erica geller

corporate communications and public relations student at centennial college.

this blog discusses social media, personal brands, and how you can link the two. my personal brand is being built right now, this is the process. facebook / twitter / linkedin

this blog is for professionals, students, and any PR enthusiasts. check out the blog tag for my musings.
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So you’re still around, I see. How did things go after school? After you finished Carleton, after you finished Centennial. Did things pan out in your favour? Did you get a good job out of your internship?

As I sit here in class, I’m honestly wondering. Throughout the years I was in school post high school, people always asked me what communications is. How you make a career out of public relations. My number one hope for myself at 40 is that I was able to prove them wrong. Not that they doubted me, they just doubted the career. They didn’t know what was in it for me, what my future would hold. I can only hope that now, I am able to confidently speak about what I’ve made myself in to after this program. How I’ve been able to take all this education, all this work, and all these contacts, and spin it into a way to make a good living. 

When I was younger, that age old “what do you want to be when you grow up” question wasn’t easy for me. I didn’t want to be a ballerina like most girls around me. I always knew what I wanted. I wanted to be a teacher, I wanted to be a actress. I wanted to be a doctor, I wanted to be a police officer. No matter how many times I changed my career goals, I always had one that was firm, that was set. Unlike everyone else, I worked hard for them. However, none of those panned out. I couldn’t be a doctor - I’m terrible with math and science. I couldn’t be an actress because really — how realistic is that?

Thinking back on all these career aspirations I’ve had in the past, it constantly leaves me wondering which one actually panned out. Only the future Erica can answer this. 

In keeping with a personal brand, I feel like throughout my teens and early 20s, I was branded by those around me. I was the girl who went to a lot of concerts, the girl who loved boybands and loved meeting celebrities. Every time there was an event, a film festival, an award show - I was there. So what did I do? I embraced it. I uploaded photos, I tweeted, I blogged. I made it something that I enjoyed, and I decided that I could find something that I could take with me, and spin into my future.

Then, I found public relations. The publicity, the entertainment industry, planning and attending events - it was all something I really was excited about. So, then beganmy schooling. Throughout the whole thing, i was constantly wondering what the future would hold. This is such a broad industry, you can really do so much with it. 

Did all those years of schooling for public relations pan out? Let’s hope so. I finally found something that I feel I was suited for. The publicity aspect was something that I was always looking for, deep down, and I can only hope that I continued down this road.

Through all the education and information we are receiving in our time at Centennial, there is a lot to take in. We’ve been introduced to many topics and ideas, in classes ranging from copy editing to business, graphic design to communications management, social media, and more. Over the year we were introduces, as I said, to a lot of new material that was all very interesting and relevant to take forward with us in our futures in the industry. However, I think the most relevant piece of information that I have personally collected over the year was something that wasn’t taught straight up, but something that has to be uncovered for ourselves while we soak in all this new material. That idea is the idea of a personal brand.

I know this entire blog has been about a personal brand, how to make one, and how I’ve been going about creating mine, but this takes it to another level. How can I go about not only maintaining the personal brand I’ve started creating for myself over the past couple of years, but how to adapt it to the ever-changing career world I am about to enter. How can I take all this information I have developed about myself, all these social media platforms I am creating and maintaining for myself, and this reputation I am looking to create, and keep it with me as I grow in the field?

The important use of these social media platforms I’ve created profiles on will remain the same. Facebook will be used to maintain ties with friends, classmates, and colleagues. It will be a place I can both be myself with my friends, and work to maintain a relationship with people that may help advance my career in the future. Twitter can be used to relay interesting articles, information, and thoughts. Twitter is slowly becoming the largest platform on the web for sharing information amongst peers, and I think it will remain very useful in the future, both in professional and personal life. I will work hard to maintain my LinkedIn page, to ensure everything remains updated and people can see what I have to offer at any given point. Recommendations, friends, and colleagues will also appear there to help show my past experiences.

This article, “Personal Branding 101”, was very useful. It dealt with not only how to create your brand, but how to go about DISCOVERING who you are as a person, and mold your brand to best suit these characteristics and future goals.

Overall, I believe that amongst clothing and style choices, the job you hold, and how you carry yourself - the most important part of anyone’s personal brand is the way they appear on their social media platform accounts. These accounts are very indicative of who you are as a person, and what you are looking to do with your life. This program was very useful in this sense. Not only to learn necessary information to continue on in this field, but to create this name for myself that will hopefully remain in tact in the future, and benefit me in the long run when I’m looking for work.

A personal brand is just that - would you be interested in learning more about YOU?

While on the subject of a personal brand, I got to wondering about how I would be able to portray myself outside of a social media platform. Just from a first look, an initial handshake, or a passing on the street - how can you make yourself stand out? With the internet and all the platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc., you’re able to showcase anything from your creativity to your humor, your interests to your skills. However, with a quick handshake in a boardroom, none of that is relayed. Everything that is relayed, unfortunately, comes from how you look, dress, and carry yourself.

I realized recently that my wardrobe was very “university student”. Filled with sweatshirts, jeans, and tank tops, I quickly decided that I needed a change. I needed to start changing out my slip-on shoes for pumps, my sweatshirts for blazers, and my tank tops for blouses. Recruiting the help of my mother and my friends, I found many stores that may carry my size, and I went on the hunt.

Through this search, I realized something. Clothing can not only make you look better, or look the part, but it can make you FEEL better, and FEEL the part. With a suit on, some high heels, some nice earrings, I really began to feel like I could go out and conquer the world, instead of just learning about the logistics of it in the classroom every day. The clothing, for some reason suddenly made everything real.

Clothing reflects not only your professionalism, however, but it reflects all those things that you find on social media. It can be an outlet of your personality, your interests, your values. The humor, interests, skills and creativity can all be broadcasted through your clothing choices. This is another reason why clothing is so important.

You can really understand how important of a role clothing makes in choices when you ask about the dress code for a job. (Depending on your personal preference), a workplace that says you can come in jeans and sneakers every day may seem like the best news you’d ever heard. Your personal brand will reflect the work place and the clothing in this respect, but if this is your chosen workplace, it becomes a part of your personal brand.

Social media also reflects how important clothing can be. There are thousands of websites, Twitter accounts, YouTube “gurus”, etc. that specialize in workplace attire, and how to show off who you are and what you strive for through the clothing you choose to put on in the morning.

Now, how does this relate to personal brand, social media, and the professional field? Simple. Your personal brand can be seen in the blink of an eye by your choice of clothing, your attributes that you constantly allude to all over the internet can become exposed. Pretty impressive for a simple blazer or pair of jeans, isn’t it?

Facebook is a very interesting tool in the world of public relations right now, for a couple reasons. Firstly, it goes along with the issue of having a personal brand. Facebook is an enabler of having a space to post your own content, photos, and receive comments from other users. With Facebook, it’s a space that is entirely you, and has the capacity to depict a lot of things about yourself.

Secondly, Facebook is arguably the biggest social media platform available. With the public relations world being so engrossed in social media today, it’s almost expected for everyone to have a Facebook page. With the majority of today’s population, regardless of age, gender, occupation, or location online, it doesn’t add anything to your personal brand to have accounts on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. It depends on how you use them, and how you set them up to benefit you in the best ways possible.

Take for instance, your privacy settings. No matter how many you have set to block content on your page, if an employer is looking for your page to find information on you, there are always ways for them to look. Therefore, we must be careful that all our social media accounts both do a good job of representing us, while ensuring our personal brand remains clean, hireable, and professional. 

Facebook is great not only to create a band for yourself, and your own personal way to introduce yourself and broadcast who you are, but a great platform to brand your group or company. Looking at this article, we can see all the rgeat benefits of using Facebook for branding your group. Firstly, if you are just starting out - it is a great platform that reaches hundreds of millions of people. Secondly, Facebook is the most common and easiest method of social media communication and relationship building, so linking yourself with your brand, or creating an identity for your brand on Facebook allows you to build relationships that may be effective in your future ventures, which is also discussed in this article.

The point of this blog post is more than just a rant or ramble on social media. It works to link together social media with personal branding. With the free reign of your own blog, twitter, or whatever social media site you are on, you are more than able to create a style and brand for yourself, in everything from the theme to the content to the photos, and whatever you want to do to make it more “you”. In this day and age where everyone not only has accounts everywhere, but is monitored by potential employers, we must always work to maintain a professional and unique personal brand.

This is one of the main things I’ve learned this year.

The main thing that I’ve found through my year of studying the world of corporate communications and public relations is the importance of a personal brand. There are so many people in the industry today, especially with the emerging world of social media today, to make something of yourself. To create a way to differentiate yourself from everyone else, and make an indispensable hire.

However, I’ve found this harder than ever. With the argument that you need to have a personal brand in this social media age more than ever, you can also begin to see the reverse. With social media somehow linking us all, how can you create profiles, pages, and content that would make you seem at another level than everyone else? Everyone has a Twitter page, a Linkedin profile, and a Facebook account. What else is new? I found this video on Youtube that was really interesting about creating a personal brand that I would like to share with all you.

A personal brand can be very different to every person who considers the creation of one. What do you have that others don’t that you can offer? What social media platforms do you make use of that could benefit your professional life? Why should you be hired as opposed to your competition?

For me, this has been a personal discovery that has been thought about back and forth for the longest time. I didn’t know if my online presence was my own form of a personal brand, or if I needed to alter it to make myself more “professional”. I’ve learned to take what I have, and make myself unique in that way.

I decided that, along with having a personal brand, you just have to focus on being unique. As a personal brand is something that makes you different and makes you stand out from others, being unique can maintain a similar definition. What makes you stand out?

The dictionary definition of ‘unique’ is “having no like or equal; unparalleled; incomparable” (dictionary.com), and to me, this encompasses everything you’d like a personal brand to be. Being unparalleled will get you into a job interview quickly, or secure you a job. Being incomparable often implies that there is no one up to par with you, and your personal brand would be a successful one that secures you opportunities that others may not typically have.

So for now, I’m focusing on being unique. What makes me a good hire, and what do I have to offer that others don’t? As of right now, coming straight from university, I don’t have as much experience as others. However, the passion that I have for the industry and the work that I will have to do in this field is unparalleled. Striving for the entertainment industry, you won’t find anyone who is more “up” on celebrity gossip than me, attends more concerts, or goes to as many events. Although my professional experience may not be as seasoned as my colleagues, I believe my passion is unparalleled.

That. That is my personal brand.

estellewrites:

Some more great PR tips, can definitely relate to a few of these.