Words. They mean a lot. They do a lot. They build things up and can tear things down, making it important that we use them wisely and communicate intent with purpose. This seems second nature from a professional standpoint, but what about personally?
For those that know me, I've used various social platforms to communicate thoughts and to engage with others for years now. I knew that I wanted to be in the digital media world from an early stage and wanted to learn as much as I could through personal study and application. Tangibly, this made itself known most often by personal "tests" on Twitter and Instagram.
Some caught wave (others not so much). Now, I wasn't always sure of the reception, but my personal tactics and strategies got people talking. (Just ask my college friends about the use of the "double line"—||—on Instagram during college.)
This all made me think "maybe others just need to know how platforms can be used, instead of how they should be used" when building a personal brand. Understanding words and how they're received is key when building a digital voice. There's trial and error, but intent should be communicated at each stage of the process.
Diversified uses and interests.
I was raised to have a curious mind and to appreciate a well-rounded worldview. Now, there were times when I treated this with too high regard, causing identity strain and emotion letdown, but I've also come to find that a well-balanced desire to never stop learning proves to be helpful with work and with relationship-building.
With regard to social media, I've found that a well-balanced portfolio of platforms allows me to develop and unpack an engaging conversation online with others who are interested in similar things. The important thing is authenticity and realizing that a platform can't (and shouldn't be) all things to all people. There are many use-cases and with that comes flexibility to create special touch-points, but it's best to know the vibe and demographics of each channel.
The branded house.
While this journey has certainly pulled out aspects of my own selfishness, it has also served as a great learning opportunity for me to watch others and improve communication flow. Stringing words together to create the most effective story or response to a given situation is what I love to do most. And, it's just fun to inject personality in the greater online space.
Sure, I once thought I wanted to be "insta-famous." But that was my own pride and insecurity talking. While it would be nice to produce content solely on Instagram as my personal branded house (aka: influencer), that space is changing so much, and it's not really what brings me the most joy. (It's also not how I feel I can best serve the community at large.)
Ultimately, I want to help others (mostly in the creative world) understand the applications and implications of solid social media strategy and spotlight how easy it can be to use. That being said, you'll find some brief definitions and examples of how I use (or try to use) various social media platforms listed below. It's not an exhaustive list by any means, but my hope is this highlights a model of how to pick the best platforms for personal dreams to be achieved.
A lesson in @druwser.
First off, you (or your company) should have the same handle across all platforms. It's my first (and maybe only) rule of thumb. If you can't do this, you won't be able to leverage your brand across platforms, and customers won't be able to easily follow you. If you can't get the username, wait (or reach out to have someone give/sell it to you). And if you can't wait, then pick something else that's available on every platform.
The platform is all about visuals, mostly photos but increasingly more videos. (They keep updating.) I downloaded Instagram when I moved over to iPhone world in 2012. The platform was still being figured out, and I mostly used it to document a fun event or milestone with a quick snap. Now, I'll unashamedly say that I use it as a portfolio of moments. Yep, it's curated.
There are many different ways to use the platform, but it should start with the visuals and end with the caption to complete the story. And honestly, one can still be real even when posting his/her more stylized parts of life.
Here, I've gone round and round. I've heard that many users once turned their noses up at Instagram before it caught stride. Regardless, I use it as a digital "photo walk" through my life. By showing moments in collage form, I'm able to still use photos not posted on Instagram to complete a moment and offer inspiration to others with similar style. (Also read as: this is where I like to post outtakes in a purposeful way.)
It's microblogging. The character limitation can be scary, but I see it as a way to practice communicating with intent. It's a great space to contribute thoughts during live events and share/digest news with others. For me, I like to stay in the worlds of menswear, media and entertainment, and politics.
As a best practice, Twitter works when engagement occurs. Retweeting, liking, and replying are all good things. I once heard this rule of thumb: 3-original posts, 2-replies, and 1-retweet. Find a cadence for posting and add to the conversation. I promise it can be fun. (Especially now that they've added the GIF-keyboard.)
Some still see this as new frontier or the new authenticity platform. While I've heard that Snapchat really wants to be a leading "messaging app," it's very much still considered as a social platform. It's definitely less curated, but its content can still have purpose.
This platform is where my "in real time life" content lives. It's great for sharing concert content and other event-based fun. The filters are great for adding personality, and the company has added new features to improve the "reaction" replied to stories, just be chatting friends directly from his/her story.
I have it to understand what other businesses are sharing as "professional content." I studied business in college, so the viability of companies and networking with professionals here intrigues me. It's important to have an updated profile, but I don't spend too much time checking it. Mainly, it's another way to tell the personal brand story and distribute relevant content.
I've had it since middle school, but I've honestly thought about deactivating it multiple times. Nevertheless, I do like keeping up with old friends and recalling/remembering birthdays and other events. I may add a business page for "drewinthecity" down the line, but for now, Facebook is just a must-have utility/news app for me. (Zuckerberg got me!)
I love words and using them to tell an impactful story. Doing this on social media excites me, and I hope it does you too. As always, please feel free to comment below with thoughts and/or questions. I'd love to hear from y'all!