Personal branding and how you present yourself to the world can be particularly important in B2B and professional services industries. But building a brand for yourself means more than putting a picture on LinkedIn and updating your work experience. It means the consistent posting of good content that engages your followers.
1. Choose Your Channels Wisely
A strong social media presence is crucial to improve your personal brand, but that doesn’t mean you should go out and make a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram account and aim to update them all consistently with your personal brand. It’s important to determine your specific needs and the needs of your intended audience before you create an account.
For professional services organizations and B2B businesses, Twitter and LinkedIn are usually the most relevant for networking with potential clients and other people in the industry. Facebook and Instagram are generally perceived as much more casual environments. These two outlets would make more sense if you were trying to connect with potential hires or reach out to friends about something interesting your organization is doing.
2. Add a Photo
It’s definitely not the only factor in building a brand, but it is an important one. A recent, professional photo of yourself will add credibility to any of your social media channels. What “professional” means will vary by industry, but there’s no need to break the bank. Unless your company offers professional headshots, asking a friend to snap a quick photo of you in front of a white wall will work just as well.
Some social media outlets suggest adding a larger photo as well, or a photo to accompany any posts you publish. It’s a good idea to check with the organization you work for, as many companies provide standard images for social media use. This option would provide you with an image and also promote the company’s brand.
Generic stock photos or graphics are also utilized well in these areas. There are many free stock photo sites that you can browse for this purpose. A few excellent options include StockSnap.io and Unsplash.com.
3. Plan Your Posts
You don’t necessarily need to use a social media organizer like Sprout Social or Hootsuite to publish posts (though these do help automate things). You should, however, have some sort of schedule set up – whatever works for you. If that means writing everything on sticky notes or a piece of paper, so be it.
A schedule means there will be no last minute scrambling to post something. Taking an hour at the beginning of your week (or even the week before) to plan what you intend to post will take a lot of hassle out of social media. Some people choose to plan even further ahead, weeks or months at a time. While this level of organization is definitely helpful, it’s certainly not necessary to succeed. Whatever small step you can take toward scheduling will prove helpful.
4. Find Your Niche
It’s easy to retweet various articles from experts in multiple fields, but users usually appreciate a little more thought than that. Determine what your strongest areas are in your field (maybe consulting in construction or legal representation of emerging companies) and focus on that.
Once you’ve narrowed your area of focus to one or two areas, start curating your posts around that. It’s much easier to think of articles or blog posts you may be interested in writing if you only have a few topics to mull over.
You should also narrow the focus of what you repost and retweet. The more you publish pieces on your area of expertise, the more likely people will be to gravitate toward your profile(s) for up-to-date information. Reposting relevant information in your niche will further entice people to visit your page and follow you.
5. Stay Updated
Aside from your photos, it’s important to keep your personal information on social media sites current. Nothing says “I never visit this website” more than outdated work or location information.
Many people who follow or try and connect with you through social media may specifically be interested in where you currently work or reside, so failing to keep these sections updated not only makes your page look stale, it can have real business implications.
6. Be Genuine
Your digital personal brand should reflect your personality and the manner in which you do business. It’s not uncommon to meet and conduct business with people you originally connected with online. Think about how disjointed it would feel for the other person if your tone, voice and demeanor in person is vastly different from your presence online.
Keeping your brand consistent digitally and in person will only strengthen your relationships and business contacts. People will begin to rely on you not just for valuable information online, but for help and recommendations in your business life.
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