This month’s guest blogger is Alyson Reay of Sassy Social Marketing, a UK based full-service Social Marketing Business that specializes in everything from social media auditing and social media management to off and online content strategy. Here, Alyson shares five steps for enhancing your personal brand through social media.
“To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You” *
* Tom Peters, ‘author, speaker, professional agitator’ knows a thing or two about personal branding. His best known work “In Search of Excellence” was, for a quarter of a century, the most widely held library book in the United States.
His personal brand is so strong, that his ‘About’ page on TomPeters.com is a series of quotes and accolades about him from some of the world’s best known commentators and publications. He doesn’t need to say anything about himself, it is all about how he is perceived by others.
His personal brand is reflected in what people say about him. Just the same as you.
Extending Brand You on social media
The most common barrier to growing Brand You online that I see, is the disconnect: a lack of consistency between what I know of the person and their business offline, and what they show of themselves online.
With very few exceptions, when professional and business people tell me that social media is not working for them, I can see that they are reinforcing their personal brand attributes such as professional credibility, reputation and presence by sharing, aka broadcasting, their knowledge and expertise. These elements are essential, in moderation.
Sadly, broadcasting is not what social media is for, and the style of posting is often far too ‘corporate’ and formal, and not a true reflection of the individual’s personal brand.
“One of the most overlooked aspects of social business and social media is the power of the personal brand… many marketers and business leaders wrongly assume that personal branding is only for those looking to be ‘famous’… this couldn’t be further from the truth.” – Pam Moore, digital marketing guru.
Respect, reputation and personal influence online follows once the social aspect of social media has been embraced. It speaks for itself.
Tapping into the personal brand attributes of personality, values and personal style is essential in demonstrating who you are, preceding what you know and what you can do. This part is often missing.
It’s a cliché, but it works. On social media “don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle”.
It’s about creating a buzz (or sizzle) around who you are. Show the person behind the brand. It’s the online equivalent of the handshake, the eye contact and the body language that establishes how people feel about you.
Very few of us are doing or selling anything unique. Your differentiator online is you.
Once you’ve caught your followers’ interest, they will want to know more about you. That’s when they start reading the content you post, they check out your bio, share your posts, respond to you, ask you questions and click through to your website.
It all boils down to engagement. Engagement with your online audience demonstrating who you are, and the personal qualities and values that you represent.
Here are my top Sassy tips for establishing your own personal brand on social media:
1. Tell your followers what they can expect from you
Decide what you are going to share in two or three areas of focus. These don’t need to be all about your professional expertise, in fact it is best to mix it up with other areas of human interest that show your personality. Reflect this in your social media bios, so they know what they can expect to hear from you.
Here’s mine: “Sea loving, scuba diving, crazy cat lady, helping you make a success of your social marketing.”
It is a very individual choice on how much personal content to share – only you can set the line between sharing personal content and showing personality.
2. Be consistent
Ensure that your social media profiles are consistent and therefore recognisable across multiple platforms. This includes the visual feel of the brand, through the use of graphics in social media headings, backgrounds and posted content. Use a clear headshot photo where possible, ensuring that you are recognisable. Also be consistent in your style of language and tone.
3. Be regular
It is important to keep showing up on social media, daily, even several times a day depending on the platform. It’s too easy to get busy and not remember to post for a few days. So use a scheduler to ensure you have some sort of a presence each day. Recommended posting frequency on a few key sites is:
Facebook: one to two times a day
Twitter: three to five times a day
LinkedIn: once a day
And don’t forget to mix up your scheduled posts with ad hoc posts, observational, where you are going, what you are doing. Watch for trending topics and post something current and relevant.
4. Be social and engaging
Take a look at what other people are posting and take time to reply, ask questions or simply ‘like’ a post. Be generous in sharing others’ content.
You will soon be overwhelmed, on Twitter at least, with a busy timeline so use Twitter lists to ensure that you can engage with the most influential people in your community, or those you want to develop and maintain a relationship with. Make sure that your posts are not all broadcasts and no conversation.
Take time to track replies to your own posts, to thank people and to respond to their comments within 24 hours, preferably sooner. But don’t fall into the trap of constantly reacting to social media alerts, set time aside maybe twice a day to do this.
5. Be community minded
Find suitable online communities to join and participate in, from Twitter chats to Facebook and LinkedIn groups. Become somebody that other members expect to show up. A loyalty will be established and they will support your social media efforts with engagement and sharing of content.
Above all, be authentic. There must be no disconnect between your offline and online personal brand.
Be interested as well as interesting.
You can find out more about Alyson Reay and Sassy Media Marketing at sassysocialmarketing.com