Thursday, 25 April 2013

How to Create Your Online Brand: 5 Tips from Mack Male

By Kate





With the winter semester winding down, and students looking for both summer and post-university jobs, After U brought U of A grad and local social media maven Mack Male to campus to share his secrets for creating the kind of strong digital identity that can help you land a dream job. As one of the first thousand people on Twitter and as the mind behind the popular Edmonton area website, mastermaq.ca, Male’s experience sets an excellent example of someone who used the world of social media to launch his post-university career.

Social Media provides "an important way to stand out,” he says.

With that being said, here are a few tips to help students develop their own online personal brand:

1. Look Around

Male says that for anyone starting to build an online presence, looking to see what other people are doing, identifying different methods and emulating the style(s) that you like is a good way to get started. Since Twitter is so open and widely used, checking out the #yeg hashtag to find people tweeting in Edmonton and using the “Who to Follow” suggestions are useful ways to get the ball rolling.

2. Be Purposeful

You don’t have to be a local celebrity to create an effective online appearance, Male explains. What differentiates these effective users from your run-of-the-mill social media fanatic is that their posts aren't random — they’re deliberate.

“I don’t randomly post things or randomly like things. Almost everything I do is purposeful. I wouldn't start posting about some other city in the U.S., even though that would be cool,” Male says, explaining that he stays true to his Edmonton-centric brand.

3. Make an Impression

Using chatspeak on Twitter, hashtags on Facebook and excessive selfies on Instagram are all faux pas that most of us have all likely made. However, Male says that people form an opinion about a website in one-twentieth of a second, so make sure your actions and social media space are reflective of your intellect.

4. Stay Active

 “A week without posting is like a lifetime on Twitter,” Male says, adding that one of the biggest mistakes that people make is starting something like a social media account or blog then “letting it die.”

He says that most blogs die out after three months because people haven’t planned them effectively, so he suggests making a list of ten or twelve things you want to write about. Keeping a notebook on hand to jot down blog is a good idea too, just in case other ideas arise at random.

And don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a lot of traffic — Male says that when his blog first started, the only people who commented were his high school friends and his mom. Continuing to write and develop your voice are easy ways to keep your momentum going.

5. Get Out There

Male explains that bridging the gap between your online presence and “real-life” is more important than one might think. Joining student groups and attending community events are great ways to build your social network and to get your name out there. Attaching your name to a larger organization not only makes you more recognizable, but it can also help to broaden your horizons as you can become exposed to  new interests.

While part of “getting out there” includes meeting new people, Male adds that a large mistake that some people make is being afraid to ask for help. Whether you want advice on how to build a presence, or feedback on a blog post, he says that most people are more than happy to grab a coffee and to help a “newbie” get started.

Male says that one of his favourite parts about living in Edmonton is the open community here —with a click of a mouse it’s easy to come into contact with your local community leaders or career heroes.

So, if you are looking to launch your own digital identity, be sure to keep these tips in mind. And if you’re looking to learn more about how to prepare for your post-graduate life, take a look to see what else After U or CAPS: Your U of A Career Centre, might have to offer.
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