Sharing online allows you to craft an online persona that reflects your personal values and professional skills. Even if you only use social media occasionally, the content you create, share or react to feeds into this public narrative. How you conduct yourself online is now just as important as your behavior offline.
Building your personal brand on social media takes some work, but it could land you your next job opportunity or help you to foster valuable connections. Follow the ten steps below to ensure your online branding is working for you.
1. Fully Update Your Social Media Accounts
Decide which social media account(s) you are going to focus on, and delete any old accounts that you are no longer using. For the networks you will be using, make sure all of your information is complete and accurate. This will help you to build traffic to the networks you want to showcase your work. It can also remove any potential “questionable” content from years past that doesn’t have a positive effect on your professional image.
2. Identify Your Area of Expertise
Everyone’s an expert at something – whether it’s content marketing or having an encyclopaedic knowledge of your favorite TV show. Is it time for you to experiment a bit more? What type of content have you created that your followers have responded to most? Can you replicate this with other similar content? The more unique and engaging content you create on your chosen topic of expertise, the more your followers will start to think of you as a leader in your chosen field.
3. Make Posting Easy with Apps
Forgotten passwords, busy day jobs and content creation; maintaining an online presence can be time-consuming; but there are many social media apps at hand to make life easier. Sprout, Buffer, and Hootsuite all connect to your social media networks and allow you to cross-post across different social networks and schedule posts; removing the need to login to multiple websites. Most major social media networks, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are compatible with these applications.
4. Share Content On a Regular Basis
In the early days of social media, the more you posted, the more engagement you could drum up. Today, however, over-posting leads to fatigue and annoyance. You want to keep the lines of communication open with your audience, but you also don’t want to overshare so much that you look desperate. The sweet spot is posting around 3-4 times per week for individuals.
As Michael Noice, founder of Entrepreneur Coach, explains, “A once-weekly Twitter post or monthly Instagram photo are not going to accomplish much, if anything. For this reason, its best to focus on two or three carefully chosen social networks and try to be active on them, rather than posting sporadically to a half-dozen.”
There will be days when you don’t post, and that’s perfectly fine. Analyse the data associated with your posts and identify a pattern that works for you. If you’re having trouble finding content to share and want more insight into what’s popular among users, try searching via hashtag on Twitter, using news aggregator sites like Feedly, or signing up for Google Alerts.
5. Create & Curate Engaging Content
Reposting (or curating) others’ content is always a smart thing to do, but it’s not all you should be doing to build your personal brand. You also need to share content that you’ve written yourself, to demonstrate your expertise within your industry. This type of content shows you have knowledge of the latest trends in that industry and how it is evolving.
Creating engaging content means taking a fresh 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 engaging tidbits about your personal life (topics such as travel, hobbies, etc.are suitable). After all, social media is about individuals first. Sharing some of this information provides your audience with a glimpse of who you really are and what you’re about – just ensure you don’t overshare or make it all about you.
If you want to talk about your employer online, make sure you access your company’s social media guideline before doing so. Many companies encourage employees to share their content, but others can be very strict in prohibiting employees from advocating for their brand. Contact your HR department for more information.