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First impressions can happen anywhere, even on instagram. Here’s how to (appropriately) stand out and market yourself on social platforms.

Whether we like to admit it or not, social media plays a significant role in how we’re perceived by peers and employers alike. If you’re running a small business, professional social media accounts are a must. And if you’re seeking employment, you’re marketing yourself, so it also behooves you to clean up your image across public platforms.

We’ve all heard the horror stories about bachelorette party photos costing a woman her dream job, but what other faux pas should you avoid? I was feeling a little intimidated by it all, so I sat down with social media expert Lauren Felix who shared some insightful tips. Here are five rules to keep in mind when honing your personal brand across social channels:


You should already have a personal pitch prepared for when you get the chance to talk about your career goals with others—but are your social media accounts reflecting these goals?

“Many people overlook the importance of the bio,” Lauren says, “But it is the first thing potential employers or customers see when checking out your accounts.”

Spend some time brainstorming. Ideally, you’ll think of a concise, catchy way to describe yourself and your goals. Lauren recommends keeping your bio consistent across platforms, and, depending on your field, including your email address if appropriate. And always, always spell check.


Even if you don’t have, say, a Pinterest or Instagram yet, it’s wise to reserve your handles across all platforms now. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to join a platform and realizing your name is taken! The same goes for domains. “When in doubt, reserve your name as a domain,” Lauren says.

She also offers a simple suggestion for growing your channels: include your social handles on your business cards. Genius!


When most people hear “curate,” they think of an art curator in a museum carefully selecting which pieces to display. This definition isn’t that far off when we’re talking about platforms like Instagram. Be choosy with what you post. “Make the images reflect you,” she says, “but this doesn’t mean they all have to be of you.”

Your images should be intentional, not random. Put thought into how a single image will coordinate with your overall feed—a little extra thought in each post can go along way. {Click to Tweet} But how can I do this easily? “One way to create a consistent aesthetic for your content is to identify a couple of colors you want to use consistently throughout your imagery,” Lauren suggests.

You can also use canva.comVSCO Cam, and Afterlight to edit your photos through the same filters, creating visual cohesion.

Put thought into how a single image will coordinate with your overall feed—a little extra thought in each post can go along way.


If you’re a small business owner, you know the benefits of followers, the same goes if you’re pursuing employment, especially in a creative field. To get started, try thinking like a social media manager.

Lauren recommends identifying other social media users as benchmarks. If you’re a small business owner, this means competitors, but if you’re an aspiring creative, it’s other people in your industry. Follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to see how they engage with their audience. “Draw your inspiration from the best in the business,” Lauren encourages, “But don’t copy. Put your own personal touch on things.”

“Draw your inspiration from the best in the business.”

Get in on the conversation by using popular hashtags in your sphere. “But don’t overdo it with the hashtags,” she warns. “If you use over 10 for a single post on Instagram, you risk coming off as spammy.”


Now that you’re used to playing social media manager, take it a step further: analyze your personal statistics. Hopefully you’ve already got Analytics installed on your portfolio site, but did you know there are tools for social analytics, too? Experiment with a few including for Instagram, for both scheduling and statistics, and for Twitter.

Facebook also allows you to schedule posts in advance and track stats there (if you have a page). Scheduling posts in advance can help you avoid feeling like you’re spending too much time on your computer or phone, but keeps your pages fresh and at the top of the feed.

What other social media tricks do you use? Share them with us in the comments.

This article was originally posted on Career Contessa ( by Joyce Novacek

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