Have you felt that social media consumes way too much time and energy? Have you become sick of seeing your friends’ holiday pictures on your newsfeed? Do you get annoyed at notifications on your phone from your social media apps?
If you said yes to any of the above, then you are not making your Social Media work for you. Yes, you can make it work for you – provided you use it optimally in a way that enhances your personal brand.
When Orkut and then later Facebook burst onto the scene a decade and few years ago, we were all thrilled with the possibilities of connecting with family and friends over the internet. People were going gaga connecting with high school crushes and a new social order was born. Since then, social media channels have come a long way. (My earlier post about the different kinds of Social Media Channels)
We all now have at least 3-4 social media accounts and use them with varied frequencies. I am very active on Facebook – posting and sharing and commenting and liking on others’ posts; a regular spectator on twitter and tweeting randomly only when I think I have something worthwhile to say; I browse Linkedin occasionally but connect with all and sundry for developing professional network; maintain a presence on Instagram because the next generation is all there; opened a Snapchat account and deleted the app within days since I was clueless about how to use it and all that zinging videos were too much for my tired eyes. Most people sail in the same boat with varying levels of activity across their SM channels.
Advantages of Social Media in Building a Personal Brand
Whether you are a housewife, a working professional, a startup founder, a talented musician, a budding artist or the regular IT guy – you can use social media to enhance your brand image. Personal branding is often maligned as a bad word and imagined as being boastful or pompous but really its all about projecting one’s best self for others to see and appreciate and Social Media is the best place for that.
Some of the benefits of building a brand name are:
- Association with a product/service niche
- Greater credibility
- Status of being an authority on a subject
- Leadership opportunities
- Partnership prospects
Ways to get Social Media to work for you
Follow these ground rules to get Social Media to assist you in personal brand building:
Make it a habit to write a post or tweet once a day or twice a week. This keeps your name in people’s minds and also over time people will realize what your views are and what you represent. Your brand will get associated with certain things over time. Only with consistency will your brand value improve over time. You could write about what you read, what movies you watch or your passions and interests. You could also write about latest trends and developments in your field of expertise.
Be Channel Appropriate
Know which channel is meant for what purpose and use it accordingly. Your Linkedin profile is for Professional Networking – so don’t post pictures from last night’s party there. Post images from seminars and conferences you attend on Linkedin.
Open a Facebook Page for talking about your business or hobbies. Do not use your personal profile to always talk about your work, especially if you are selling something. That is a surefire way to get people to block you. My earlier post on Facebook Page Vs Profile – Know the differences
Have a Point of View (POV)
Contribute to discussions with a valid point of view. Many people just lurk on social networks without offering their opinions on anything. And make sure that you stay reasonably politically correct too. Most people would have heard of this American woman who posted a racist tweet from a flight only to find that she had been fired from her job over that when she got to work. Employers do care for their reputation so be mindful of what you post.
But most importantly, have a POV in your posts, especially on the subjects that are of professional interest to you. Many people make the mistake of just sharing links to news articles to show that is of interest to them. This works only if it’s “Breaking News” but for most other information it brings little value without adding your POV. It need not be a long post…just a few lines on what you think on that subject enhances credibility and trust factor.
Make connections with influential people in your area of interest. This will help with understanding what content is of interest to people in that group. But making connections does not mean just sending them a “friend request” out of the blue. Engage with their posts regularly and establish a rapport. It is important to contribute. Ask questions, offer tips and generally be seen as a selfless expert.
One easy way to find people who share similar interests is to join Groups. On Facebook and Linkedin, there are groups that accept members who share the same interest and posts on these groups tend to to be only about that interest area. This is a great way to access content and find influencers.
Keep your profile consistent across public Channels
Maintain a consistent profile across all your SM channels that are for public viewing. Facebook page, Twitter handle, Linkedin profile should all have the same descriptions and imagery. I am a karaoke singer on Smule Sing! and have a Facebook Page dedicated for videos of my recordings. I maintain this separately from my professional area of interest, which is Social Media Marketing. Yet, I do include that information even in my professional channels and resume too. It is a part of who I am and adds a certain value to my image of being a multi-talented personality. And notice that I smartly inserted a link to my FB page here.
Try and keep the same id/handle on all your SM channels so it will be easy for others to locate you. This also adds to your Google search results. When someone searches for your id on google, having multiple channels show up under that name adds credibility to your personal brand.