When building your online persona, it's important to remember that authenticity is key. An honest reflection of the person behind the profile will give you an increased level of credibility online. You need to create an online persona that represents your values and the skills you want to show off.
Your social media contribution might seem minimal, but each post you publish or comment on has an impact on the public narrative. Your online behavior is just as important as your offline behavior.
Building a great personal brand on social media takes work and time, but it's worthwhile if you can use it to find your next job or grow your connections.
To make sure your personal branding is helping you, follow these 8 tips:
1. Refresh your social feeds
Before getting serious about investing time and energy into a social network, clean your list of unused accounts and remove any information that may be incorrect. If you're just dabbling in social media as a hobby, don't establish an account on every platform available yet.
You must be clear and concise when compiling your content for the various social platforms you'll be promoting it on. This will not only help boost traffic but will also encourage people to share it.
Make sure you edit your online footprint to remove anything questionable or inappropriate that might embarrass or hurt your professional image so you can better represent yourself professionally.
2. Decide on your specialty
Focusing on your expertise and investing in yourself will reap you many benefits as an individual or a business. Whether that's content marketing or getting to know your favorite TV show well enough to demonstrate it to others, we all put our time and effort into different things and can call ourselves an expert in that thing.
Isn't it about time you tried something new? What materials have had the most impact on your audience? Is it possible to do the same thing with different types of content?
The more unique and entertaining content you produce about your chosen industry, the more your followers will view you as a leader.
Maintaining an online presence is hard, particularly when you might forget passwords or be constantly busy with work. Thankfully, there are lots of social media apps out there that make it simple to share content. Apps make these tasks easier by connecting users with high-quality content creation and post scheduling tools.
3. Regularly distribute your content
Back when Facebook and Twitter first came out, the focus was on quantity over quality. Nowadays, however, it can be frustrating to see an excessive number of posts because they lead to boredom and irritation.
While maintaining open lines of communication with your audience, there’s a fine line between sharing just enough and sharing too much. For most people, publishing three to four times a week is the sweet spot—but that hugely depends on your audience, brand, and content.
Even if you take a day or two off of posting, that's totally fine - just identify a pattern based on the data linked to your social media posts. Utilize hashtags and RSS readers (like Feedly or Google Alerts) to find relevant and/or popular topics for future posts.
4. Create and curate engaging content
Establishing a personal and recognizable brand online is important for any professional or executive. Not only should you post other people's content that aligns with your values; share your own input as well. For one, this should demonstrate to others that you are up-to-date with the latest industry trends and news.
To better connect with your followers, it's always a good idea to also share personal thoughts and updates. Sometimes it might be hard to come up with new ways of engaging them, but creativity and outside-the-box thinking can help you create a deep connection via personal sharing.
If you find yourself feeling stuck for ideas, from time to time, don't be afraid to share a status about your accomplishments, an inspiring personal story, or some interesting anecdotes from your life (topics such as travel, hobbies, etc., are suitable).
On social media, it's important to be yourself when sharing personal details or industry news. With the former, you can make your audience feel like they know you better and what you stand for. Just don't over-share personal information where it could compromise your safety, and don’t make your social feed about only you.
Lastly, make sure you speak to someone in charge before posting anything negative or positive about your employer. Some employers will kindly allow employees to do this (especially when you spread the word about their products and services), but others may not be as open.
5. Import your contacts
It's hard to guess how many people you know on the social media platforms you're active on. There are probably tens or hundreds of people out there, so link up with old connections by importing their email address or phone number into your social accounts.
This gives you the chance to reconnect with friends and family that you don’t yet have on your profile, as contacts from your phonebook or email list can be imported into virtually all social networks.
6. Focus on the positive aspects of the situation
You should be using social media to make a good first impression, but what should you avoid doing to always maintain a good first impression?
To put it another way, your social media interactions are an extension of your professional profile and a reflection of your general demeanor.
If you can't avoid inflammatory remarks about religion or race, that could take its toll on your career. Steer clear of these issues to keep yourself out of hot water. Also, watch your language when posting about your political opinions. Be thoughtful and consider the feelings of those who might disagree with you or get offended.
Suppose you won't be able to express yourself as freely as you'd want on social media, set up two accounts: one for personal use (where you may say whatever you want) and one for professional purposes (in which your responses and shares are heavily calculated).
Immediate family and close friends should only see personal posts, while professional pages should be used to network and find new job opportunities.
7. Find and join groups
Thousands of groups exist on Facebook and LinkedIn that only focus on a certain industry or topic. Use the search box to browse for those related to your specialty, then join and share your opinion.
You're guaranteed to find someone who appreciates your thoughts, so you get to establish your personal brand's authority. Let’s not forget: you may be more likely to get a good response from your target audience by using smaller, topic-based communities rather than industry groups.
Joining a social media group can be a rewarding experience. Below are a few of the perks:
- Reach your objectives
- Be responsible for your actions
- Gather inspiration
- Get input from others
- Increase your self-esteem
- Increase your knowledge base
- Put your skills to the test
- Enhance your leadership and teamwork skills
- Be of service to others
- Meet new people
- Seek fresh possibilities
Join groups you're interested in and offer thoughtful feedback. Once you've joined a social media group, it's important to make an effort to contribute. Just be friendly and open in your dialogue.
Not being shy will ensure that you get all the benefits from joining a community, such as building your brand by being responsive with other members.
8. Practice consistency
A brand's narrative, voice, tone, and image are all based on a sense of consistency. It's imperative that your messages are in line considering what you want to project to your audience.
Fostering a good persona is really important, but staying true to that persona is even more critical. Stick with your own personal values because if you want people to remember and believe your ideas, you must be consistent in the way you communicate them.
For instance, if someone politically influential suddenly switched parties and political ideologies, they would probably lose support from those who agreed with them before.
These personal branding tips can give your brand a consistent voice without having to make many adjustments. If you also have a social media account for your company, you'll need to figure out how best to use both.
Managing public perception can be challenging, but it's always best to make sure you are following your personal or professional branding rules. One post with the wrong content can spoil an otherwise great reputation.