Instagram, Facebook & Co. is for food pics, models and embarrassing snapshots from parties. Unfortunately, this still seems to be the common opinion about social media, in particular in the professional and academic world.
Let me tell you my story and how I became a social media badass in all areas of my life…
Is it true? Are social media platforms only for less scientific businesses? Some may even call it ‘unprofessional’ work.
I have always been a social person, in real life and online. I love sharing my stories and activities. When I first developed my presence on social media, it was more out of curiosity and less of a strategic business decision.
However, I did not only share my private activities. Once the professional networks such as LinkedIn or ResearchGate became more popular, I was on it.
During my times as a PhD student in Pharmaceutics, I was already known as the ‘social media person’; although, I got the impression that my colleagues and supervisors did not quite understand why I was so excited about this. My colleagues even created a ‘social-media theme’ doctoral hat… I’m still not sure if this was out of appreciation or to make fun of me, but I kept doing my thing.
The power of the internet
I still remember one day back in 2013 or 2014, when a colleague came to my office at the university and said: ‘I just googled something related to your research and the first thing that pops up on Google is your face!’. I started laughing and thought ‘How cool is that’.
This was the moment I realized the power of search engines and sharing content related to your work. Until then, my social media activities were unintentional and this was the moment where everything changed. I actually googled some keywords the other day and the first results was a picture of my face.
From Academics to Business
Friends, colleagues, and even scientific organizations asked for my advice when it came to social media. I helped individuals privately and small & medium-sized companies, to choose the right social media platforms for their purposes; and managed accounts, took care of the initial platform activities, trained users and employees how to use social media accounts for their business.
Why everyone needs to build a personal brand
Building a personal brand as a scientist or researcher who works in Academics is crucial in our era. I experienced this myself when I started promoting my own research via online search engines and social media platforms. As I said, my publications and pages became the number 1 search result on Google. I became known for my work. I got invited to apply for tenure-track faculty positions in the same year when I received my PhD. I received weekly invitation emails to speak at events worldwide. During my first three years as a postdoc, I gave lectures in the USA, Brazil, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, Spain, and other places.
Sure, the quality of the scientific work plays an important role, but one should not neglect the power of promoting your work in the online space. Let us face the truth: when companies, faculties or publishers are looking for suitable candidates, they google, like everyone else.
What draws their attention are those names who always show up, because in the end it is your name that will help you score the positions, guest editor invitations, get invited to speak at a conference, to be successful in science.
Scientists of all levels need to understand this
Do not leave your scientific career in the hands of impact factors and journal citations only and learn how to take actions to boost your visibility in the scientific community. Scientist of all levels have to see themselves and their research more like a business approach. They are the scientific entrepreneurs where faculties, publishers, and companies can be considered as ‘clients’.
It does not matter if you are still studying, employed or self-employed. Whoever the ‘client’ is, as a researcher, we have to show them that we are the researcher they need. It is the same principle as for fitness or lifestyle coaches: show up and show off your value.
Social media platforms do not only serve us to share private content. Aspiring scientists, but also established researchers can use the power of today’s online platforms to promote their work and show it to a worldwide audience.
But what if I am not a scientist or don’t want to work in Academics?
Fun fact: I don’t want to work in Academics either! At least not full-time. I am skilled when it comes to my scientific work and I am most likely qualified to climb the academic ladder, but I am also a pro when it comes to social media strategies and business development for personal brands. It is my passion. I escaped the average life and turned my passion into a business: helping people to build personal brands, as I did for myself. I am a passionate athlete and when I realized that the scientific work will never fulfill me, I started building my own personal fitness brand.
Standing out on social media
This is what most people in the lifestyle and fitness area want, but therefore they need to understand the platforms and their potential clients. In the same way, as my clients from the academic sector have to learn how to add credibility to their digital footprint.
Academics OR Business? In my opinion this goes hand in hand. It does not matter if you are building your own lifestyle brand or if you are trying to score the corporate job or academic position of your dreams. We all need to build a personal brand to show off our badass skills and personality!
…and this is the story how my inner social media badass helped me creating a life on my own terms helping people from academics and lifestyle coaches to do the same.
Watch Catie’s Interview for the Wealthy Creative Summit with Sarah Cook!
What Sarah says about Catie:
This girl is the definition of brains and beauty!!! Catie (well, that’s her nickname, and you’ll learn the story when you watch!) is the total package! She’s smart, she’s athletic, she’s beautiful, and she’s KIND!!!! You will fall in love with her after this interview and you have to follow her on insta…she cracks me up! Catie makes it her mission to show people that true happiness is possible, and life is meant to be FUN!
Catie started her career life with studying pharmacy and getting her Ph.D. in Natural Sciences. She is very well-accomplished in academia (especially for being so young!) and is constantly being asked to speak at different universities. However, no matter how successful she was in her field of study, she wasn’t truly fulfilled–which is what lead her to where she is today!
Catie still has involvement in her area of study, but she lives her passion online, sharing her athletic journey and coaching others to show up powerfully for their audiences as well! Catie is the perfect example that no matter what path you take, you are NOT stuck!!!
About the Author
Catie Leta aka Dr. rer. nat. Maren Katherina Preis is a licensed pharmacist from Germany, holds a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics, and is a certified specialist for Pharmaceutical Technology. She received the award for the most outstanding doctoral thesis in Pharmaceutical Sciences 2014/2015 by the International Association for Pharmaceutical Technology in 2016 for her work about innovative oral drug delivery systems. Although everyone expected her to climb the academic ladder, Catie decided to follow her passions and turn them into a business: social media and fitness. Catie has always been a creative person and active on social media platforms. It all started with helping friends, colleagues and organisations to setup social media accounts to gain visibility in today’s digital world.
Today, she helps health and fitness coaches, but also aspiring scientists, to build their personal brands online like she did herself: ‘Social Like Catie’ is the name of the program where she teaches her clients everything she learned in almost 10 years on social media. Besides all that, Catie is a passionate athlete and coach who offers strength and power building programs for her clients.