Social media helps to build your network of potential clients and employers regardless of the area you’re looking to work in, as it helps you make connections with people, including other practitioners. But you don’t need to wait until you’re towards the end of your degree to start building your profile.Why start a social media profileSocial media marketing aims to increase awareness of you as a practitioner and lets people know that you exist. Potential clients and employers follow an engagement path with you as a practitioner that includes awareness, consideration and conversion.For example, a person can’t book an appointment with you if they don’t know you exist (awareness). Once they know you exist, they will consider you alongside other practitioners (consideration) to determine if you meet their needs before engaging you (conversion).When to start your profileThere is no time like the present to start building your profile, so start today! The earlier you start, the longer you will have to build your profile and develop your brand. If you decide to change the direction of your brand down the track, you can always archive your old posts. But don’t fear if you’ve almost finished your degree and still have started, as you can grow your profile quickly with some dedicated time.How to build your social media profileWork out who you want to talk to, pick one or two topics to talk about, and stick to them. That way, people will know why to follow you.Be consistent with your look and feel. Pick a couple of colours that work well together, along with a font that you like, and use them in your marketing. Consistency makes it easy for people to know it’s you when you appear in their feed.Include hashtags in your posts that are relevant to your audience to make it easy for people to find you.Interact with other accounts to let them know you’re there. Interacting is a great free way to increase your exposure and build your networks. Find other people who are interested in similar topics and interact by following, liking, sharing and commenting on other their posts.Show your face to strengthen the connection you have with your audience and so people will know who they’re talking to.Have fun! Social media shouldn’t be a chore, so post about what you enjoy and have fun with it.If you’re interested in learning more about marketing, there are several resources like books, blogs and other social media accounts with plenty of information for practitioners. And don’t forget you can always reach out to another practitioner if you have questions about how or why they do something on social media.