Creating a personal brand on social media is not easy. It requires a lot of thinking and research to be successful. It's not about what you look like or where you live, it's about what you stand for and what people should expect when they see you've posted a new piece of content. Follow the steps below to make sure your online brand works for you.
1. Update your social media accounts
Determine which social media account(s) you want to focus on and delete any old accounts you no longer use. For the networks you will be using, make sure all of your information is complete and accurate. This allows you to build traffic to the networks on which you want to show your work. It can also remove any possible “questionable” content from the past that will not have a positive effect on your professional image.
2. Identify your area of expertise
Everyone is an expert at something – whether it's content marketing or having an encyclopedic knowledge of your favorite TV show. What type of content have you created that your followers have responded to the most? Can you replicate this with other similar content? The more unique and engaging content you create for your chosen topic of expertise, the more your followers will think of you as a leader in your chosen field.
3. Make posting easy with apps
Forgotten passwords, busy jobs and content creation; maintaining an online presence can be time consuming; but there are many social media apps on hand to make life easier. Tweetdeck, SocialOomph, and Hootsuite all connect to your social media networks and allow you to post and schedule messages on various social networks.
4. Share content on a regular basis
In the early days of social media, the more you posted, the more engagement you could drive. Today, however, overspending leads to fatigue and annoyance. You want to keep the lines of communication open to your audience, but you also don't want to overshadow so much that you look desperate. A Twitter post once a week or an Instagram photo once a month won't do much. 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 half a dozen sporadically.
5. Create &maintain engaged content
Reposting other people's content is always smart, but it's not all you should be doing to build your personal brand. You should also share content that you have written yourself to demonstrate your expertise in your industry. This type of content shows that you are aware of the latest trends in that industry and how it is evolving. Creating compelling content means taking a new approach to the types of updates you share with your network. Don't be afraid to occasionally talk about your own achievements, or even add interesting tidbits about your personal life (topics like travel, hobbies, etc. are appropriate). After all, social media is about people first. Sharing some of this information will give your audience a sense of who you really are and what you're about – just make sure you don't overstate or make it all about yourself.
6. Import your contacts
You will be amazed at how many people you already know on the social media networks you use. There could be dozens or even hundreds of people you are not yet in a relationship with. Import your email contacts from Gmail or Outlook or contacts from your phone book to your social networks to find out how many connections you're missing. Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter all allow a free import of a certain number of contacts.
7. Keep it positive
You now know some of the things you should be doing on social media to build the best social impression for yourself, but do you know what not to do to keep that impression positive? Think of your social media interactions and content creation as part of a summary of your work and a reflection of your professional demeanor and overall personality. Avoid inflammatory religious or racial comments and use caution when making political commentary that others may consider offensive.
8. Search and join groups
Facebook and LinkedIn both offer thousands of opportunities to join groups focused on specific industries or topics. Use the search bar on each network to find groups associated with your specific area of expertise. Then you can share your insights and build authority around your personal brand. Keep in mind that industry groups may be crowded with your competitors, so smaller topic-based groups can be more fruitful when it comes to reaching your audience. Once you join social media groups, don't be afraid to get into discussions and share your insights.
9. Keep your brand consistent in voice, image and tone
You probably already realize that sticking to your defined persona is important. If a popular political commentator suddenly and radically changed parties, he would undoubtedly lose a lot of fans overnight. You also need to stay consistent with your ideas and the ways you present them so that you are memorable and trustworthy. Find the tone of voice that works best for your brand. It's not as easy as saying "I want to be funny", you have to develop your ideas further to support your approach.
10. Study influencers
Connecting and collaborating with influencers is a great way to get your brand known, but it takes time. You have to spend time developing relationships with them before they will see you as an expert. LinkedIn and Instagram are great places to find and engage other experts in your industry. Once you've found the best influencers in your area, analyze their networks, post content to determine what you could do better. Watch how their followers react to what they post and learn best practices from their personal branding strategies and execution.