When you post content online, be it photos, facebook updates, linkedin updates, twitter messages, youtube videos, and so on, you are creating an online footprint that can be viewed by anybody who searches for your name on the internet. In this month’s Lunch and Learn session, the author of Social Media Field Guide and Cincinnati’s most sought after social media coach, Krista Neher, shares three simple steps that you could use to create a strong personal brand using social media tools. Here is the brief summary of the session:
- 52% of individuals put their trust in what others have to say about you
- 77% of Executive Recruiters use LinkedIn as a tool to research a candidate online
- Over 80% of companies today make hiring decisions based on your online search results
Let’s take a look at the three simple steps to building your personal brand.
Step One: Defining your brand
Define your elevator pitch: A strong message that people are likely to remember about you. In order to define that, you need to do a thorough personal assessment. Identify your values, strengths, how you describe yourself, and how you want others to describe you. You need to ensure that you are not diluting focus by adding too many titles or adjectives to brand yourself.
Define your mission: Identify your target audience and clearly describe what people can expect when they hire you. Again, you want to ensure that you are offering a powerful value proposition that is unique to you and your business. Identify your niche and build on it.
Define brand character: What does your brand look and feel like? Define attributes that describes you. Show your personality—Knowledgeable, invigorating, personable, and so on. Apply the KISS formula (Keep it simple stupid). You want your brand to communicate a strong message that is simple, consistent, and unique to you.
Building blocks: Your brand should come across as authentic. Are people saying nice things about you? Do you have good testimonials? Do you have enough experience in your industry?
How do you demonstrate that expertise?
Some quick tips: Write blog posts, do volunteer work, be consistent in what you say across all your social networking sites, create a professional image of someone who can add value by demonstrating the things you say you do.
You may also find value in this blog post by Scott Dinsmore who shares some valuable advice on Personal Branding: http://www.biggirlbranding.com/be-your-own-most-valuable-brand/
Design Elements: How you dress, your professional pictures, your online work portfolio, etc. are all the design elements that will help people to identify with the professional image you are trying to create. Krista Neher shares her own example of how she maintains a certain look when she is speaking in public—she wears black or grey suits, wears the same jewelry, her hair is styled in a particular way, and so on.
Step Two: Creating your personal brand using social media tools
Once you have a clear idea of what your brand stands for, how you want to differentiate yourself, and who your audience is, you can identify the social media tools to create a personal brand. The key is to be active once you decide to sign up on social networking platforms. Here is a list of few social media tools that you can use:
LinkedIn is probably the most powerful personal branding tool available to you. Therefore, it was covered in greater detail than the others. You can do the following things to get some visibility on LinkedIn:
- Title and industry are probably two key elements of your LinkedIn profile. Ensure that your title has the right keywords and your profile shows up if someone is searching for professionals with your skillset.
- Ensure your profile is 100% complete. That means you have updated all the sections including work history and have displayed at least three recommendations on your profile.
- Join industry groups and post discussion topics. Active participation in various groups by answering questions and posting discussion topics will give you a chance to be visible and position yourself as an expert.
- Post interesting status updates. You can post news items or topics that showcases your thought leadership. One good way to post status updates is to link your twitter account and blog posts to LinkedIn.
Blogging is also a very powerful tool to create a personal image and position yourself as a thought leader in the industry. WordPress is the most recommended blogging tool. It is simple and intuitive. You can start with writing a blog once a week and then build on it.
Twitter is yet another underutilized tool for personal branding. Tweeting useful content, blog posts, news, and updates are really a great way to demonstrate your expertise.
Step three: Managing your personal brand
Managing your personal brand is all about staying on top of your game. The most important step in managing your personal brand is to monitor your social network and look for information and comments that concern you. Regular monitoring will ensure that you respond to what’s being said about you and try to filter that message.
Google Alerts is a very valuable tool that automatically notifies you when new content from news, web, blogs, video, and/or discussion groups matches a set of search terms selected by you and stored by the Google Alerts service.
This is just one of the several tools that are available to you to monitor what’s going on in your network/industry and respond to blog posts, tweets, and comments as soon as they get posted.
Key things to remember…
Building your brand takes time and effort. It is an ongoing endeavor. Keep it consistent and simple. Keep your profiles up-to-date, stay in touch with your contacts, build and maintain your network, and work on your branding on a regular basis.
Want to build a brand that reaches 250 million people?
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