These days, it’s a no brainer for businesses and organizations to have a presence on social media. It’s basic marketing. According to the Global Digital Report 2019, there were 3.48 billion worldwide social media users. The most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
A well run social media function can increase visibility, build trust, increase conversions and ultimately, increase your bottom line.
The business case for social media is clear, so why might you want to build your own personal brand through social media?
You want to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field but remain somewhat independent from your present job role.
If you do change roles in the future, you have already built your reputation and credibility on your social media accounts that can follow you no matter where your career takes you. By being a respected influencer in your area of expertise, you can also improve your career prospects too.
You are your brand. If you’re a consultant, freelancer, or entrepreneur, then you and your organization will be indistinguishable from each other in the eyes of the general public. It is often said that ‘people don’t buy from companies, they buy from other people’. While this isn’t always true, people definitely do not buy from people they don’t like. Almost 90% of customers are more likely to trust information from someone they know, then focussing on building that trust is vital to long term success.
Choose your platforms carefully
There are so many social media platforms to choose from these days, it would be a full-time job just to create content and manage them. Instead of running many accounts poorly, choose one or two to concentrate on and focus your efforts on building these.
Do your research and find out which channels your target audience use. There’s no point focussing all of your efforts on Facebook if your audience uses Instagram.
There’s a place for everyone, in 2019 the most influential person on Twitter was Taylor Swift. Number two was Donald Trump!
Find your audience and get involved
Once you’ve found out which platforms your target audience use, take it a step further and get involved. Find the relevant hashtags on Twitter and Instagram, join groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. You can start to build your credibility and engagement within these groups.
By building your own personal brand, you are giving yourself the opportunity to really be you. Take advantage of this. Don’t just blindly repost marketing messages. These days, Bill Gates posts about his charitable causes as much as he does about technology.
Solving the world’s toughest challenges—like fighting the worst impacts of climate change—requires lots of new ideas and talented people working across many fields. I’m glad to see this effort to support this important work. https://t.co/eeFpmXtgv9
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) January 6, 2020
Show people what you are passionate about. Are you a fitness fanatic? Then post about the benefits of physical activity or that marathon you’re training for. Passionate about climate change, sustainability or animal welfare? Then let people know, pass on some lobbying tips, get them involved in your cause.
By being authentic, you’re giving your audience a chance to get to know the real you, as well as opening up potential new audiences.
As Gandhi said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’.
Don’t be afraid to take inspiration from others
No one is suggesting you copy anyone else, but let’s face it, some are better than others at promoting themselves on social media. The same is true in the real world too. Some people are just natural self-promoters or find it easy to engage with people and inspire trust.
They may not even be the most knowledgable on their subject, but they do have excellent skills in this area (or they can afford to hire someone who does).
Find people you admire on your chosen platforms both from within your niche and other areas. Look at how they interact with people, what kind of content they produce and the engagement it gets. This can be your basis for building your own personal brand. In time, your confidence will increase and people will be researching you for inspiration.
Create engaging content
A lot of engagement on social platforms is ad hoc or responsive, which is great for keeping conversations going. However, you will also benefit from bringing a little strategy to your social media.
Put a content calendar in place so you can share your information in the most effective way. Change it up a little by sharing various types of content including blog posts, videos, infographics, and polls. Be sure to share other people’s content too, it’s a great way to build relationships and get them to share your content in return.
Learn what works best for each platform. For example, Facebook posts that include images receive up to 37% higher engagement rates than those with just plain text.
Be consistent too. Sending a Tweet once a week, or uploading a Youtube video every six months isn’t going to generate the engagement and momentum you want.
That’s not to say you can’t repost content, you can and should, but you want people to keep coming back for more.
Use social media management tools to make your life easier
Managing multiple accounts can be time-consuming and can really start to affect your personal and business productivity.
Luckily, there are many social media management tools you can use to help you.
From simple scheduling tools to full-blown engagement reporting and brand tracking, work out what you need from a social media management tool and go from there. Many apps have free versions or trial periods so you can try out a few different ones before you spend any money.
If you’re new to running your own social accounts, it may be best to start off with a simple scheduling app and build from there as your confidence (and hopefully your audience) grows.
Now you know the basics of creating your personal brand on social media, it’s time to go and do it. By following these tips and doing your research, you’ll be able to sidestep some of the most common mistakes people make. Success won’t happen overnight but by being consistent and engaging, you’ll start to see results soon.