Our world has become chock full of social media networks in which we all are brands. All that you pin, re-tweet, share, like and comment on tells something about yourself to the world. While this can be a blessing as well as a curse, use the social media well so that it becomes advantageous for you and use it to establish yourself as a brand. It's a great opportunity to become a thought leader and an industry authority. How do you go about achieving this? In this post I'll explain how the social media networks can be used to build your personal brand and make you an authority in a specialized industry or business.
Build relationships, join communities: Use the social media to strengthen the relationships you have and establish new ones. On these networks you can join up with like-minded communities and begin conversations with them. When you get into a variety of communities you'll discover that the relationships you have established many a time result in fruitful collaboration as far as your brand and business are concerned.
Identify your aims: You must know clearly what you plan to gain from the social media. For example ask yourself these questions: Do you hope to sell directly through these networks, do you wish to gain publicity for your services/products, do you want to establish strong business relationships, are you aiming to get more traffic? The questions go on and on and will vary with every person wanting to use the social media for his/her gain. So identify what you want to get from it and then make the best choices.
Be consistent with your brand on all platforms: It's easy to use social media networks and this may tempt you to step out of line and be inconsistent with your line of communication. You must always remember that consistency is the key to success on the social media. Be disciplined when you get on it at your designated hour every day but use this powerful tool positively to enhance your personal branding. The worst you could do is to misuse something that helps you communicate with a huge audience at virtually no cost! The social media is a marketer's dream - so don't turn it into a nightmare.
Use networks to share your interests/yourself/your personal life: Even if it's a small thing like sharing family pictures, telling followers the great things you saw and did on your holiday, you can open up on the social media and let people get to know you better. Besides building trust, this gives your followers an opportunity to see who you really are. Since consumers are more likely to do business with a person they know well and trust, make the best of this avenue on the social networks.
The Importance of a Personal Brand
The Principal Platforms
â€¢ Facebook: Almost everyone's on Facebook so get on it quickly if you aren't on it already. It's the place to get yourself established as an authority in your industry. Publish content that's helpful, in a conversational style. Leverage your best-loved industry blogs and discuss them openly. By educating people you cement your position as a fount of authority. But don't flood your Facebook pals with information that won't interest them. You can create a Brand Page to avoid upsetting people. You can also open a Facebook Group where people can exchange business tips. A good mix of these two approaches will help you build credibility for your brand and at the same time refrain from annoying your friends.
â€¢ Twitter: Twitter is a fast moving and dynamic channel. It's terrific for sharing thoughts, blogs, tidbits and interaction. The twitter feed makes it hard for you to annoy people on this channel, which is recommended for making a catalog of power users you look up to and pay heed to the kind of content that they are sharing. You can tweet articles related to your industry with some of your own insights included. Don't forget to give your own opinions and use suitable hashtags to make your tweets findable by Twitter searchers. Participate in Tweet Chats.
â€¢ Google+: Google+ may seem to be underutilized but you'll find a few of the finest thought leaders there. Google+ Communities are terrific for spotting places where you can begin a conversation or take part in one. Look deeply and you will find a community that suits your interest. Otherwise start one yourself and show yourself as the thought leader on the channel. Post daily at least and include appropriate hashtags. And set up your Google Authorship so that the search engine sees you as a knowledgeable author who produces terrific content.
â€¢ LinkedIn: To build your personal brand, there's quite nothing like LinkedIn. On this channel you'll publish your industry articles, take part in discussions and give your thoughts on other people's content. A great feature of LinkedIn is the capability to support and propose other people. LinkedIn must not be ignored and don't just use it to get a job. It may not be very attractive compared to other social channels but it's the place where thought leadership starts to grow.
Tips at a glance:
â€¢ Not too personal - Don't include your personal problems like relationships in your posts. If it's personal, it must relate to your brand.
â€¢ Respond - The last thing you must do is to alienate your fans by failing to reply to them.
â€¢ Be personable - Your personality should come through nicely in your posts.
â€¢ Avoid automated DMs - Be human in your notifications.
â€¢ Personalized tweets - Make your tweets personalized. Make your personality an integral element of your brand.
â€¢ Don't over-tweet - Talk to the point. Don't be verbose.
â€¢ Be discerning with your hashtags - Be choosy and creative with your hashtags.
â€¢ Reply in time â€“The general rule across all social media is to reply in 24 hours or less.
â€¢ Talk business — On this network you link with people who will support your business/professional skills, not your other abilities.
â€¢ Personalize requests - Make your invitations personalized, don't send copy that this network provides.
â€¢ Be truthful — Don't behave like someone you are not. Give your correct designation/post.
â€¢ Spell correctly - On LinkedIn, professionalism and correct spelling are given top priority.
Here's what you should do on Instagram, the photo sharing social media platform
â€¢ No selfies please - Don't use Instagram to show off your pretty face. Nobody likes a person with a Narcissistic personality!
â€¢ Be inventive - You can show your creativity on this network, so don't miss the chance.
â€¢ Follow - You're still not that famous that you must not follow back people.
â€¢ Update habitually - Many people don't do this most basic of social media actions. You don't be one of them!
â€¢ Use accordingly - For different social media platforms you'll need different approaches. So use the requisite tools accordingly.
â€¢ Be polite - This goes without saying, but be courteous and polite with all those you network with.
It's tough to build up a reputation, especially when your objective is to get people to like and follow you. But it becomes easier than you think when you wisely use the social media if you have an authentic intention to help people and keep them informed and ultimately become a great person to know. However, the social media can be a double-edged sword if used wrongly. Then it will damage your reputation forever. Therefore, use the tips provided in this article judiciously and I'm sure you'll get success on the social channels.
Stephen Moyers is an active tech-savvy blogger who loves to write about online marketing, Social media marketing and various technology topics. He is currently associated with Spinx Digital, a Los Angeles based Digital Marketing Agency which provides a range of services like Social Media Marketing, Website Design & Development, Search Engine Optimization and many more. You can follow Stephen on Twitter.