4 Tips for Building a Social Media Strategy for Your Personal Brand

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.

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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.

Four Trends Marketers Shouldn’t Ignore

Are you wondering what you should be keeping an eye out in 2016? Look no further, within this post I share key findings from recently published reports from PulsePoint and PageFair and Adobe highlighting key trends and stats marketers can’t afford to ignore.

1. Content Marketing is King!

If you’re vaguely familiar with Content Marketing you’ve heard heard the term “Content Is King.”  A report published by PulsePoint found that by 2017 content marketing budgets are projected to double, and 83% of marketers believe content marketing will go “programatic” by 2017. (Click to Tweet)

When most of us think about real-time content marketing, we think of examples like Oreo’s tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout, when they advised customers that they “can still dunk in the dark.” That tweet was a great response to an unexpected occasion and the birth of the awareness of real time content marketing.

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Keep in mind that real-time content does not always have to be spontaneous. The majority of real-time content advertising and marketing can be prepared to some level by maintaining a close eye on preparing and trending topics material that replies to a broad range of scenarios.  Brand who are setup with strong content marketing strategies will rapidly set themselves apart and cut through the noise and “win” within this arena.

2.  Content marketing and native growth will outpace display and search

Brands, agencies and publishers reported that content marketing and native are both important to their organizations and strategies. But are the ad dollars and digital inventory available to back them? The answer is yes as both supply and demand are expected to grow over the next two years.

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While display and search still command most of the ad dollars, 37% of respondents to PulsePoint’s study named content marketing as one of the largest spending buckets.  That gap is only set to narrow, as content marketing and native ads both are both projected to see increased budgets over the next two years. The other format tracking slightly behind is digital video since the formal draws a higher audience engagement which is pivotal for brands with upper funnel campaign objectives.

 

3. Ad Blocking Is Rapidly Expanding, and Costing Publishers Billions of Dollars.

The number of consumers using ad blocking software worldwide has increased 41% year-on-year to 198 million monthly active users according to a report by PageFair and Adobe. (Click to Tweet)

Ad blocking is increasingly a challenge to marketers and it’s estimated that the click-through rate across all ad formats and placements is only 0.06 per cent.  Now users are able to be more discretionary than ever about which content they want and what they don’t.

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Currently ad blocking almost always happens via desktop computers, however ad blocking on mobile could soon become a mainstream phenomenon.

The rate of ad blocking varies country by country. The US has an estimated 45 million monthly active ad block users, up 48% year-on-year which across  Europe, 35% of the internet population (77 million users) used an ad blocker at least once a month.  The report also found that ad block users are usually young and technically savvy and predominantly male.

4. Mobile Emailing Marketing Remains in The Mix

Email is a channel which can’t be ignored however with the rise of wearable technology and mobile marketers must work towards firming up their email marketing strategy.

A study from Moveable Ink found that in the first quarter of 2015, 67% of all U.S. email opens occurred on a mobile device  and 75% of those were smartphones. (Click to Tweet)

The growth in mobile is staggering and the shift is undeniable as tablets and wearables are now being dubbed the “new inbox.” Marketers must ensure their messaging is “mobile friendly,” personalized, and optimized for success.

What trends do you think Marketers should watch into 2016, leave a comment below or send me a tweet.  

Three Social Media Marketing Myths Debunked

Social Media is similar to Pandora’s Box.  It holds powerful tools which can help boost your business to new customers, retain loyal ones, and help to engage online within the digital world, or if can be a ton of wasted resources if not used properly.  Along with anything new comes a lot of misconceptions.  Although you maybe questioning the most efficient ways to maximize social media with your audience, don’t give up! Here are three major myths I come across which I’d like to take a stab at debunking.

Myth #1: I Don’t Have Enough Content to Fill my Social Media Feeds 

Social media outlets are fast paced and constantly changing.  Content gets posted online, flooded, pushed down, and becomes irrelevant quickly and before you know it.  Although this may seem like a wasted effort it reminds us that it’s important to repost the same content in different ways to best represent your brand.  Getting creative and thinking of interesting and exciting ways to share your content while avoiding making it seem too repetitive is important.  People often miss things, forget them, and if it’s evergreen content, then it’s always useful.  Putting a new spin and angle on how you repost it will help it live long and prosper. One of my favorite tools is pablo by buffer or canva, both can help quickly create visual content to accompany your content, and did I mention they’re both FREE.  Remember, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text (click to tweet this) so visual content within social media is a MUST if you want to stand out and drive engagement!

Myth #2: My Social Media Channels Can’t Show Personality

Although your content should be targeted around your industry and demographic to best optimize, don’t be afraid to show personality.  Behind your brand you’ve got REAL people following you and engaging online.  Even if it doesn’t directly relate to your brand, product, or service spreading some humor can help to humanize your brand’s message.  We’ve found quotes, funny gifs, and office photos and interesting news articles helpful at CFA Institute.  Have a little fun, let your hair down, and get creative with your social media posts!

Myth #3: My Demographic Is Older, So Social Media Isn’t Relevant or Worth It

Contrary to what you believe, the older crowd is quite active on social media.  According to comScore Mobile Matrix the average tablet minutes spent on social networks per visitor is up 115% from 2015 in the 55+ age bracket.   According to FastCompany the fastest growing demographic on twitter is the 55-64 year age bracket (click to tweet this).  This demographic has grown 79% since 2012. For Facebook this group has jumped 46%, for Google+ 56%.

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Not broadening your brand to reach an older age group, or ignoring their presence on social media outlets will severely limit your company’s potential for growth.

What do you think of these three myths debunked? Would love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment below or send me a tweet, thanks!

Ten Eye Opening (and Tweetable) #Instagram Stats

Data from the Pew Research Center shows that among social media networks, Instagram has surpassed Twitter in popularity among United States Adults.  The research states that 26% of online adults in the U.S. used Instagram in 2014, up 17% from the previous year, and 13% from 2012.  As a comparison 23% of online adults in the U.S. used Twitter in 2014.  The data finds that Facebook remains by far the social media site, however over the past year Instagram has made a splash, and engagement on Instagram is 15 times that of Facebook’s!

PI_2015-01-09_social-media_01One of the most interesting aspects of Instagram is that it’s not a site, but lives only on the mobile app.  Numerous brands have begun to use Instagram as businesses are seeing results from showcasing more visual images.  With over 300 million monthly active users, Instagram executives think the network will eventually hit 1 BILLION monthly active users!

If you’re still not bought into Instagram, here are Ten Eye Opening Stats:

  1. Instagram is the eighth most popular mobile app in the U.S. (comScore)- Tweet This
  2. Instagram is projected to reach 45.8 million U.S. users in 2015 and 50.6 million in 2016 (Statista)- Tweet This
  3. More than 30 billion photos have been shared on Instagram since it was launched in 2010 (Instagram). – Tweet This
  4. An average of 70 million photos are shared through the app each day (Instagram).- Tweet This
  5. 53 percent of Internet-using adults age 18 to 29 are on Instagram (Pew Research Center). That’s up from 37 percent in 2013.- Tweet This
  6. 76 percent of American teenagers use Instagram, making it their favorite social media network (CBS News).- Tweet This
  7. 49 percent of all Instagram users use the app each day (Pew Research Center).- Tweet This
  8. 94 percent of Instagram users are on Facebook (Pew Research Center). Facebook owns Instagram.- Tweet This
  9. 58 percent of Twitter users also use Instagram (Pew Research Center). – Tweet This
  10. 52 percent of Instagram users also use Twitter (Pew Research Center).- Tweet This

In less than five years Instagram has gone from it’s infancy to a social media rock star, and i’m excited to see what the future will hold!

Is your brand on Instagram, would love to know your experience, and how you are succeeding, or the challenges you face, leave a comment below, or tweet me @MarissaPick.