A Guide to Branding Yourself on Social Media
William Arruda, “The Personal Branding Guru,” and author of, “Ditch, Dare, Do: 3D Personal Branding for Executives,” says, “If you want to be successful, you need to think of yourself as a personal brand.”
Like a corporate brand that represents a particular business entity, a personal brand is a manifestation of “you” on an individual level. But not everyone can successfully pull this off. If you’ve been struggling with how to brand yourself, social media is where you should begin.
Social media is a powerful tool to establish a personal identity, build your image, and stand out in your industry.
It is used as a key branding tool by marketers across all fields.
Personal branding on social media is becoming more and more important due to the multitude of benefits that it brings to one’s business and professional goals.
But you can’t build your personal brand in one day. It requires continuous effort and the right mix of tactics. Here are some useful tips that will help you understand how to brand yourself on social media.
Define Your Branding Goals
It is very important to define what you want to achieve with your personal brand. You have to set a goal for your branding. Do you want to start a new business? Or differentiate your brand/products/services from the existing competition? Or earn more profit through increased sales?
Once you know what you want to accomplish, you can shape how you plan on branding yourself on social media platforms accordingly.
For instance, let’s say you want people to recognize your professional skills and improve your chances of discovering new job opportunities in your field of work. In this case, you can focus on building your LinkedIn profile
If you want to be known by a wider audience, you should build your Twitter profile through influential tweets that can draw a huge number of followers. If you are specialized in photography, then Instagram is the place for you. In case you’re an expert in arts and crafts, Pinterest should be your ideal destination.
Define Your Areas of Expertise
The next big step in personal branding on social media is defining your specialties. This will help you define your brand.
Whether it is your personal or business brand, you need to showcase what you stand for and how people should recognize you.
Include your interests and skills in all of your social media profile descriptions. They will serve as keywords that will help your brand appear in relevant search results when people look for such information.
For instance, look at how influential makeup artist Huda Kattan describes herself on Instagram.
Develop a Strong Brand Statement
When you are branding yourself on social media, you want the audience to know you in order to feel better connected. When someone feels connected to a brand or personality, they are more likely to have better trust. A brand statement is one way to connect with your audience in a way that briefly, but clearly defines you as a brand. When creating a brand statement, remember that it should highlight your area of expertise, the values that you stand for, the mission you want to accomplish, and the vision that you embody.
A brand statement helps every business position itself in the society or marketplace at large. But it’s not just for businesses. There are many established personalities who have their own brand statement.
Now the question is: Should your brand statement be a manifestation of you and your capabilities alone? Not necessarily. A personal brand statement works best when it embodies the interests of the people you are trying to reach. It should help you connect with your target audience.
Jeff Bullas, for instance, encourages his audience to “win at business and life in a digital world.”
You can see the same statement in his Twitter header photo as well.
It’s important to have a strong web presence when personal branding on social media. It is ideal to have multiple social media channels where you can reach your target audience. You should ideally have a personal blog and an account on each of the top social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Additionally, you should also try to have a YouTube channel in case you’re going to create video content.
Establish a Personal Branding Strategy
Just like a corporate branding strategy, your personal branding on social media should encompass a consistent content strategy. If your goal is to drive traffic to your site, you should focus on developing quality content that you want people to read and share from time to time.
You should build a content calendar deciding what and when to post.
Also, social media is a platform for engagement. So, you cannot promote your business all the time. To combat this when branding yourself on social media, you need to build a reputation. Your personal brand should offer you more as an individual counting on your experiences, knowledge, and skills.
Ensure Consistency in Your Brand Voice, Image, and Tone
You will be able to build a better and more impactful personal brand once you are consistent in your voice and brand messaging across all social media channels. When deciding how to brand yourself on social media, you want to market yourself in a way so people can recall your brand easily. An example of this would be a consistent logo with consistent design elements.
For instance, if your personal blog is designed with a red theme, follow the same look on your Facebook and Instagram pages. People will recognize you through your consistent profile images and the logo that your personal brand uses
Let’s take a look at the branding strategy of Brian Dean, a link-building genius, who has crafted a personal brand through his site, Backlinko. Here’s a screenshot of what the brand website looks like.
And here’s how his Twitter profile looks:
His header image has the same green background and Backlinko logo and he is using the same profile photo as the one seen on the website. The same theme can be seen on his Facebook page as well.
Build and Share Great Content
Creating and sharing high-quality content when branding yourself on social media always lifts up your brand in the eyes of Google. It also drives better engagement because people love to read and share relevant information. So, in addition to creating your own content, you should also regularly share content created by reputable sources in your industry.
Update Your Profile Links Regularly
It is also very important to ensure that you have the most current information on all of your social networks and website links. Personal branding on social media involves making sure your audience finds you to be relevant. Keeping any profile links up to date will help promote your latest work while also helping drive more traffic to your networks.
Import Your Contacts
Importing your contacts from Gmail and your phone book helps you connect with many people on your social networks and increase your followers.
Take Advantage of Social Media Features
Various platforms in recent years have provided users with added features to better engage their audience. When branding yourself on social media, don’t be afraid to utilize tools like daily stories to keep your audience engaged with real-time updates of your brand. Research has shown that story features on social media sites are growing 15 times faster than newsfeeds with more than one billion users already taking advantage. These daily stories have been integrated on a number of sites including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and YouTube. You’ll be able to keep your audience updated any-time, on any-platform.
Be Active and Responsive on All Your Social Media Channels
Engaging with your audience through questions, discussions, comments, replies, etc can do wonders when branding yourself on social media. This can help you build a strong relationship with your audience, ensuring the loyalty of your followers towards your brand.
Rand Fishkin, for instance, is very responsive to people who tweet to him.
Join Niche Groups
Find and join groups relevant to your area of expertise. These groups help increase your knowledge, develop new ideas, test your skills, and build confidence. They give you an opportunity to expand your network and build relationships with like-minded individuals. This is an essential stepping stone in building your personal brand.
Identify and Engage with Influencers
When deciding how to brand yourself on social media, consider a partnership with an influencer. Influencers are the rulers of social media. The growing popularity of social media has made them the most sought-after channel for brand building and promotion campaigns.
These influencers are individuals with a big fan following. They are active on social media networks on a regular basis, and keep their audiences engaged with their creative content.
Collaborating and connecting with key influencers in your niche can help in your brand-building efforts. Influencers connect you to their followers through content created about your brand. This gives authenticity and authority to your personal branding on social media, helping you win the trust of your target audience.
People trust influencers and follow their recommendations. When influencers talk about your brand on social media networks, they become your brand’s voice. This can help you increase brand awareness and bring relevant leads/traffic to your site.
However, it is important to connect with the right influencers to achieve your branding goals.
Your efforts will be in vain if your partnerships are not relevant to your niche or area of expertise. Make use of an influencer marketing software like Grin to find and connect with relevant influencers who can help you with your personal branding efforts on social media.
Use Social Media Analytics to Assess Your Branding Strategy
Branding yourself on social media takes a lot of effort, and you will want to make sure that the results of that time and effort are reflective of that. You can check social media analytics to find out if your personal branding strategy is working. This will help you understand whether or not you are engaging with the right audience, and if you are being heard. If not, you will need to work on diversifying your content strategy to make a better impact on social media users.
Become an Influencer Yourself
Nurture strong relationships with social media influencers so you can eventually become one of them. Strive to build your own fan following by sharing relevant content and common interests, and make your audience feel important by writing for them. This way you can craft your own standing on your desired platform and succeed in your personal branding on social media.
The answer to the question, “how to brand yourself on social media,” starts with you establishing yourself as a leader. To do so, you will need to make an impression in your social circles and communities. You will also need to participate in leading communication channels like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Snapchat, etc.
Social media is the best platform to build your personal brand. It is free, vast, and has immense potential to connect you to a global audience. Use the tips discussed in the post to start leveraging social media in your personal branding efforts.