The Executive Assistant Guide to Personal Branding on Social Media
With Al-Husein Madhany
What role does social media play in your professional life? Although many of us view social media as a leisurely way to pass the time and stay connected, the truth is, your brand on social media is a crucial leadership tool. Every one of us is a brand. As an executive assistant, you are the right-hand of your executive, so let’s dive into the best algorithms for making your brand worth following.
It’s vital that you optimize your social media presence so that you can stand-out as a leader and representative of your organization, and most importantly, a representative of yourself. Al-Husein Madhany is a motivational speaker, former Facebook Chief Chaos Tamer, and Paypal Chief of Staff. At ELS, he speaks on a range of topics that cover some of the progressive challenges that plague EAs across the globe. Madhany helps in uncovering how EAs can optimize their social media presence to thrive as a leader within their community.
Separate Business from Personal
When discussing social media optimization, it’s important to distinguish your personal account from an account you are perhaps managing for your executive. It’s very likely that, at some point in your career, you’ll be faced with the challenge of optimizing both.
Visibility on social media is undoubtedly the most crucial component to social media success, regardless of the platform your using. According to Forbes Magazine “You need to maximize your potential exposure and get more sets of eyes on every post you make.” This can be achieved by sending out invites, using hyperlinks, and engaging with others around you. However, it’s important that you are staying consistent with the vision of your executive. If you and your exec can agree on terms, you have the opportunity to serve as the face of the company.
Madhany explains that the issue is that most EAs who work at such a highly visible level require a level of training in communication. Madhany explains, “Whether it’s curated by the EA or not, it’s still media and can be under scrutiny by the organization.” He further emphasizes the importance of publishing through the company’s communications or public relations department, in order to ensure the post or content is representative of your company’s brand standards. It’s vital to remember the virtues of privacy and discretion. Sharing even trivial company information can sometimes lead to unforeseen consequences. Many Executive Assistants, particularly within the C-Suite, are subject to insider trading policies, which carry with it penalties for communicating publicly during quiet periods.
As your particular EA role continues to grow in scope, the weight of your words, photos, and actions on social media grow as well.
That being said, “Everybody, whether you’re an executive assistant or not, has a story to tell. It’s important that your media be told in the realm of respect for the storyteller and audience.”
Representing Yourself on Your Personal Social Media
Madhany dives into the importance of separating yourself from the masses. “In a world bombarded with more information than is humanly possible to consume, be memorable.”
Tell a story that is a reflection of your professional self. “It should not be a rehash of your resume, but should provide a different lens to which the scope of your role is viewed.” Knowing your audience is critical to becoming memorable. Curb your voice to speak to your peers, colleagues, and friends. Remember to stay humble in your tone, while always highlighting your achievements in your role.
Madhany reminds that activities and hobbies should be present in your LinkedIn profile. From your background banner to your to headline, every bit of information is building a more well-rounded perspective of who you are who you are not. It all should build for the audience a cohesive story of how you are adding value to your executive, your company, your community, and our world.”
He also highlights the importance of ensuring your job title on LinkedIn reflects what you are actually doing.
“Don’t call yourself an admin if what you are doing is actually partnering with your executive to be their best resource. Call yourself a business partner.”
Given his deep linguistic background and award-winning film production accolades, Madhany has been a leader in developing new ways to frame the role. He regularly advocates that those looking to be recruited, must define their niche skill that identifies them in a manner that breaks from the pack. For example, Madhany has coined the below monikers to demonstrate the unique skill set of the top EAs in just a few evocative words.
- “Scheduling Ninja”
- “Time Hacker”
- “Chaos Tamer”
- “Servant Leadership”
- “Culture Carrier”
- “Brand Ambassador”
- “Priority Setter”
- “CEO Whisperer”
Madhany counsels that EAs should consider such pithy language when building out their LinkedIn profile and resume.
The Value of Networking
Building up your connections isn’t just a numbers game. These contacts provide the foundation for what you will be sent through your feed. Madhany explains, “You should read, you should watch videos, and you should understand the lay of the land and precisely which community you want to learn from and engage with.”
It’s easy to scroll past a post without considering how or why it made its way to you. If you look for points of participation, you will realize there a way more than you think. There’s no price to pay for a like or positive comment to a second or third connection. There’s no harm, only gains.
However, it’s important to distinguish where you can find real value in networking. LinkedIn is great for so many things, but it shouldn’t be your only avenue for opportunities. As Madhany says, “Some of the best jobs are not advertised, and some of the best opportunities aren’t going to be farmed to groups with 2000, or 5000 members.”
So where do you find those opportunities?
There’s not a singular answer or singular place. It’s up to you to go out and get after it. Attend that conference, grab that cup of coffee, and sit in on that webinar. Most of your peers are either too afraid, or unwilling to take the extra steps to achieve their dreams. To find networking and professional training in your area, visit www.elsforum.com
Looking for a second perspective on social media optimization for the EA career? Check out Diana Brandl’s take on the topic, here.
To hear more from Al-Husein Madhany, check out his article on critical thinking or listen to his podcast on compensation and negotiation.