writing this material takes time. Therefore, with this technique of write then tweet, you get double benefit.
- If it’s still available, get your name as a website domain. For example, in addition to my company’s URL www.ManagerMechanics.com, I also have the URL of my name. If your name is taken, don’t be discouraged, be creative. My first and last name was taken. Apparently the name Eric Bloom is also rather musical (except of course for me), because the lead singer of a rock band I loved as a kid, Blue Oyster Cult, is also named Eric Bloom. Therefore, I added my middle initial and the URL www.EricPBloom.com was born. Use this website to showcase your technical knowledge. This will further connect your name with your area of technical concentration.
- Write a blog, again concentrating on your chosen technical specialty. Within this blog, however, feel free to discuss other technical topics that relate to your technical specialty. This widened discussion within your blog, will help show your versatility and in time, may potentially allow you to expand your repertoire.
- Follow and retweet technical tweets you like of other people within your technical concentration. This will add to your reputation as a thought leader, help you develop a personal network of likeminded professionals, and with luck, they will begin retweeting your tweets as a thank you.
In closing, I just want to say that while social media is a great way to grow your personal/professional brand, don’t ignore the incredible value of face-to-face discussions with likeminded people at professional associations, technical conferences, and other professional minded organizations. The combination of face-to-face and PC-to-PC (social media) can be an unbeatable combination.
If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.
Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to grow.
Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.