This September I’ll be speaking with April Rudin during CFA Institute’s Alpha and Gender Diversity: The Competitive Edge Conference in Boston. We’ll be delivering a pre-conference workshop on building a strong personal brand through social media. In a nutshell social media is the crucial piece for managing and establishing your personal brand online. Not only is social media free it also provides accessible tools to communicate with infinite “niches” to fit into. It allows us to stay hyper networked 24/7 while gaining instant access to information. After our session in Boston we’ll be able to connect with conference delegates and stay in touch and continue conversations in live time.
So, What Exactly is Personal Branding? Within Barry Feldman’s Blog Post he nailed it: You, my friend, are a brand. Therefore, personal branding is the process of managing and optimizing the way that you’re presented to others. While self-help management techniques are about self -improvement, the personal branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging (i.e. You’re a brand. I’m a brand. We’re all brands, whether we aim to be or not.)
Below I’ve outlined a summary of our presentation sharing Four Tips for Building a Social Media Strategy for Your Personal Brand.
Tip #1: Determine Your Area of Expertise
Before you can establish your personal brand it’s important to determine what sets you apart from others. The world of personal branding is flooded so you just can’t choose a general field like “marketing” or “social media.” It’s more beneficial to focus on finding a specific niche so you’ll have an advantage to prove that you know what you’re talking about and stand out. Although your audience might smaller, it will also be much more relevant. Your area of expertise should be something you’re authentically interested in. After you determine your 1-3 areas of expertise it’s important to prioritize becoming a thought leader-producing content regularly and staying on topic and therefore gaining trust. Before long you’ll have proof of your expertise!
Tip #2: Remember that your digital reputation stays for life! Treat it as if it were permanent.
Sharing across social media will help draw others to you and help grow your personal brand. Although social media can be overwhelming and confusing remember that it was initially setup as a forum to start conversations, providing the perfect forum to add value and drive engagement. While it’s important to take a proactive approach to generating social media engagement by getting involved within your community. However, be smart along the way and remember that so much depends on reputation- so you should guard it with your life.
It’s important to build a personal brand because it’s the only thing you’re going to have. Your reputation online, and in the new business world is pretty much the game, so you’ve got to be a good person. You can’t hide anything, and more importantly, you’ve got to be out there at some level.- Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary Vaynerchuk stated it well, it’s important to remember that a reputation is your greatest asset follows you everywhere you go. The web is permanent, and anything you say is etched into a digital presence that isn’t easily removed. Being thoughtful in what you publish and engaging others tactfully goes a long way in positioning yourself in the right light.
Tip 3: Assume Everyone Can Help You
Think of being and influencer Like Being an intern, everyone MUST prove themselves. As you work on building your social media footprint and generating engagement it’s important to remember to always respond and assume that your followers, fans and connections can help you. Social Media 101 states that engagement and conversation always outweigh self-promotion. It’s important to have an opinion, ask questions, and follow people back on social media (really…it’s okay!). When you get unusual followers, specifically the good ones, always reach out with a personal comment/message. I’ve been fortunate to amass a large social media footprint by actively participating in conversations within my community and taking time out of my day to retweet, share content, and engage with my followers. Remember, social media has little to do with what we say about ourselves, and has everything to do with what people say about us.
Tip #4: Understand Exactly What NOT to Do on Social Media:
Although this may seem like a given, and I’ve covered some basics of what to do, it’s also important to address what NOT to do within social media.
- Don’t complain about your job, co-workers or your boss (hint: see tip #2)
- Don’t share too much information- think about how you can separate your digital & personal life
- Don’t have an incomplete social media profile (if you’re not going to take the time to set it up then why bother keeping it active)
- Don’t have an inappropriate, blurry, logo, or unprofessional photo (hint: a selfie or photo of you with drinks isn’t suited for your LinkedIn profile)
- Don’t reference illegal activities- anything you wouldn’t do or say in front of a police officer shouldn’t go on social media!
- Don’t be too self-serving or phony- remember You eventually become who you are who are on social media…You can only fake it for so long. If you are a pain in real life, you will be a pain on social media.
Conclusion: Hopefully these tips have been helpful in thinking about how you present yourself online. Establishing a personal brand on social media is something anyone can do, start small, stay focused, and drive engagement through your actions. Social media is a powerful way to amplify your message, whatever that message may be, whatever the audience.
I would love to know which of these tips might work for you, leave a comment below or send me a tweet @marissapick. As a reminder, you can follow the conversation online during CFA Institute’s Alpha and Gender Diversity: The Competitive Edge Conference September 14-15th by following the #CFAWomen hashtag.