You are your brand. When the time comes to graduate, your gift to the dietetics world will be how you package the science, the coaching skills and business acumen in your own unique way. Regardless of the sector you hope to work in, having an online presence and a voice in the dietetic community is essential. You may re-brand further down the track but nevertheless, learning to navigate the blogosphere, upskilling with technology and getting your voice out NOW will give you the edge as new graduate. Here is your 4 step cheat sheet on how to start this process:
1. Decide what your online name [handle] will be – whether it’s a catchy title, the name of your future business or simply your name and credentials. You’ll also want to decide on social media and/or website imagery will be. Crafting a logo for your brand is easier than every before, with the rise of online branding tools such as 99designs, Vistaprint and Upwork.
2. Set up your platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube… the platforms you choose will depend on who you wish to engage with. As a general rule, Facebook is a tool for spreading information and can also be used for advertising. Instagram and Pinterest are image based tools, often used to drive traffic to other channels or to your blog (e.g. WordPress site). Twitter and LinkedIn are often used for debating and disseminating research and conference findings in the nutrition world. Snapchat is likely more appealing to younger generations (think gen Y & Z). YouTube is of course for videos but you don’t have to be a videographer to leverage its benefits. You’ll see all kinds of nutrition communication taking place on YouTube – from cooking demos to nutrition debate to voice-over powerpoint presentations… think outside the box. Choose a few social media platform(s) where you can work at your strengths and where like-minded nutrition professionals can be reached. Our advice is to keep your image and handle (step 1) consistent across platforms.
3. Guidelines: there are 2 aspects to guidelines: 1) the expectations of dietitians set out by regulatory bodies and 2) the guidelines you set for yourself. The former involves familiarising yourself with the current DAA social media policy. The latter: setting goals for yourself around frequency of posting and interacting online. This will help you juggle online time with study and ensure you don’t miss out on either.
4. Network: Follow/like/subscribe (to) those described in step 2 and don’t be afraid to engage online. More often than not, already-established dietitians enjoy engaging with students online! [See for yourself: listen to our podcast with Tim Crowe.] So long as you remain transparent, genuine and use appropriate language, there are so many opportunities to join the conversation online.