Sharing content online allows you to craft an online persona that reflects your personal values and professional skills. Even if you only use social media occasionally, what you create, share or react to feeds into this public narrative. How you conduct yourself online is now just as important as your behavior offline especially when it comes to your digital marketing career.
Building your personal brand on social media takes some work (just think of what it takes to become instafamous!). But done right, you could land your next job opportunity or help you to foster valuable connections. Read on to find out ten steps that will help ensure your online branding is working for you.
Decide which social media account(s) you are going to focus on, and delete any old accounts that you no longer use. For the networks you will be using, make sure all of your information is complete and accurate. This will help you to direct and grow traffic to the networks that will showcase yourself and your work.
It can also remove any ‘questionable’ content from years past that could be seen as having a risque brand tone and don’t have a positive effect on your professional image.
Everyone's an expert at something - whether it’s how to create and distribute great content or having an encyclopedic knowledge of your favorite TV show.
Is it time for you to experiment a bit more? Think about what type of content you’ve created that your followers have responded to most? Can you replicate this with other similar content or repurpose something to re-engage? The more unique and engaging content you create on your chosen topic of expertise, the more your followers will start to think of you as a leader in your chosen field.
Forgotten passwords, a busy day job, content creation, and maintaining an online presence can be time-consuming. But, there are many social media apps at hand to make life easier.
Sprout, Buffer, and Hootsuite all connect to your social media networks and allow you to cross-post across different social networks and schedule content. This removes the need to login to multiple websites. Most major social media networks, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are compatible with these applications.
In the early days of social media, the more you posted, the more engagement you could drum up. Today, however, over-posting leads to fatigue and annoyance. You want to keep the lines of communication open with your audience, but you also don’t want to overshare so much that you look desperate. The sweet spot is posting around 3-4 times a week for individuals.
As Michael Noice, founder of Entrepreneur Coach, explains, “A once-weekly Twitter post or monthly Instagram photo are not going to accomplish much, if anything. For this reason, it’s best to focus on two or three carefully chosen social networks and try to be active on them, rather than posting sporadically to a half-dozen.”
There will be days when you don’t post, and that’s perfectly fine. Identify the best social media metrics to focus on, analyze the data associated with your posts and identify a pattern that works. If you’re having trouble finding content to share and want more insight into what’s popular, search via social media hashtags, use news aggregator sites like Feedly, or sign up for Google Alerts.
You might be amazed to see how many people you already know on the social media networks you’re using. There may be tens, or even hundreds, of people with whom you haven’t yet connected with. Import your email contacts from Gmail or Outlook, or contacts from your phonebook, into your social networks to find out how many connections you’re missing. Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter all allow for a free import of a certain number of contacts.
Your goal is to create an unstoppable personal online brand, but you need to make sure it’s one that reflects you. While you now know some of the things you should be doing on social media, are you aware of what not to do to keep your social impression a positive one?
Think of your interactions and content as a resume of your work, and a reflection of your professional attitude and overall personality. Reposting others’ content (or curating content for social) is a smart thing to do, but it’s not all you should be doing. You also need to share content that you’ve written, to demonstrate industry expertise.
Creating engaging content means taking a fresh approach to the types of updates you share with your network. Don’t be afraid to talk about your own achievements, or add engaging tidbits about your personal life (e.g. travel and hobbies are suitable). After all, social media is about individuals first.
If you have concerns about not being able to voice your opinions to the extent you wish, consider creating two sets of social media accounts: one for private use (say whatever you want), and one for personal use (in which your responses and shares are heavily calculated). Keep your personal pages private to close friends and family, and use your professional accounts to build new connections and career opportunities. And, if you want to talk about your employer online, make sure you read through your company’s social media guidelines before doing so.
Facebook and LinkedIn (check out 7 easy steps to LinkedIn success) both offer thousands of opportunities to join groups focused on specific industries or topics. Just use the search bar on each network to find groups that are linked to your specific area of expertise.hen you’ll be able to share your insights and build authority around your personal brand.
Keep in mind that industry groups may be overcrowded with competitors, so smaller, topic-based groups may be more fruitful in terms of reaching your audience.Social Media Groups Can Help You:
Once you’re a member of your preferred social media groups, don’t be afraid to jump into discussions and add your unique insights. It can be difficult to remember that that’s exactly what social media is about!
So don't be afraid to have conversations. If you simply join a group and don’t participate, you won’t gain any of the benefits listed above. In addition, showing that you’re responsive will help you build your personal brand in larger communities.
You’ve probably already figured out that sticking to your defined persona is important. If a popular political commentator suddenly and radically switched parties, no doubt they would lose a lot of fans overnight. You must also remain consistent with your ideas and the ways you present them so that you’re memorable and trustworthy.
Dining the tone of voice that works best for your brand may entail some trial and error, but there are personal branding guides you can use to determine the best fit for you. It’s not as easy as saying “I want to be funny,” you need to further develop your ideas to support your approach.
Following your brand guidelines helps to control people’s perceptions. You can damage an otherwise flawless reputation if one of your profiles shows up with content or images that don’t match your brand’s voice.
Use a marketing personas template if you’re stuck on who your audience are and how to talk to them.
Connecting with and collaborating with influencers is a great way to get your brand known, but it does take some time. You have to spend time developing relationships with influencers before they’ll see you as an expert.
LinkedIn is a great place to find and engage with other experts in your industry, as are several top influencer marketing tools. Once you’ve found the main influencers in your area, analyze their networks, posting habits and content to determine what you could be doing better. Notice how their followers respond to what they post, and learn best practices from their personal branding strategies and execution.
The best way to build your personal brand on social media is to understand the fundamentals. Learn how to conduct social research to understand your audience, figure out content formats and what ones will work for you and know how to create a strategy - no matter how small - so you know where you want to go and how to get there.
You’ll also need to understand the ins and outs of each social media platform and what you can do to drive your unique message. With some practice, you’ll soon learn what channel works best and how to measure success. Get started today by choosing a social media and marketing course that fits in with your professional and personal life.
First published November 2017, Updated September 2021