Everyone and their mother is now posting selfies on Snapchat and food pics on Instagram, to say nothing of fake news on Facebook. But what does it all mean? Is it all just a way to kill some time, or can social media be useful when it comes to the career building?

On a recent Workopolis podcast, social media manager Madisyn McKee argued for the latter.

Workopolis: Personal branding gets discussed a lot, but what does that mean exactly?

McKee: It’s really about how you market yourself to the outside world. If you’re talking to someone and applying for a job, how do you want them to perceive you? What is it that you want them to walk away with? That’s what personal branding is about.

And it’s getting more important for job seekers today?

Absolutely. It really helps to set you apart from competition and build up credibility. I think if a hiring manager is looking at two different people, one has built themselves up online with personal branding, and one has a regular resume – you’re going to go with the one who has shown credibility, and showcased what they can do online.

What would be the first steps to take to build up a following on social media?

I think first and foremost you have to figure out your niche. What do you specialize in? What are your interests?

Figuring that out and having that authority over that specific subject really helps. And then you have to think about synergizing your content across all social platforms. So, if I’m coming to your Twitter account, I know what you’re talking about. If I’m going to your Instagram, it’s the same thing. You need to have the same voice across all platforms.

What other tips would you have for people looking to do personal brand on social media?

Well I think first and foremost you always want to be mindful of what it is that you’re posting. We’ve all seen those mistakes of inappropriate posts going out on social and then having them come back to haunt you later on in your career.

So, if you’re out for a few drinks with friends, maybe leave your phone at home if you tend to be a drunk tweeter. Be careful about what you’re posting and stay engaged with the audience.

Also, watch for grammar – that’s really important. You can always delete a tweet but be mindful of what you’re putting out there, and at the end of the day be authentic to your voice and who you are. Over time, that’s the thing that really helps build your following up more than anything else, because you’re building that personalized aspect with your audience.

Want to hear more social media tips from Madisyn McKee? Listen to the full episode of Safe for Work, the Workopolis podcast, on SoundCloud or iTunes. You can also listen to it on YouTube below.