Personal branding on social media is an intimidating topic for some professionals and consultants. Maybe you’ve struggled with it, too. You want to be warm and approachable, but you don’t want to cross the line into oversharing. You want to be professional and polished, but you don’t want to be thought of as the boring guest at the cocktail party.
Choose Your Networks
The first thing to do when using social media to uplevel your personal brand is to decide how you want to be known. Pick one to three subjects you’d like to focus on, so you become THE Expert in those subject areas. And they should be things you’re excited about, because you’ll be sharing and writing about these topics for some time in order to become known as Subject Matter Expert.
You can have a profile on every social network if you want. But most professionals and consultants find their clients and cohorts stick to one or two social networks, depending on their industry or profession. If you’re in the training and development field, you’ll find Twitter and LinkedIn are traction builders. For someone in leadership at a design firm, you might find Facebook and Instagram are where your best clients hang out.
If you’re in a tech related field, you might find that your community prefers Twitter or Reddit instead. Don’t stress about this. Simply pick the two social networks where you get the most traction. These two social networks are ones to update daily.
Keep Your Social Media Profiles Consistent
Review your profiles on all your social media channels. Would someone who’s not familiar with your brand be able to tell you’re the same person? If not, it’s time to align your social media accounts. You’ll want to use the same profile picture, bio, and header image across all your social platforms. This makes it easy for visitors to recognize your brand, regardless of the social network they’re using.
Maintain an active profile on the most popular social networks in your industry – and your target audience, those people who need to know about you. Some networks are better for posting multiple times a day (like Twitter), while for others posting only 2-3 times a day (or week) works better. This is another reason you want to choose only one to three platforms; activity helps you gain traction with your target audience. And you want to be able to effectively manage the social media channels you choose.
A dormant account can negatively impact your online brand.
To determine the best posting frequency, run a few short experiments. This will help you discover how frequently you should post and what times work best for your followers.
If you’re not sure what to post, follow the 4 out of 5 rule. This rule means posting 4 pieces of content that are useful to your audience to every 1 piece of promotional content. Don’t be afraid to promote great content to your followers, even if you didn’t write it. When you’re the one that shares the latest news in your industry, followers will view you as the go-to source on trends and news in your industry. Curating great content counts.
Once you gain some traction on social media with your personal brand, look for communities of like-minded professionals or your ideal client tribe. Facebook and LinkedIn have groups. Twitter has lists and chats, like #lrnchat for learning pros and #TwitterSmarter and #SocialROI for social media fans. But they all mean pretty much the same thing – they’re an online gathering of people around one central subject, whether that subject is learning and development, social media, HR, healthcare, etc.
The great thing about groups is that they give you a chance to form connections with other members and give them value. It’s also an easy way to do customer research and create your own professional learning network. You can discover what questions your audience frequently asks, what they struggle with, and what they would love to know more about.
Using social media to brand yourself and enhance your online reputation is a smart idea. Just remember to post and share valuable content that benefits your target audience.
CTA: Struggling with your personal brand? Join me July 11th, for “Leveraging Your Personal Brand to Propel Your Career” , an online program in partnership with the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Hope to “see” you there!
© Wendy Terwelp / www.knocks.com / All rights reserved.
Wendy Terwelp is an award-winning career expert and personal branding strategist who works with high-performing leaders and organizations who want to advance careers, rock networks, and up-level their brands online and off. Follow her @wendyterwelp.