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.

Does Social Media Rule Publishing? #Yes.

The emergence of social media has had a tremendous impact of how digital news is produced, consumed, and specifically around how the journalists behind the stories are pressured to re approach and modify their craft.  This month, Edelman Media Network teamed up with two start ups NewsWhip and Much Rack and surveyed 250 working journalistsrevealing that more than three-quarters of them feel increased pressure to get their stories shared on social media.

This research revealed that:

  • More than 75% of journalists say they feel more pressure now to think about their story’s potential to get shared on social platforms.
  • To make their stories more shareable, journalists are infusing their stories with five key ingredients: video/images, brevity, localization, more use of human voice and a proximity to trending topics.
  • Nearly three-quarters of journalists are now creating original video content to accompany their stories. However, very few journalists (13%) are relying on sourcing consumer-generated video and only 3 percent are using corporate video.
  • Journalists see five key trends impacting their profession this year: more mobile friendly content, faster turnaround times, more original video, smaller newsroom staff and social media growing in influence.

Employers are becoming increasingly dependent on social media for traffic.  In September 2013 Shareaholic reported the eight biggest social referrers drove 16.4% of traffic to publishers’ sites, and a year later, that number had nearly doubled, to 29.5%.  As the study revealed, journalists are now feeling the pressure to write “sharable & digestible” stories surrounding topics which are already trending and focusing on ways to develop headlines which demand attention.

Journalists are also being called upon to leverage their individual social media profiles and adjust how they approach their stories to aide in getting the stories the most possible shares across social media.  82% of survey respondents said they use images to make stories more searchable (click to tweet).

It’s a fact that 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visually based (click to tweet), and the human brains processes images 60,000 times faster than text, a stat which I often share when discussing leveraging visual content within social media.

It’s no surprise the facts revealed within the study, and how social media has redefined journalism and publishing.  As social media continues to become more prevalent many traditional media companies continue to struggle to keep up. Employers are becoming increasingly dependent on social media or traffic, and roles such as mine are here to help journalists, and the rest of the business stay up to speed with trends in social media.  I think the study shares some great stats,  and raises a great issue faced by journalists. What do you think? Please leave me a comment or tweet me your thoughts.

The Social Domino Effect

According to new research from the University of California in San Diego sharing an uplifting quote or status update on Facebook or other social media platforms can be contagious.

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Emotions expressed online both positive and negative can be contagious. Researchers reviewed the emotional content of 1 billion Facebook posts and found that the language used can influence the words your friends choose, creating what’s known as a “social multiplier.”

And researchers found that positive emotions spread more than negative ones. Make sure to think for a moment before you craft your next Facebook update, since it’s contagious after all!

Four Critical #SocialMedia Mistakes to Avoid

Social media can be of a great benefit to a brand, however it can be detrimental if not handled property.  Still many companies are flocking to social media platforms for the one simple reason: not incorporating social media into their marketing strategy would be a loss to connect with potential customers while strengthening bonds with existing customers.  As social media has become the most popular online activity, companies need to be careful and mindful of how they’re using social media to avoid simple mistakes which can lead to the demise of customer engagement across their social media platforms.  Here are four critical social media mistakes for brands to avoid:

1) Using social media for selling, not conversing or engaging: Social Media is a place to build a personality and enhance a deeper relationship with your audience.  Social media users often don’t respond well to a hard sell.  Make sure your social media is a channel for starting a conversation, and engaging with your audience.  Building up trust and a repertoire is crucial and from there the only thing you need to sell your customers on is that you’re going to include them in the conversation.

2) Avoiding Controversy and Complaints: Let’s face it, social media is the perfect channel to vent and let our frustrations out.  Mistakes happen and as a brand you need to own up to them and let your customers know what you’re going to do to ensure they won’t be repeated.  Ignoring complaints shows you’re going to do your own thing, and that as a brand you are backing away.  Own your mistakes and man up! Make sure you have a plan in place for worst-case scenarios, and a social media disaster, it can’t hurt to be prepared!

3) #Getting #Hashtag #Happy on #SocialMedia: Using hashtags is a handy and effective tool, however sometimes they need to be used in moderation.  Using too many hashtags within a tweet or an Instagram post can come off too pushy. We’re already limited to 140 characters on Twitter so utilizing an image and text should speak volumes and stand alone, with a hashtag as a supporting entity.  Hashtags are fantastic for running promotions and enhancing searchability, however when used too often they can limit your ability to really amplify your message. 

4) Lacking a Strategy with Clear Business Objectives: If you’ve ever read my blog you’ll understand that i’m a firm believer in understanding that what you decide to do is JUST as important as deciding what you’re not going to do.  Make sure your brand has clear objectives set for utilizing social media, with a strategy for each social channel to help you achieve your goals.  Creating a strategy should include having distinct and measurable goals, thinking through your brand’s voice, and planning out a content calendar with clear goals in mind.   Setting a strategy and agreeing upon clear business objectives are the first two step’s in social media success.  

Social Media is About Reach and Engagement, see past the Dollar-Value Returns — Here’s What Marketers Should Measure Instead

A fantastic article published by John Heggestuen in Business Insider reinforces the idea that Social Media Marketing isn’t always about the dollar value returns, but should be focused toward new metrics that evaluate social media strategies in terms of audience-building, brand awareness, and customer relations. It’s important to have clearly defined business objectives and realistic expectations before launching a social media strategy, and the points below really emphasize the larger picture of what marketers should be measuring.

The recent Business Insider report, In-Depth Research On What Matters In Digital reviews how social media strategies are involving:

  • The decline of ROI metrics: Between 2010 and 2013, the percentage of marketers using a revenue-per-customer metric on social media dropped from 17% to 9%, according to the February 2013 CMO survey. The percentage tracking conversion rates also dropped, from 25% to 21%.
  • Even as the vogue for ROI indicators fades, social media budgets are ballooning. On average, top marketers expect to devote 9% of their budgets to social media spend in 2014, and 16% by 2018, according to the same survey.
  • Exceptions: Of course there are exceptions to the move away from ROI. Some social commerce applications and direct response campaigns will achieve measurable results on Facebook, or other social networks. And the end of the ROI-fever definitely doesn’t mean that all metrics can be thrown out the window.
  • The metrics to watch are audience reach, engagement, and sentiment. On Facebook, it’s always important to remember that due to algorithmic filtering, brand or business posts will only be seen by an average 16% of their fans.
  • Facebook shares are particularly valuable, because normal users’ posts are seen in a relatively high percentage of friends’ news feeds (compared to posts by brand pages); between 29 and 35% according to one study.
  • Improving the most common metrics: Insights, Facebook’s built-in analytics tool, offers great basic data for measuring reach and engagement. We show you how to transform those numbers into richer and more valuable metrics.
  • Post reach is the most fundamental indicator of reach on Facebook, but it’s important to track it relative to number of page fans and enrich it with complementary indicators. We show you how, and include screenshots.

The report also emphasizes the importance of reach and engagement as well as other benefits of social media below.  It’s a great report to reinforce that in order to embrace social media you must see past the immediate revenue and dollar value returns, and see the larger picture!

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Please leave a comment below, or tweet me @Marissapick with feedback, enjoy!

Meet Mike, Your Customer in 2015 (Infographic)

Meet Mike, Your Customer in 2015 (Infographic)

Always connected, opinionated and sharing it, requires immediacy, and so much more. This is Mike, and he’s your customer in 2015. With 34% of people turning to social media to air their feelings about a company, you better know what your consumers/followers are saying, and monitor and respond.

Some great stats in the infographic above. Tweet me @MarissaPick or share your comments below.