Although social media may still seem relatively new to some, it has actually been around for years and is evolving quickly. The question is are you on board and riding the wave of social change, engaging with followers, making new connections and opportunities every day.
Interacting with friends and family across long distances has been a concern of humans for centuries. When you observe the global presence of social media, it is important to consider why people are using it and the psychology of sharing. The fact is that it has always been in our nature to communicate and the technological tools available today simply make it easier for us.
The difference in the online world is personal branding. We have the ability to create a virtual version of our lives and broadcast it to whoever we like. This gives a distorted view of real life and leads to a manipulation of the truth. Some may embrace every aspect of their life and keep their followers updated but others may simply read their friends’ gossip and click ‘like’, without posting anything about their own life. Some may put their whole life activities out there, whether it’s eating a deep fried mars bar or having dinner at a top restaurant.
Personal branding is very important when it comes to a business using social media to promote their products or services. The question is should it be a male or female posting on behalf of the business or does this not matter. It is appealing to humans to build their ego and social networks provide the ideal platforms for this. Although, it is debatable whether men or women embrace this concept more. Some feel that men are the one to be the typical alpha male, beating their chests as they shout the loudest and get heard. Others believe social media appeals to woman’s ability to multi-task and gossip.
According to a study by Pew Research Center, most adults use Facebook and Twitter but it’s mostly women who use Pinterest. The popularity tends to be with planning weddings, parties and craft making. However, perhaps it’s because women prefer to organise themselves in more of a visual way. As business owners, they can pin their products and useful photo content to encourage others to follow. There has consistently been higher social networking usage amongst the youngest demographic (18-29 year olds), and less usage as age increases.
It is perhaps easier, culturally for men to embrace personal brand and have a big personality and put it out there. Based on research, women can tend to hesitate about the concept of social media and work on it behind the scenes, focusing on making others look good rather than themselves. Many women also have the sense that hard work will triumph in the end. If they persevere, they will eventually get noticed by the right people and convert social media connections to sales.
It is true up to a point, that if you persevere with a career, you will get noticed and be rewarded or promoted eventually. Although, with more people becoming freelance, career paths are changing and peoples’ attitudes to work are shifting. In leadership roles, what matters most are public face and the need to be a rain-maker. The way that you liaise with the world is what followers will connect with and comment on. Your personal brand is what you are known for and recognised for. It is a skill that anyone male or female needs to get comfortable with.
Whether male or female using social media, you may be concerned about looking like a bragger, a shameless, self-promoter or egotist. However, social media is about cultivating others to talk about your services, within a mutual supportive society. Having others talk about your business is much more powerful than you saying the same thing over and over. Encouraging feedback or comments is a good way of getting your strengths across to other potential customers, without a tainted or bias viewpoint.