Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How to Build Your Personal Brand with Social Media

In a world where social media rules, we have all become brands. Everything that we say and do on social channels ultimately tells others what we are all about. Consider social media activity the 2.0 version of nonverbal communication. Everything you Like, Share, Comment on, Pin or Retweet expresses things about you. This can be both a blessing and a curse especially when you want to establish yourself as a thought leader or credible resource in a particular industry. You have to be aware that every public online action you take helps build your personal brand. So, how can you be sure you are building a good personal brand with social media? Here are a few ways that I would like to share based on my own personal hits and misses.

Everyone and their mom (literally) are on Facebook, so how can you use Facebook to begin to establish yourself as an authority in a particular industry? Publish useful content in a conversational tone! If you really want to begin to be known for expertise in a certain area, you have to show that you know your stuff. I recommend leveraging your favorite industry blogs and openly discussing them. Educating other people is a great way to begin laying a foundation of authority. Keep in mind that not all of your Facebook friends will be interested in your “work stuff” so try not to flood them with information they might not care about. If you truly want to focus on your own brand and industry, you might want to consider creating a Brand Page to avoid annoying folks. You will want to be sure to demonstrate that you are knowledgable without losing a sense of who you really are. This is why people want to be your friend anyway, right? Also consider finding or opening a Facebook Group where likeminded people can come together and trade industry tips. Mixing up these approaches will allow you to build industry credibility and not annoy you friends at the same time.
Twitter has become my personal favorite way to build my personal brand. The fast paced dynamic of the social channel makes it great for sharing blogs, thoughts, funny tidbits and interact with other users without annoying people. While you can absolutely annoy people on twitter, it is much harder to do with the dynamic of the Twitter feed. I highly recommend creating a list of power users that you admire and pay attention to what kind of content they share. You will want to be sure to tweet out industry articles and include your own insights. Don’t be a robo-tweeter; add your thoughts and opinions into the 140 characters. Be sure to use appropriate hashtags so that your tweet will be findable for those who are doing Twitter searches. My absolute favorite tactic to build my personal brand on Twitter is to participate in Tweet Chats. These usually happen with webinars; however you can also find other standalone Tweet Chats such as #Brandchat. Tweet Chats really provide a platform for you to connect with like-minded people on Twitter to discuss a particular topic. The more you participate, the more you can earn credibility. Building a personal brand on Twitter takes a lot of time and effort, but if you do it right you can really build a solid following.
In my personal opinion, Google+ is very underutilized. Compared to other social channels it might seem to be a ghost town, however if you know where to look you will find some of the best thought leaders on the internet. Google+ Communities are great for identifying niches where you would either like to start a conversation or participate in one. If you look hard enough, I am confident that you will discover a community that will fit your interests. If not, you can start one and position yourself as the thought leader on Google+. Generally speaking, Google+ is like Twitter in that you have to be in it to win it. Commit to posting at least every day and be sure to include relevant hashtags in your posts. You never know who is searching for what YOU are posting about.  Another big point on establishing a personal brand on Google+ is Google Authorship. Be sure to set up your Google Authorship so that Google can recognize you as a knowledgeable author that pumps out great content.
LinkedIn should really the home base for your personal brand building. This is where you want to publish relevant industry articles, participate in discussions and leave your thoughts on the content other people post. One of my favorite features that LinkedIn has right now is the ability to endorse and recommend other people. Getting recommendations and endorsements can help those who view your provide get an idea about your skill set. Don’t neglect LinkedIn and don’t only get active when you are job hunting. It might not be as sexy as the other social channels; however LinkedIn is where thought leadership begins to grow.
There is one major point I have left out here. You have to be like-able. Nobody likes braggarts, obnoxious people or over-sharers. Do everything in moderation.

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