If you want to make a living off your personal brand, you must cultivate digital authority. Naturally, you need to own the blogging and social sphere, as this is where most influencers live. You must have a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. You should also have a home for all your unique content (cough, cough: blog.) Failure to master these platforms will stunt your digital growth.
In addition, the following social media boo boos will have you taking one step forward, three steps back. What’s the point of having a personal brand if you’re not making the most of every opportunity to engage? Run through this six point checklist, and make sure your efforts coincide.
1. Your ‘about me’ is comatose.
Keep it short and sweet. Be interesting, but don’t tell your life story. Remember, the thesaurus is your friend. Spice up your bio with unexpected verbiage or a tongue in cheek anecdote. For example, instead of calling yourself a “marketing specialist,” give “marketing groupie” a try. You want your brand to stand out. If your about me is blah, you’ll easily get lost in the mix. The words “specialist, guru, and consultant” are boring and overused.
2. Your profile photo is unrecognizable.
Stop trying to be someone you’re not. Here’s a great rule to follow when snapping a new profile pic. Would your friends and family immediately recognize that as you? If your mother was scrolling through Facebook, and saw that photo, would she instantly be like “There’s my son/daughter!” If your own mother thinks the photo is unrecognizable, everyone will.
Even on LinkedIn, your profile photo shouldn’t look stuffy. (Unless, for some reason, stuffy is your brand. In that case, rock the serious face.) Smile. Showcase your most natural self. Bottom line: make sure your mom knows it’s you. Don’t confuse your brand by using heavily filtered/altered pics.
3. You’ve got friends in low places.
If you went to my Facebook profile, and saw I was friends with one of America’s Most Wanted, you’d judge me. Don’t say you wouldn’t. In fact you might not want to do business with me — or even be my friend. Most people would avoid someone with an association like that. And, if they’re not … might want to reconsider that friendship. On the other hand, if you’re aligning with key influencers, you’ll be considered an expert by association. Obviously it takes more than one social shout out, but if you constantly get retweeted by Seth Godin, you’re on the right track. More often than not, associate with digital thought leaders who will heighten your brand reputation.
4. You don’t know where your fans are.
Are you spending all your time on Twitter when Facebook boasts better engagement? Think carefully about how you divvy up your hours. Let’s be honest. You can’t equally commit 8 hours a day to each social platform. In fact, two might be pushing it. For this reason alone, know your audience. Where do they “live,” in a digital sense? In addition, find out what platform gives the best return. If thousands of your followers migrate to Instagram, but there’s no real way to quantify referral traffic or income from this source, look for an alternative. I recommend maintaining a primary social presence on one of the top platforms; and then maintaining 1-2 other sources.
5. You regurgitate content.
Do you always share blog posts that aren’t your own? Are you re-gramming like a fiend? Although it’s always good to spread the love, you still need to create your own unique content. The digital world needs your voice. Contribute original content on a weekly basis; at the very least. Keep your content marketing efforts fresh. On top of that, use social media to build a marketing web of communication. Promote your email marketing list on Twitter. Run a Facebook ad to grow your text marketing list. If all your channels are working together in one uniformed fashion, your efforts to grow your digital community will offer an exponential return.
6. You don’t follow 2-3 consistent brand themes.
If people know you as a personal trainer, but you regularly post about politics … might not be the best course of action. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but if you want to build a strong brand, you need to pick content themes. No one person can be an expert on 300 different topics. Attempting this does nothing for building authority. Do some soul searching. Ask yourself, “Where can I offer the most insight?” Pick 2-3 topics that showcase your talent and experience. Generally speaking, make sure these topics align or connect in some way. For example, I might pick branding, content marketing, and entrepreneurship as my three. Each one relates to the other. Don’t be too random. For example, if you’re trying to brand yourself as a cake decorating, oil changing, opera singing expert … you might have a hard time pulling off that trifecta.
Now here’s a question. Why social media? How do these digital platforms boost your personal brand?
- You can engage in real time. Bonus: Some channels now allow you to go live with your content. This is yet another reason to use social media for brand building.
- It’s like a “you” museum. Fans can get to know you at their own leisure.
- The analytics are advanced. With Facebook specifically, you can see where your top followers live, how old they are, and what content they enjoy engaging with.
- You can add and remove content as you please. Feel like an old post doesn’t represent you or your brand anymore? Go ahead and hit “delete.”
Remember, owning the internet doesn’t have to be difficult. But, if you’re not giving social communities a solid effort, you won’t ever build an engaged and loyal following. You’ll experience low brand interest. People won’t care about what you have to say, and your message most likely won’t be consistent. Your social community is counting on you for an above average effort; don’t let them down. Whip your social media prowess into shape by avoiding those six boo boos.
This article was originally written by Kristen Vanstrom for the Heyo blog.