By Ambika Kashi Singh
Digital Content Coordinator
In a world where everyone from Beyoncé to President Trump is breaking their own news via Instagram and Twitter, building your personal social brand has power. With social media tools easily accessible via multiple platforms, you can Tweet from your phone, Snapchat on your tablet while watching TV or keep in touch with contacts around the world from your desk.
Building your personal social brand is a valuable and cost-effective method to add to your online presence, allowing you to instantly connect with business contacts, build credibility and exhibit thought leadership as an expert in your field, as well as build trust for your business.
Social media should not be an afterthought. Building a personal brand takes commitment – and time. Make a plan for how frequently you will send out messages and engage with your target audience. Being consistent and committed to your social effort will help you build a following.
As you plan, consider what platform will work best for you and the type of messages you will share. Research which platform or platforms are best suited for you, your industry and your voice. Use your social messages strategically and integrate with real-life connections to draw in your target audience.
Don’t try to be everywhere at once. LinkedIn is a business must-have, although with 1.86 billion users, Facebook is still the platform with the largest user base. It is useful for reaching very specific audiences and gaining customer feedback and is becoming more and more popular for business networking.
Unless you have compelling visual or video content, you may not need to jump into YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram or Snapchat right away.
Alternatively, if you have mostly visual content or tend to be long-winded, Twitter may not be the best outlet for you. Once you find the best platform for you, be consistent in your post frequency, timing and personal voice. Consistency is key!
Find your niche and work on perfecting it. As with building any brand, the substance and perception of your message is vital. Decide early on what your personal brand should say to people; and with whom you want to engage. As you brainstorm content ideas, keep your personal brand mission and your target audience in mind. Once you get started and begin receiving feedback from followers, you can add different types of content and expand your focus, but always keep your audience in mind. Treat your social content like a conversation with a specific person or group to ensure you engage the right audience and grow your personal social brand.
Be authentic. In personal branding, it is crucial to let the real you shine. Your connections and followers want to hear from you. Honesty and transparency are highly valued online, and other users can tell the difference. The trend toward live, unfiltered content is proof of this. Use your personality to your advantage. If you’re funny or creative, let your voice come through.
People associate you with your company and are connecting with you online because they consider you to be the expert and want to talk to a real human, rather than a brand.
We all crave human-to-human interaction and, as far as your bottom line is concerned, that is still how sales are made. By engaging in social media on a personal level, beyond your company’s profile, you will take your company’s online presence to the next level.
Listen first and be timely. Social media is a powerful source for relevant news and insightful articles. It’s an easy way to stay up to date on what’s going on in your industry because you can choose whom to follow or which specific groups to join. It’s also a space where you should share your accomplishments and what you’ve been working on.
It’s okay to plug yourself or your company as long as you’re also engaging with your business contacts and followers online. Be empathetic, like and share their articles, answer their questions, ask for feedback, start conversations with people you’d like to connect with. Respond to things in a timely manner. Social media is all about an instant give-and-take conversation; that’s how you build a following and make your personal social brand stand out.
Connect online and in real life. Networking and attending shows and industry events can help grow your personal social brand. Using a hashtag for an event or show can group your content and help you connect with a specific audience. Like, follow and comment on posts from others in your target audience. These interactions, if done thoughtfully, will likely be reciprocated, and help to boost your online personal brand. If you’re showing thought leadership in your online presence, chances are you will be a more likely candidate to speak and present at shows and events or to give quotes for industry publications as an expert in your field.
Build a network and become a thought leader. If you are an expert in your industry and have interesting information and insights to share, LinkedIn or Facebook groups are the perfect places. Seek out a handful of professional groups that are relevant to your target audience and join. Don’t join too many, so that you can actually keep up with them and contribute often.
Mid-size groups (a couple hundred to a thousand members) work best so that your posts are not getting lost in the shuffle, but still reach a sizable group of people. Some professional groups have strict rules about what to post, so be sure to pay attention to that and abide by the rules. Again, be empathetic and engaging.
When appropriate, feel free to share your own ideas, links to articles, blog posts, whitepapers, etc., and ask questions.
If you’re an enigmatic presenter or already have a podcast or webcast in the works, share relevant and interesting audio and videos. You may eventually become a leader within the group. Others will look to you and your personal social brand for expert guidance, and you’ll connect with people you may not have otherwise.
Building your personal social brand takes time, but it is a low-cost investment that can be extremely rewarding. With the proper planning, commitment and time dedicated to your personal branding effort, you and your company will reap lasting benefits.
Let Foster Marketing help grow your company’s social media reach. Contact us today. Call us at 281-448-3435.