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For brands, social media has transformed the game. Consider a gathering attended by both brands and consumers. Consumers used to enjoy a good time before social media, while firms dressed to the nines tried to attract their attention. Unless a close buddy occurred to whisper an opinion in your ear, no one really knew what other people were thinking.

The dynamics of this party have changed in the social media era. It’s bigger and louder, but more importantly, the guests interact differently with one another. Consumers today collaboratively judge and promote both products and each other at today’s party. One individual can shout their viewpoint at the top of their lungs and rally others to their side—or against them. It’s similar to a nightclub and the Roman Colosseum. The mob has the power to save or condemn you; displease them at your risk.

To thrive at this party, business owners must first identify their target audience’s tastes and behaviors, then research rivals, social media trends, and social selling, and then apply their findings to create a presence that stands out by working with (rather than against) cultural forces.

You can create an online persona that represents your personal values and professional talents by sharing information online. Even if you just use social media infrequently, anything you create, post, or react to contributes to the public narrative. When it comes to your digital marketing profession, how you conduct yourself online is now just as crucial as how you conduct yourself offline.

Building your personal brand on social media requires time and effort (consider how long it takes to become Instafamous!). However, if done correctly, you may be able to land your next career change or make vital connections.

Continue reading to learn the ten stages to ensure your online branding is effective.

1. Fully Update Your Social Media Accounts

Decide which social media account(s) you are going to focus on, and delete any old accounts that you no longer use. For the networks you will be using, make sure all of your information is complete and accurate. This will help you to direct and grow traffic to the networks that will showcase yourself and your work. 

It can also remove any ‘questionable’ content from years past that could be seen as having a risque brand tone and don’t have a positive effect on your professional image.

​2. Identify Your Area of Expertise

Everyone’s an expert at something – whether it’s how to create and distribute great content or having an encyclopedic knowledge of your favorite TV show. 

Is it time for you to experiment a bit more? Think about what type of content you’ve created that your followers have responded to most? Can you replicate this with other similar content or repurpose something to re-engage? The more unique and engaging content you create on your chosen topic of expertise, the more your followers will start to think of you as a leader in your chosen field.

3. Make Posting Easy with Social Media Apps

Forgotten passwords, a busy day job, content creation, and maintaining an online presence can be time-consuming. But, there are many social media apps at hand to make life easier. 

Sprout, Buffer, and Hootsuite all connect to your social media networks and allow you to cross-post across different social networks and schedule content. This removes the need to login to multiple websites. Most major social media networks, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are compatible with these applications.

4. Regularly Share Content

In the early days of social media, the more you posted, the more engagement you could drum up. Today, however, over-posting leads to fatigue and annoyance. You want to keep the lines of communication open with your audience, but you also don’t want to overshare so much that you look desperate. The sweet spot is posting around 3-4 times a week for individuals.

Read Also: Why is Consistency Important in Branding?

As Michael Noice, founder of Entrepreneur Coach, explains, “A once-weekly Twitter post or monthly Instagram photo is not going to accomplish much if anything. For this reason, it’s best to focus on two or three carefully chosen social networks and try to be active on them, rather than posting sporadically to a half-dozen.”

There will be days when you don’t post, and that’s perfectly fine. Identify the best social media metrics to focus on, analyze the data associated with your posts, and identify a pattern that works. If you’re having trouble finding content to share and want more insight into what’s popular, search via social media hashtags, use news aggregator sites like Feedly, or sign up for Google Alerts.

5. Import Your Contacts

You might be amazed to see how many people you already know on the social media networks you’re using. There may be tens, or even hundreds, of people with whom you haven’t yet connected. Import your email contacts from Gmail or Outlook, or contacts from your phonebook, into your social networks to find out how many connections you’re missing. LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter all allow for the free import of a certain number of contacts.

6. Keep Social Posts Positive & Engaging

Your goal is to create an unstoppable personal online brand, but you need to make sure it’s one that reflects you. While you now know some of the things you should be doing on social media, are you aware of what not to do to keep your social impression a positive one? 

Think of your interactions and content as a resume of your work, and a reflection of your professional attitude and overall personality. Reposting others’ content (or curating content for social) is a smart thing to do, but it’s not all you should be doing. You also need to share content that you’ve written, to demonstrate industry expertise. 

Creating engaging content means taking a fresh approach to the types of updates you share with your network. Don’t be afraid to talk about your own achievements, or add engaging tidbits about your personal life (e.g. travel and hobbies are suitable). After all, social media is about individuals first. 

If you have concerns about not being able to voice your opinions to the extent you wish, consider creating two sets of social media accounts: one for private use (say whatever you want), and one for personal use (in which your responses and shares are heavily calculated). Keep your personal pages private to close friends and family, and use your professional accounts to build new connections and career opportunities. And, if you want to talk about your employer online, make sure you read through your company’s social media guidelines before doing so. 

7. Find & Join Groups

Facebook and LinkedIn both offer thousands of opportunities to join groups focused on specific industries or topics. Just use the search bar on each network to find groups that are linked to your specific area of expertise. Then you’ll be able to share your insights and build authority around your personal brand. 

Keep in mind that industry groups may be overcrowded with competitors, so smaller, topic-based groups may be more fruitful in terms of reaching your audience. Social Media Groups Can Help You:

  • Challenge and motivate yourself
  • Push you to achieve your goals
  • Keep you accountable
  • Generate ideas for your marketing
  • Receive feedback
  • Gain confidence
  • Expand your skills
  • Test your knowledge
  • Develop leadership skills
  • Help others
  • Do some good
  • Make friends
  • Discover new opportunities

Once you’re a member of your preferred social media groups, don’t be afraid to jump into discussions and add your unique insights. It can be difficult to remember that that’s exactly what social media is about! 

So don’t be afraid to have conversations. If you simply join a group and don’t participate, you won’t gain any of the benefits listed above. In addition, showing that you’re responsive will help you build your personal brand in larger communities.

8. Keep Your Brand Voice, Image & Tone Consistent

You’ve probably already figured out that sticking to your defined persona is important. If a popular political commentator suddenly and radically switched parties, no doubt they would lose a lot of fans overnight. You must also remain consistent with your ideas and the ways you present them so that you’re memorable and trustworthy. 

Dining the tone of voice that works best for your brand may entail some trial and error, but there are personal branding guides you can use to determine the best fit for you. It’s not as easy as saying “I want to be funny,” you need to further develop your ideas to support your approach.

Following your brand guidelines helps to control people’s perceptions. You can damage an otherwise flawless reputation if one of your profiles shows up with content or images that don’t match your brand’s voice. Use a marketing personas template if you’re stuck on who your audience are and how to talk to them.

9. Study Influencers

Connecting with and collaborating with influencers is a great way to get your brand known, but it does take some time. You have to spend time developing relationships with influencers before they’ll see you as an expert.

LinkedIn is a great place to find and engage with other experts in your industry, as are several top influencer marketing tools. Once you’ve found the main influencers in your area, analyze their networks, posting habits and content to determine what you could be doing better. Notice how their followers respond to what they post, and learn best practices from their personal branding strategies and execution.

10. Build Your Brand by Taking a Social Media and Marketing Course

The best way to build your personal brand on social media is to understand the fundamentals. Learn how to conduct social research to understand your audience, figure out content formats and what ones will work for you, and know how to create a strategy – no matter how small – so you know where you want to go and how to get there. 

You’ll also need to understand the ins and outs of each social media platform and what you can do to drive your unique message. With some practice, you’ll soon learn what channel works best and how to measure success. Get started today by choosing a social media and marketing course that fits in with your professional and personal life.

Your social media marketing efforts should support your overall business strategy. Review your core values, brand strategy, and strategic objectives, and draft a social media brand strategy that includes the following:

  • Goals. What do you want to achieve on social media? Set specific goals for your social media program—and potentially each platform—that ladder up to your business goals. For example, if your goal is to boost sales by 10% in the next quarter, you might set a social media goal of increasing traffic to your ecommerce store by 25% over the same period.
  • Target audiences. Your social media target audience may be the same as your business’s overall target audience, or it may be a specific subset of your audience. Conduct research to determine which of your audience segments are most active on social media platforms, taking note of demographics, interests, and media consumption preferences.
  • Key social networks. Different social media networks serve different audiences, provide different features, and display content differently—so you’ll want to focus on the ones right for your business. Instagram serves a relatively young audience, provides in-app shopping features, and relies heavily on photos, making it a good choice for online retailers that target young adults as well as brands with compelling visual content. LinkedIn, on the other hand, serves an older audience demographic with a higher level of educational attainment, allows links to articles, and displays long-form narrative posts, making it better suited to professional services companies and brands in the B2B space. 
  • Voice, tone, and visual identity guidelines. To help your social media team implement consistent branding across platforms, create written brand guidelines that include visual identity, brand voice, and brand tone, keeping in mind that your social media brand may differ slightly from your main brand identity. If you plan to vary your brand based on the channel—say, you’ll crack jokes on Twitter but embrace sincerity on Instagram—make sure to note that as well.
  • Content pillars and types. Use your goals and target audience research to determine what types of content you want to share on each platform, and what conversations you want to be involved in. Your strategy should include content pillars (key topics or themes) and post types, which could include everything from team photos to articles to memes. 

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