Today’s post is from our guest, Dawn Mentzer. You can learn more about Dawn in her author profile below the article.
Whether you’re a small business owner who is “the face” of your company or a professional looking to further your career, personal branding efforts on social media are a must.
What is personal branding, exactly?
It involves how you present yourself online to potential clients and customers. It centers on you as an individual and serves to build your business.
As you know, carving out time to meet for coffee, attend a chamber of commerce mixer, or even talk on the phone can pose a challenge when you already don’t have enough hours in the day. Putting yourself out there on social media offers the opportunity to engage with others near and far — more frequently, and when it suits your schedule.
Can social media replace quality face-to-face or voice-to-voice conversations? I say no. But the reality is that in this time-crunched, convenience-driven world, a strong online personal brand is a necessity rather than an optional add-on to your marketing and networking strategies.
What Do You Have to Gain?
- Increased awareness of your expertise
- Increased awareness of your skills and capabilities
- New connections
- Online word of mouth
- A reputation as a thought-leader and expert in your field
All of the above can lead to more credibility, more interest in your business, and more opportunities.
What Can You Do to Enhance Your Personal Brand on Social Media?Consider on which social media platform your target audience spends time before you spend hours of effort. Click To Tweet
1. Seek to Connect With the Right People and Organizations
“Right” doesn’t mean “rich,” “powerful” or “famous.” The “right” connections are individuals, companies, and business organizations with whom you want to raise awareness of your value and forge a relationship. They might be existing customers, prospective customers, project partners, vendors, influencers in your industry, local community leaders and professionals in businesses that provide services that complement yours.
2. Choose Your Social Media Platforms Carefully
Before you spend the hours and effort to set up social media accounts or update your existing profile information, consider on which platforms your target audience spends time: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus, LinkedIn? The best social platforms for you will depend on the type of work you do or the products you sell. For example, the owner of a catering business might find Pinterest or Instagram exceptional social networks because of their visual nature; whereas an IT consultant might discover they’re a waste of time. For most people, I believe you can’t go wrong with LinkedIn because of its intended purpose to connect professionals with other professionals and facilitate business relationships.
A word of caution: Don’t jump on more platforms than you can handle. If you sign up for too many, you’ll find it difficult to maintain them and risk digital burnout.
3. Demonstrate Your Expertise and Show Your Personality
By posting content that you or your company has created and content from others in your industry, you can show that you are at the top of your game. The key is to carefully choose what you share to ensure you’re giving your connections a reason to continue to follow and engage with you on social media. Select content that will educate, inform, update and entertain based on your connections’ interests.
As you’re doing this, be yourself. After all, online conversations can often lead to face-to-face discussions, so don’t put on an inauthentic air in your social media posts. Demonstrate your genuine persona, so people aren’t taken aback when they meet you in person and wonder, “Who the heck is this?”
4. Think Before You Post — and Then, Think Again
So, there is one mistake people sometimes make as they show the real them on social media.
They neglect using appropriateness filters.
Yes, you have the right to express your opinions on any topic — freedom of speech, free country, etc. — but realize you will turn off (or even infuriate) some people within your online network in the process. Addressing hot-button issues such as politics and religion on social media typically lead to shouting matches and name-calling rather than cordial discussions. Further, venting about clients, vendors or work-related woes could drive potential opportunities away and give you the reputation of “whiner.”
Take a moment before you post any status update, tweet or comment on other people’s updates — and think about your intent. If you’re sharing it because you want to get it off your chest, dispel anger or get back at someone, you should probably nix the thought and engage later when you’re in a less inflamed state of mind.
5. Be Consistent — and Responsive!
To stay top of mind with your connections, post on your social media channels regularly. Different platforms demand varying levels of activity to ensure you don’t slip “out of sight, out of mind.” For example, the fast and furious nature of Twitter requires multiple tweets daily to stay on the radar, whereas more than one update per day on LinkedIn might appear pushy to contacts.
When others share, retweet, reply to and comment on your posts, acknowledge their engagement by responding to them (with a reply or — at the very least — a “like”). These gestures of goodwill will help encourage them to continue interacting with you in the future.
Your Personal Brand — It’s Personal and Business
The brand you build around yourself as an individual will help differentiate you from other professionals in your industry. It will help your business stand out, as well. People like to do business with people — not some faceless logo. By giving your personal branding the attention it deserves, you can earn trust and new opportunities for you as an individual and your company.