Personal branding on social media is an intimidating topic for some small business owners and solopreneurs. Maybe you’ve struggled with it, too. You want to be warm and approachable, but you don’t want to cross the line into oversharing. You want to be professional and polished, but you don’t want to be thought of as the boring guest at the cocktail party.
Choose Your Social Media Networks
The first thing you should do when using social media to grow your personal brand is to decide what you want to be known for. Pick one to three subjects you’d like to focus on. These are the subjects you’ll probably end up posting about a lot. If you’re a ghostwriter, that might be content marketing and copywriting.
You can have a profile on every social network if you want. But most solopreneurs and small business owners find their clients stick to one or two social networks, depending on their industry. If you’re in the wedding industry, you might find that Facebook and Pinterest are where you get the majority of your interaction.
If you’re in a tech related field you might find that your community prefers Twitter or Google Plus instead. Don’t stress about this. Simply pick the two social networks where you get the most traction. These two networks are the ones you’ll want to update daily.
Keep Your Profiles Consistent
Now, take a look at your profiles on your social media channels. Would someone that’s not familiar with your brand be able to tell that you’re the same person? If not, it’s time to harmonize your social media accounts. Ideally, you want to use the same profile picture, bio, and header image across your social platforms. This makes it easy for visitors to recognize your brand, regardless of the social network they’re using.
You want to maintain an active profile on the most popular social networks in your industry. Some networks are better for posting multiple times a day (like Twitter), while for others posting only 2-3 times a week works better. You might need to run a few short experiments to discover how frequently you should update and what times work best for your followers.
If you’re not sure what to post, follow the 4 out of 5 rule. This rule means posting 4 pieces of content that are useful to your audience to every 1 piece of promotional content. Don’t be afraid to promote great content to your followers, even if you didn’t write it. When you’re the one that shares the latest news in your industry, followers will view you as the go-to source on trends and news in your industry.
Once you start gaining some traction on social media with your personal brand, start looking for communities to join. Facebook has groups. Google Plus calls their groups communities and Twitter has lists. But they all mean pretty much the same thing – they’re an online gathering of people around one central subject, whether that subject is motherhood, sports, or school.
The great thing about groups is that they give you a chance to form connections with other members and give them value. It’s also an easy way to do customer research. You can discover what questions your audience frequently asks, what they struggle with, and what they would love to get more of.
Using social media to brand yourself is a smart idea. Just remember to post and share valuable content.
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