Do you want to build a personal brand using social media? Does the idea of being regarded as an expert a.s.a.p. in your industry excite you? Well it does for me. That is why I went out of my way to write this article in order to see what is needed and also to help you too.
Before we can even get into the juiciness of this article and learning about the online marketing strategies needed to help boost our brand awareness, reputation and career, let’s take a minute to understand the definition of Branding.
A brand is the essence of one’s own unique story. This is as true for personal branding as it is for business branding. The key, though, is reaching down and pulling out the authentic, unique “you”. Otherwise, your brand will just be a facade. The power of a strong logo in brand identity is that a simple visual can instantaneously communicate a brand and what it is about. Some large brands are able to do this by symbol only, without words, that is the Holy Grail that brands dream about. This seems to represent the very essence of communication at its most primitive roots. Few can pull it off. Logos are vitally important, but are just one component of what creates a strong brand. Logos should support the broader brand strategy that supports an even bigger brand story. Paul Biedermann
It is now easier than ever to do brand yourself or brand your business, once you find unique ways to differentiate yourself from others in your field.
Social media is challenging traditional forms of marketing models in ways that has never been seen in human history. At the same time, social media has created an abundance of opportunities for individuals to brand themselves alongside big businesses. Individuals are now able to leverage the power of increasingly interconnected social media channels by redefine how we communicate with customers.
Many companies, except a few like GoPro, Google, Apple etc., are unprepared for today’s increasingly fragmented, in-control, always-on audience that makes pin-point relevance mandatory.
Interactivity has changed the nature of how we communicate our message by expanding our definition of what a brand is to reach into the world of teaching, mentoring, customer relations and education rather than selling.
By branding yourself you will be able to find more jobs, have companies calling you or have them answering your calls because you have learnt how to reach businesses outside of the conventional way of advertising, a resume. We must give businesses or customers the opportunity to find us and use all the tools available through multiple channels while anticipating their needs.
You need to learn how people are interacting in the post-Internet age so you can brand yourself in a way that resonates directly with them, us.
Realize that branding yourself takes work especially to people who aren’t listening or are distracted by something else.
Before we begin, let’s just appreciate the time we are in where the customers (us too) are in charge and must be encouraged and engaged with on our own terms, no longer the dictatorship of big businesses.
And…let’s embrace the uniqueness of each person we are communicating with observing that one message shall never fit all.
Social media today is a great way to develop a personal brand, build a reputation and stand out in your area of specialization.
Here are easy to take action now 10 steps on how to brand yourself such that you are regarded as the go-to-guy or gal in your field in as little time as possible.
1. Define your end goal
What do you hope to achieve? What do you want the world to see when they search for your name online? Your end goal will determine how you should go about branding yourself. For someone who wants the world to see his/her work experience and areas of expertise in the context of securing new employment, you need to have a strong LinkedIn presence. Pinterest should be your focus if you are trying to brand yourself as an artist or an authority on artwork, while Instagram should be your social media of choice if you are a photograph expert.
2. What are your areas of expertise?
Be very upfront about your core area of expertise. What do you want to be known for? Whom do you want to connect with? You need to determine and then show what makes you unique upfront. We advise that apart from your core area of expertise, you should also have at least two sub-specialties. Your areas of expertise define who you are and what you do. Incorporate them in writing your social media profile descriptions.
The truth is that there are many competing entrepreneurs in the world of personal branding, so choosing a general field like human resources or marketing is not enough. Develop a very specific niche, so that you can have more opportunities to prove your relevance and expertise.
3. Develop a Strong Positioning Statement
A positioning statement is a brief synopsis of who you are, what you stand for and what you do. While positioning statements are typically created for brands or products, you must bear in mind that you are a brand yourself. Create a positioning statement that grabs your intended audience. With that opening statement, hook your audience and keep them coming back to you.
Take time to research some of the well-known people in your field, and then explain what distinguishes you from other persons in your area of expertise.
4. Be consistent
As much as is possible, keep the same name, profile, picture, imagery, and look across all your social profiles. When you keep a consistent profile, it helps others find you easily, and it helps solidify a picture of you in their minds. To establish this, you might want to reserve your name on all social channels, and avoid nicknames and shortened names unless you use the variation consistently. Try and use the same profile photo across all channels as well.
5. Link all your social media platforms
To facilitate ease of discovery and to ensure that you are just a click away from your target audience, make sure to link all your social media platforms. Ensure that someone can find you as easily on Twitter as he/she can find you on LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, Instagram and WordPress.
6. Post every day
It takes hard work to build a followership quickly. Post every day to your most valued social profiles, and share your expertise and enthusiasm with others. You must take an active role on your social channels in order to gain influence and followers.
For example a research study has found that professionals that tweet more have the most followers. Research into the ideal frequency of posting to social media are Facebook (2 times per day), Twitter (5 times per day), LinkedIn (1 time per day), Google+ (2 times per day), Pinterest (5 times per day), and Instagram (1 – 2 times per day).
Sound like a formula that is possible?
Well, it’s best to take these types of research with a grain of salt because it really all depends on what platform you and your friends or followers are most active in and where you get the most engagement.
So it is important to find what media works best for you and your skill.
7. Make connections
Join a community, a chat group, or any other group to make connection with others. Be proactive by getting involved with your community. This will increase your visibility.
Here are some tips:
a) follow up with new connections you make promptly
b) connect the people in your network to each other,
c) ask your connections if there’s anything you can do for them,
d) stay in touch,
e) always follow through on your promises,
f) ask a lot of questions and listen,
g) tell people you’re excited to hear their stories, and
h) make yourself available for questions. Participate regularly in LinkedIn and Facebook groups, Google+ communities and Twitter hash tag conversations.
8. Monitor mentions of your name and reply as quickly as possible
People expect to be responded to as quickly as possible. When you do, you come across as an attentive and compassionate expert. Your follower will keep on returning to your social media page. It is ideal to response within 24 hours.
9. Define your brand
Use a consistent look and feel on all platforms. Your choice of colour, style and tone are branding aspects that should be consistent across all of your channels. For example, if you use a purple colour scheme on your personal website, use the same on your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. It makes you memorable and recognisable.
10. Get deep and discover you
Your audience will see through your façade if you are all smoke and no substance. To be established as an expert, you must indeed be an expert. Read extensively, follow other experts and see how they do what they do. Take advantage of all the information that you yourself can get for free online (this blog for example) to continue to grow your personal branding experience. Keep on figuring out what skills would add to your value, and then seek to acquire those skills.
Be persistent and never give up. Create the label you want for yourself, not the ones people put on you. Stay consistent with your message, image and tone of speaking (BRAND) and eventually you will be heard.
What are your thoughts? Have you heard any other fantastic advice out there that would help create a self-brand worth listening to?
Share in the comment area, I’m always looking there and ready reply to any interesting messages.