Having a personal brand, whether you’re job hunting, running your own business or at any stage in your career, is essential. It’s what separates you from the rest of the pack and helps build important connections that boost your growth and development.
One of the best ways to enhance your personal brand is through social media. Just as social has given rise to the likes of influencer marketing, there are opportunities across a wide variety of networks in which to build and enhance your personal brand.
However, before you get too carried away, you should be aware of the following social media trends (and to some degree, expectations) — they’ll greatly impact how you’ll want to launch and run your personal brand campaign.
1. Embrace authenticity
How important is authenticity on social media? Look no further than the aforementioned influencer industry, which has embraced genuine perspectives. If you really want to connect with your audience, you, too, have to consistently be 100% yourself.
“A great personal brand is one that is authentic and intrinsically connected to who you are as a person. It magnifies your talents and knowledge in a way that makes them appealing to a specific audience — in this case, your coworkers, clients, and extended network.”
Taking it a step further by honing in on the data, Sprout Social’s #BrandsGetReal report on “Social media & the evolution of transparency” was able to put numbers behind the ever-growing authenticity trend.
While the study itself may have been centered around businesses, there is much to be gained when it comes to adopting the same social media trends and expectations for your personal brand. And this is especially true if you’re well-known not just as an individual, but as a public-facing representative of a company as well.
Consider what the report found in regards to CEOs:
CEOs have the unique power to bolster transparency efforts on social and bring out the best in others. One third of consumers say they would purchase more from brands whose CEOs demonstrate transparency on social. By setting an example of transparency, CEOs can lead the charge in empowering their employees to share and advocate authentically for the brand on social.
#BrandsGetReal: Social media & the evolution of transparency
So, what does authenticity on social media look like in action?
Famed entrepreneur and businessman Gary Vaynerchuk suggests that you “Document. Don’t create.” This could be sharing your successes and failures, discussing a journey, giving your opinion or letting people see what your daily life is like, both inside and outside work.
You also could use Sprout’s 2018 Index for inspiration. For example, the type of posts most likely to earn engagement and shares from brands are those that entertain, followed by posts that inspire and posts that tell a story. All of which translate well when considering content for your personal brand strategy.
2. Keep organized
What does calendar management have to do with social media and personal branding? Broadly speaking, it ensures that you’re able to maintain and map out the content you’ll be sharing across your social media accounts. Because you’re going to need to create and share multiple types of content — including video, podcasts, selfies, and mobile-friendly articles — a calendar will guide your efforts.
For example, a calendar will make sure that you block out time in your schedule to brainstorm and devise content. After it’s been created, you’ll then use your calendar to determine when that content will go live. It enables you to group like-minded content and themes in campaigns to keep engagement high. In short, it provides some much-needed structure to your social media strategy.
Additionally, it provides an overview of your content schedule so you can keep tabs on what’s been published and track how it’s performing. And, most importantly, it encourages accountability — which is important, considering that around half of marketers are making up their social media plans on the fly.
Once your content is off and running, reap the benefits of planning while also saving time by using Sprout to automatically schedule posts during the most optimal times. But for now, learn more about the best times to post on social media to get a feel for when users are most engaged across various networks, or learn how to easily create your social media calendar.
3. Stories aren’t going anywhere
In 2013, Snapchat introduced the world to Stories. Since then, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp and YouTube have joined in on the fun and for good reason. As noted in Fast Company, research shows that “Stories are growing 15 times faster than newsfeeds. More than one billion users are already hooked on the format.”
While the look of Stories is all relatively similar across each platform, the biggest consideration you’ll want to make is determining the type of content that fits each network’s audience.
For those on Facebook and Instagram, you may be able to double dip using a tool like Sprout rather than spending time going into each account, while the likes of WhatsApp and YouTube may demand something a little different. This will also vary depending on what you’ve established for your personal brand.
Bottom line: If you haven’t adopted Stories yet, it’s time to incorporate the format into your strategy to take your personal brand to the next level.
4. Don’t limit yourself to just Facebook
Around 69% of U.S. adults use Facebook, so there’s plenty of reasons to make sure you’ve staked out your social presence on the platform. However, there are plenty of other opportunities to expand the reach of your personal brand across other networks. You don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to establish your voice on Twitter and LinkedIn as well.
Twitter, as Dakota Shane, co-founder of Copy Buffs, explains in Inc., is ideal for developing thought leadership by sharing the content you’ve created, as well as your thoughts on current events. t’s a great platform for sharing brief, easily digested updates that can quickly grab an audiences’ attention.
LinkedIn, on the other hand, can help you establish meaningful professional connections through narrative-style posts, such as telling the story of how you overcame a challenge in your career. On LinkedIn, you can repurpose some of the longer-form content you might have shared on Facebook and gain the readership of a more targeted professional audience.
5. Embrace social media automation on your profiles
Artificial intelligence is changing the way we conduct business across all types of industries. We’re seeing this with the increased use of chatbots on social media. While chatbots are an obvious answer for customer service, they’re also great for individuals who want to build stronger relationships with audience members. For instance, these bots can generate leads and revenue, by providing after-hours support and steering users in the right direction.
Let’s say that someone wants to know what services you offer or whether you have any upcoming speaking engagements. The chatbot could then send them to your “Services” or “Events” page. As a result, you’ll save crucial amounts of time and money while being able to connect with many more interested audience members.
More promising, AI can learn more about your audience and make smart suggestions. For example, as tools powered through machine learning advance, you could easily identify the content people engage with the most, as well as pinpoint when and where to share this content. Sprout’s ViralPost is one example, as it analyzes your followers’ engagement with your posts to identify a customized optimal posting time for your content.
6. Build a robust community on social media
“Building community is one of the most rewarding and wonderful ways to launch and grow a brand,” wrote Forbes contributor Goldie Chan. “After all, if your community doesn’t feel a connection to you or to each other, it’s much less likely they will engage in with your content or purchase your products.”
Private communities have been a major social media trend emerging throughout 2019. Business Pages on Facebook can now participate in Facebook Groups, giving brands a way to directly connect with their most dedicated followers.
These passionate fans are equally interested in keeping in touch with brands through more exclusive communities like Facebook and LinkedIn Groups. According to research from the Sprout Social Index 2019, 46% of consumers join private groups specifically to communicate directly with a brand or business.
Among other benefits, private groups can help your personal brand get feedback from the most passionate fans and present content without worrying about algorithm changes. This is one of the reasons some influencer accounts on platforms like Instagram have chosen to switch their accounts to private. Because FOMO has a strong psychological pull, you can use this to your advantage by creating private and exclusive accounts and groups.
While using social media is a given to strengthen your personal brand, it can get overwhelming. However, these trends should guide you in creating the right content, as well as assist you in engaging with your audience. They’ll also keep your efforts organized and ensure you’re not spending every waking moment on social — after all, your personal brand will be pretty boring if you’re not actually doing anything.
Personal branding trends are evolving constantly, but it’s important that you take the time to invest in yourself and make sure you are doing everything you can to build a personal brand that stands out.