Do your social media profiles scream promotion, promotion, promotion? If so, you could be missing out on the true personal branding power that social media holds. At its best, social media will allow you and your business to be seen and heard as an expert in your field.
It allows you to measure your impact to see if your online campaigns are having the effect you desire. Promotion is only a small aspect of a social media strategy.
What Is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is a marketing practice to build a brand around your career and personal name. It’s all about creating a persona and marketing yourself as an expert in your industry, which is why people should trust you and your opinions.
However, how do you know when you’re a trusted source in the industry? And more importantly, how do you use social media to build your own brand?
To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.
Author of The Brand Called You
Importance Of Social Media & Personal Branding
You may not realize it, but every social media profile you own is promoting you. What are your profiles saying? Are you representing the brand that is you professionally? We no longer live in a world where our personal profiles are off limits. If you are putting it out there, people are checking and evaluating.
Developing a personal brand on social media is important because it can grow with you. Whether you switch jobs, start a second business or self-publish a book, each of these milestones fall under a personal brand and get you recognized as a public figure instead of being tied to a specific business name.
Putting more effort into personal branding will allow you to easily branch out into other endeavors without having to build an audience from the ground up. Do you see the power?
Personal Branding Recognition
Social media profiles are one of the easiest and fastest ways to build a personal brand and become recognized as a public figure with many skills, products and services. Let’s look at Elizabeth Gilbert as an example:
Elizabeth Gilbert is a personal branding social media rock star. Aside from the popularity of her books, making brilliant use of social media to build her brand has contributed greatly to her success. Gilbert writes everything from essays to short stories.
She also commits to public speaking engagements and recently developed a creativity workshop. She is able to continue to grow and expand into different areas because she built a personal brand rather than a specific business.
Is her Facebook Page called Eat, Pray, Love? No. It’s Elizabeth Gilbert–Public Figure. When she writes a new book, has a speaking engagement with TED or starts a new course, she does not have to rebrand or begin a new Profile. Any venture she undertakes leads back to her personal brand.
So how do you make that happen with personal branding on social media? How do you keep your branding consistent across platforms? And how do you meet your broader social media goals?
Here are 10 personal branding secrets of social media masters that will help you answer those questions:
1. Be Consistent With Your Profile
Would someone immediately recognize you from Facebook to Twitter to Google Plus? If you have different images of yourself on each platform, you lose the element of consistency and possibly recognition. Perhaps your LinkedIn profile picture up to date, but your Facebook profile image is from three years ago.
A good first step is to check your profiles and make sure you have a consistent and professional headshot. Lose that picture of you drinking in a bar with your college buddies. And while you’re at it, you want to get rid of logos too. Remember, you are branding yourself, not one of your businesses.
Neil Patel does this beautifully. He has a clean shot in front of a white background and uses the same professional picture across his profiles.
2. Be Consistent With Your Tone
Aside from keeping your pictures consistent, you need to develop a tone or voice that is true to you and your brand, then stick with it. Gary Vaynerchuk dishes out bold no nonsense advice in all his posts and videos. When you encounter his social media shares, you know that nothing is going will be sugar coated.
On the other hand, Nikki Elledge Brown tugs at her followers’ heartstrings with personal stories and applications. That’s why followers describe her as down-to-earth and friendly.
3. Decide How You Want To Be Known
What do you want to be known for? What is your expertise? What sets you apart from others in your field? Now is the time to decide what’s your “thing” and establish yourself as an expert in the field. Remember that if you are online, you have a personal brand. Are you ready to cultivate it?
Jay Baer is the most retweeted person in the world among digital marketers because digital marketing is his speciality. Additionally, Baer has established himself as the go-to expert for all things digital marketing.
— Jay Baer (@jaybaer) June 13, 2016
4. Create Unified Image Templates
A great way to keep the look and feel of your brand consistent is to develop a style guide and social media templates. Creating social media post templates for different platforms such as your blog, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest saves time and presents professionalism.
You can use a site like Canva to create your templates. Choose fonts and colors that you can use continuously and fit across all your social networks.
When it comes to image sizes, use tools like Landscape to easily resize, crop and unify your social media images across all the different social networks.
5.Post Regularly Across All Channels
The best way to make sure you post regularly across social platforms is by using a social media content calendar and schedule posts. Using a content calendar will keep you from neglecting certain platforms while overrunning others.
Using a social media calendar will also free up time for you to run your business, rather than wasting time jumping from one social network to the other. Want to see what a month of your scheduled social media content looks like? Try Sprout Social for a free 30-day trial.
6.Engage With Your Followers
Once you have a consistent schedule created for your social media posts, you will have to make some time to get on platforms and engage with your followers. Answer questions, share your expertise and give back to those interacting with you.
Thank you for sharing! @SaraFHawkins
— Peg Fitzpatrick ✨ (@PegFitzpatrick) June 14, 2016
Peg Fitzpatrick commonly replies to her followers when they share her content. It’s the simple “thanks” that can get people even more engaged. Think of it as your audience has chosen to follow you out of all the thousands that they could follow. Honor that. Follow back when you can and be quick to respond and thank your fans.
7.Show Your Human Side
Aside from sharing your business ventures, people want to see you as a real human being. Don’t be afraid to show a behind-the-scenes peek into your life every now and then. It can feel vulnerable to show pieces of the real you, but people like to support those they feel they know and trust. Be as authentic as you can with your personal branding whether it is a picture of your home office, a video of your evening walk or snuggle time with a pet.
— Joe Pulizzi (@JoePulizzi) May 19, 2016
Joe Pulizzi shows us that posting a picture of you at an convention or industry event can be more sociable that promoting or repeatedly sharing content.
8.Monitor Who’s Talking About You
How is your brand being perceived and received? Who is talking about you and what are they saying? Are you being known for what you want to be known for? Set up Google Alerts for your personal and brand name to be alerted when someone online mentions you. Ask your audience for their feedback. Take criticism as a lesson and see what you can change or improve.
9.Document Everything About Your Personal Brand
Keep records of what you learn as you continue to learn the in’s and out’s of personal branding. Develop systems and strategies based on the feedback you receive. Documentation can include everything from your style guide and content schedules to your ideal follower personas.
Keeping documentation will help you grow as a brand while staying organized. Not only that, but this kind of organization will help you keep your sanity intact.
10. Continue to Learn & Grow
Social media is constantly changing and new methods pop up all the time. Though you may not be able to keep up with every social media trend, it is important to stay in the know.
— IWL Rutgers (@IWLRutgers) June 9, 2016
Take advantage of all the online information that you can get for free to continue to grow your personal branding experience. try to figure out what skills would make you more valuable. Once you have some ideas, try to research, watch online tutorial videos or take a class on the subject. It’s smart to be on top of those in your industry so make sure you subscribe some of the personal branding experts in your field.
The key is to become as valuable as possible to the marketplace and your fans. Using social media management tools to monitor, publish and engage with your audience will help you get to that “brand expert” status even faster.
Lori Hil: Lori Hil is a North Carolina native living abroad, capturing content, and sharing brand love. She mostly writes with a chihuahua on her lap and coffee close at hand from her base station in the Andes. She spends more time on Pinterest than anyone would care to admit and believes in the power of social media to change the world.
I have a question, if you don't mind. I've been a pro homeschool blogger for years with some social media freelance work on the side. My following on Twitter and Instagram is a healthy mix of homeschoolers and social media people. I recently started a social media business and am wondering if I should continue using my current social media accounts for this, or start brand new accounts (Twitter, Pinterest, Instragram) that are branded to my company's colors and such. Or should I just stick with the accounts I currently use?
@JenniferJames3 If you're looking to scale this new company and think that the audiences will be different, than it may be time to either start new company pages or convert the personal ones you have. Maybe it will be simpler to convert the existing ones and then create new personal pages for yourself. It's all up to you, although if you have an existing audience converting your accounts would be a great way to preserve that following and scale with your new venture as it grows.
@JenniferJames3 I agree with Rachael. If you want to keep the homeschool blogging side you may want to start new accounts, but if you truly want to move in the social media direction, it would be much easier to leverage your current audience. Either way can work, but it takes time to build up a new audience.
@blogbusterclub I'm so happy you found the tips helpful! Be sure to stop by Sprout Social Insights often to keep up with the new posts!
Having a personal brand is very helpful, it's like carrying your unique promise of value with you wherever you go.
@katrinamchua "your unique promise of value" that's a great point!
@PriyankaMylari So happy you found it helpful Priyanka! Is there a particular tip you want to implement?
@PriyankaMylari My pleasure, It was very helpful to me in forming my approach! Once I likened branding (today) to the challenge I faced with blogging five years ago I could see that it's possible; that if I did it once I can do it again. The branding arena seems more formidable than the blogging one, but hey - it's a challenge, and as I see myself as someone who loves a challenge, I'm okay with that! :-)
@lorihil All of them - starting form being consistent with Image and my Tone to engaging with my followers.
@Lori Yes - that is the word - Challenge and who doesn't love challenges ! I am working on starting my blog please do suggest me anything you think which can help a beginner. and did I tell you - I Loved reading your blog :-)
@PriyankaMylari Thanks for the feedback!
@PriyankaMylari You're starting a blog! That's great! I don't know how to advise you. Things have changed in the Blogosphere so much since I started mine in 2010! Then, connecting with others who were active blogging was the way to build an audience. Perhaps it is the same today but people are so busy :o
I'll tell you what; visit and comment on my blog and I will visit and comment on yours - let me know when you launch. Also, check out Triberr. You can find other great blogs there. If you join Triberr, invite me to one of your Tribes so I can find you and do the same.
What will be your theme/topic for your blog?
@Lori Thank You so much, theme and topics would be ME and my thoughts,experiences and learning's. will keep in touch..Long way to go and i have to start somewhere - thanks for your help, indeed it is a great booster.
@PriyankaMylari This Lori would suggest checking out my Blogging Success board on Pinterest. I save a ton of posts with blog tips. Also, be sure to stay tuned in with Sprout Social for new posts! https://www.pinterest.com/lorihil/blogging-success/ Happy Blogging!
Thanks for this Lori! I'm currently trying to reconcile all my passions (Blog, business, book-writing) so branding is really key for me. It's a completely different challenge from the one I faced five years ago when I started my blog! I do love a challenge, though.... ;-)
@Lori If you are like me, you had no idea what direction you wanted to go when you got started. But, that is the beauty of a personal brand- it can grow with you! Best of luck and thank you for your comment Lori!
This is very helpful, Lori. Thanks for laying this out so clearly.
~Barbara @ http://www.glutenfreehomestead.com
@Barbara I am so happy it was helpful to you Barbara! Heading over to check out your site! I can always use some gluten-free advice. Which personal branding tip was your favorite?