Podcast: How can leaders use social media to build their personal brand?

Author: Chantelle Kemp, Business Engagement Manager, Hays EMEA

In today’s evolving world of work, when used properly, social media can play a key part in how well an organisation can attract and retain talent, reach new customers, and retain existing ones. As such, it’s becoming increasingly important for leaders to build a strong social media presence and a personal brand online.

So, to help us understand how leaders can do this we’re joined by Chantelle Kemp, EMEA Business Engagement Manager at Hays who has over eleven years of experience within the recruitment industry.

Chantelle, thank you so much for joining us on today’s podcast. 

1) Firstly, it would be great if you could introduce yourself to our listeners.

So, I’ve worked in recruitment for over eleven years, seven of those years were spent as a recruitment consultant recruiting for large campaigns like DHL, Coca Cola, Beiersdorf, and Reckitt Benckiser. I then transferred to the UK nearly four and a half years ago to join the systems training team where I trained over two thousand five hundred consultants on finding the best talent in the marketplace.

Mid-last year I was promoted to Business Engagement Manager for EMEA at Hays. What that means is, I look after our projects and systems implementation for our European and Middle East business.

2) So, as we mentioned in the introduction, it’s now more important than ever for leaders to focus at least some of their time on building their personal brand online. What do you think is driving this and what are the benefits of doing it right?

So, we are in a digital world and this is becoming more and more evident every day and now more than ever before we can build relationships directly with our consumers and potential employees. We really want to get to know the leaders that we’re working for and the benefits of doing this are professional development, business opportunities, creating them both internally and externally and career progression.

According to LinkedIn, socially engaged companies are 40% more likely to appear more competitive. And again, this is all about how people engage with your brand. If they know about it or they’ve heard about your brand, immediately they will have a feeling about it.

3) For those leaders who haven’t thought about using social media to build their personal brand before, what steps do you think they should follow as a starting point?

The first place to start is your professional profile. So, what I’m going to do I’m going to take you through some of our top tips on how to put your best foot forward when it comes to your online brand:

Job Title:

One of the first things to look at is your job title and your headline. It sounds simple, but this is one of the biggest things that recruiters search on and having a good job title and headline brings you up higher in search results, known as SEO, which is search engine optimisation. So, for example, my job title is Business Engagement Manager, EMEA. Now again, sometimes that job title is not recognising the external market so after my job title I have my headline, which is: “Driving industry-leading development of technology across Europe.” So, it has those keywords and what I do, so I come up in those search results.


The next thing to look at, and again this is a simple one, but make sure you are linked to the correct company on LinkedIn because this is how potential employers will search for you.


The one after that is a well-written summary. This must be who you are and what you do, and it should be written in the first person. You really want to sell yourself to potential candidates and potential business opportunities.

Contact Information:

The next thing is your contact details. You want to be in control of how people can contact you and if you want to be contacted.

Industry and Skills:

We’ve also got our skill set, experience and industry. So, when it comes to the industry, select the correct industry, so I work at Hays, so mine would be staffing and recruiting. Each week over three hundred thousand people search using industry alone, so you want to make sure that you’re a part of that. By having five or more skill sets on your profile, it means that you come up higher in the search results as well and you have an “All-star” profile.

Privacy Settings:

The next thing to look at is your privacy settings. You want to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward and you’re not letting your network know of any things that aren’t important like when you filter your picture.


The next one after that is any recommendations. This is the opportunity to have customer feedback, employee feedback on what it’s like to work for the business and work for you. This is a really good way to build credibility.

Profile Image:

Now if you have a picture and this should be a professional picture, a head and shoulders shot, you can gain fourteen times more views. Remember we’re people and we buy from people, they want to get to know who you are.


And the last one is your education and qualifications. If you have this on your profile, this is a key part that people search for, but it also means by having your education qualifications on your profile you get seventeen times more messages

4) What do you think other business leader can do to make sure that the content that they’re sharing is particularly relevant to their following?

So really think about your audience. What do they want to see? And you can test this theory out because we’ve got two ways that you can do that.

The first is by looking at your dashboard, so if you go to your profile on LinkedIn and you scroll down, you’ll be able to see a personal dashboard. This will tell you how engaged people are with what you post, and this will also show you how many searches you appear in and if you click into it as well, you’ll be able to see the posts that you share, who has viewed them, who has liked them, and where your audience is coming from so you can adapt the type of content that you’re sharing.

You can also use something called an SSI score. So, this is a Social Selling Index score. You want to be looking for a score of over sixty and this tells you how well you’re engaging with your network and if your potential employees or current employees are engaging with the content that you’re sharing.

5) So understandably, some of our listeners will be thinking to themselves, I don’t have the time to commit to this. Do you have any tips for busy leaders who understandably may feel that building their personal brand via social media might not always be a number one priority?

So, anything worth doing will take time, so we’ve got to make sure that we’re investing in the right sort of things. But also, a good leader will surround themselves with people who know about this and can help them in this sort of topic.

You can also use platforms like Hootsuite which can help you with the content that you post, but really it starts from your brand so once you have a strong brand, the type of content that you post, and these platforms can also help you post at peak traffic times to get the most engagement.

But this is really something you don’t want to be missing out on, especially for our next generation coming through the workforce our millennial’s. They really want to get to know you and the type of business that they’re working for.

6) Now, I’m sure many leaders might veer away from building their social media presence because some people could perceive it as being risky. What are the risks of using social media wrong and how can they be mitigated?

Using any social media platform is risky and the benefits always must outweigh the risk. So, it’s important that you focus on the power of social media.

Now when it comes to your personal social accounts, you should always be incredibly careful with these, but from a business perspective, this is such a powerful tool and you can literally make a statement about your business or about who you are to millions in minutes so you don’t want to be left out of the loop on something like that.

So again, it is risky for yourselves, but if you take precautions and you do the right thing’s on social media, then you’ll protect yourselves, your company and you’ll even build your brand.

7) So, continuing this theme of risks, what are the top three mistakes that you think leaders tend to make in their use of social media and how can they avoid making them?

So, the first mistake leaders tend to do is by doing nothing, not engaging at all with their employees or potential employees or businesses. People really want to get to know their leaders and who they’re working for. This ensures that people buy into their brand and want to work with them potentially in the future.

The next one is not locking down their personal accounts. So, you want to make sure that when people search for you, only your professional brand comes up. We spend enough time in these offices, so we want to make sure that we keep our personal and professional life separate.

And the last one is having a bad profile. So, having minimal information on your profile or not selling yourselves. The amount of time that I see leaders that I’ve heard about on social media or the news, and then I go to look them up on LinkedIn or any form of social media and I can’t find them. I want to get to know who they are – with politics at the moment we’ve got all these leaders coming through and you want to understand what they stand for and this is a big opportunity to do that.

8) And in terms of the content being shared, do you think it’s more important just to share something that’s authentic rather than shying away from sharing content about what could be seen as controversial topics?

So, you’ve got to look at your network and what they’re interested in seeing. Now you can post controversial topics, but the easiest way to gain feedback is not actually to put an opinion, just to ask a question.

By putting an opinion out there you allow people to judge and people are going to judge you no matter what, but by posing a question you incite people to engage with you and that’s what social media is all about. And then again, you will see on your post how many likes and shares that you get and most of the time on professional networks people are very positive, but they want to know that you’re sharing the right sort of content.

9) Are there any leaders who you follow on social media who you think have managed to successfully and consistently build their online personal brand?

Yes, so I absolutely love Arianna Huffington. I follow Naomi Simson, Simon Sinek, and recently actually Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I hope I said that correctly, but she’s a politician in America and I found her from The Guardian on Instagram and then I saw her profile and all the things that she’s doing in politics right now.

These four people have a strong presence on social media, so they’re using those platforms to get messages out there and fast.

10) Which platforms do you think are best for business leaders to be using?

When it comes to the different platforms you got to think about your audience again. Who are you trying to engage with? So different generations are on different forms of social media so having a strong presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter -again, if you’re ever doing events or presentations people, live tweet them – and LinkedIn is a great professional network.

So, these leaders tend to cover most of them and again, depending on the message that they’re sending, they might focus particularly on one form of social media over another. So, you’ve just got to think about the message you want to get out there and who it’s to.

11) And finally, we have one more question for you and this is a question that we ask all our podcast guests – what do you think are the top three qualities that make a good leader?

So, the first one is, and I always say this, is be a chameleon. You want to be adaptable to your environment. You want to be able to adapt to change quickly and adapt your thought process.

The next one is to be empathetic. This is a key one for me and for any leaders that I’ve ever reported into. It’s always, the best leaders that I’ve reported in to, obviously, my boss right now, is that they’re empathetic and they can put themselves in my position.

And the last one is they’re risk takers, they disrupt the status quo, and that’s the type of leader that we need right now.

Thank you for reading. For more useful advice and insights about the world of work, visit our dedicated blog page here or click on one of the links below.