Personal branding through social media – the top 4 rules to success (part 2)
In my last post I discussed the benefits to personal online branding and why every business professional should consider their online brand to generate more value from their social media use. Here are my top 4 rules and methods to live by when it comes to developing your personal brand and maintaining a strong online presence.
Rule #1 - Expose YourselfAs I mentioned in my recent webinar, your online success will hinge on how transparent you are with the online communities you interact with. It is very important to let your personality shine through and to not pose as someone you are not. "Exposing Yourself" covers many areas of communication including your writing style, the content you prefer to share, the advice/guidance you provide others with, the opinions you share and lastly your image - photographs of yourself for your profiles. When it comes to these facets of online communications, you want to keep these consistent throughout the social media channels you are using.
There are of course unwritten rules to abide by when it comes to communicating through social networks, particularly when you are using social media for business and professional reasons. Consider the following as guidelines for communicating on social media for business:
- Avoid referencing your viewpoints on religion, sexual orientation, martial or political beliefs and other subjects that could be grey areas
- When adding new connections, always give a reason as to why you wish to connect
- Respond quickly to engagement - this could be the difference between securing a lead and losing them to a competitor
- Avoid typos and digital 'lingo'- even if you're communicating on your smartphone, this is no excuse to have typos and LOLs in your messages
Rule #2 - Share Relevant ContentWhen developing and building your personal brand, you’ll want to determine your area of expertise and how you want to position yourself to the online community. Once you determine your 'angle', then you can start to source content from relevant industry websites and blogs to share. In order to get the most value from social media for your personal brand, you want to ensure that the majority of the content you push out relates to the type of people you wish to connect with. For example, if I am working in Digital Marketing and am looking to expand my network in this field, I am going to be posting content that pertains to Digital Marketing, Social Media, Technology and so on. Social media is self-serving in that people will typically seek to connect with thought-leaders in similar industries to learn from them and keep informed; sharing relevant content on a consistent basis will help you grow to that point.
Rule #3 - Quality vs. QuantityWith social media and digital branding tools it's all about quality over quantity. I cannot stress this enough as oftentimes I see people get discouraged from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other digital tools all because they do not have enough fans, followers etc. One of the keys to getting value from social media is to be patient with the growth of your network. If you put in the time and effort to organically build your presence, you will find that after a few months of persistence it will start to pay off.
Working in Digital Marketing, the quality vs. quantity debate is one of the most common misconceptions I face with clients; often times I will hear "I want to have 500 followers on Twitter in 3 months"...which is good to have ambition and goals but I always let my clients know that you want to make sure those 500 followers are mostly in relevant industries/professions and not just random accounts. Getting value from social media is all about working smart and if you can ingrain this rule in your social regimen, then you will be on the right track to growing a very successful and beneficial personal brand.
Rule #4 - Champion ConsistencyAn inactive account means death in the digital realm, if you can't be heard, well, unfortunately you won't be found. Consistency varies depending on the type of social media account you are using and also refers to the type of content you are pushing out. When we talk about consistency online we are talking about the frequency of posts AND the relevance of the content you are sharing. You want to build consistency in both areas so for the following social media tools try to consider the following when posting content:
- Facebook: Share new content relevant to your business at least once per day, if you have more followers (over 100) up that to 2 to 3 posts
- Twitter: Tweet about 10 times per day, include a mix of @mentions, retweets and links to articles you find relevant and interesting to your industry
- LinkedIn: Update your profile once a month (your summary, work experience or applications), share news content at least 3 times per week on your profile
- Pinterest: If you are using this for branding you should be pinning at least 5 pins per day and use @mentions and Re-pins to help build engagement
- Blogs: If you own your own blog, ideally 2 to 3 posts / week is good, one post per week is also acceptable assuming you maintain other social networks
By following these 4 essential guidelines you will be able to champion your personal brand and build upon your digital presence in a matter of a few months. Personal branding through social media should be an exciting experience and an opportunity to grow your professional network. No matter what level of experience you are with social media, these digital guidelines will help you own your social media presence and help you build your digital brand.
About the Author – Sandy SykoraSandy is an experienced social media strategist and online branding consultant to B2B and B2C businesses across various industries. By day, she’s the Sr. Marketing Coordinator for North America at Drake International; by night, she becomes the ‘batwoman’ of social and digital strategy for her freelance consulting practice.