Create Your Online Personal Brand
The ever developing world of social media means that the use of online branding has started to grow, providing future contacts, employers and employees with on the go access to yourself and who you are. The routes to take and options available to those thinking of starting their online brand are vast and getting started can be a slow, tiresome process.
We have compiled 5 clear steps to help kickstart your own personal online brand, helping you avoid the pitfalls of so many before you, getting your brand out there.
1. Craft Your Brand
Who are you and what do you have that others don’t?
It is such a simple question, yet it is often what makes you so appealing to social media followers. Providing an honest (but professional) insight into you is key.
Who are you targeting?
Are you aiming specifically at your chosen industry? Or are you aiming for a wider network of social media followers? Whatever you decide, you need to tailor your content and responses to your target market.
How do you want people to see you?
Often in online branding, a more personal approach is most effective. People want to see who you are, not your portrayed image of a polished online brand, as ultimately you’re hoping for online follows to develop into offline connections.
What do you want to get out of it?
Have a clear view of the outcomes you want from your online branding. Followers? Contacts? Website hits? Product Orders? Investors?
To get all of these in one go would be fantastic, but let’s be realistic. Target your audience and grow.
2. Create Social Media Accounts
With the explosion of social media in recent years, the number of platforms available to us is ever growing however there are too many to conquer alone. You need to think who your target audience are, where they will be and how they will want to connect with you. Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter etc. are all household names, but which of these is going to meet your needs.
Decide whether you want to use paid services to grow your following
Increasing your audience can be a challenge, and it may seem like you have hit a brick wall. Social media sites such as Facebook offer in-house paid promotional services, however there are also 3rd party companies which perform a similar function for a price. Yes they do boost your followers and increase your exposure, however the new followers you receive may not be as loyal as those you previously had. Before ever deciding to take this step, seriously review your content!
Keep it consistent
Try and keep uniform usernames and/or branding across your social media pages. This makes it easier for people to find you, gets your brand further out there, and helps protect against copycats out of your control. Sites such as Name Check check all social media sites to see if your chosen username is free.
3. Produce Quality Content and Be Creative
People want something different! They want your insight and experience, not basic and generic business know how. Talk to your readers and followers, ask them what content of yours they enjoy the most and go from there.
Using images and videos all add to the quality of your content when used correctly and for the right reasons! Creating your own videos can be very effective if the execution is right.
Regular updates are fundamental and sticking to a time pattern is even better. Posting regularly leads to your followers becoming eager for the next update (which is exactly what you want). If you're going to miss an update give your followers notice, in other words treat it professionally. Having an inconsistent update schedule can frustrate followers, turning them off from your content, ultimately tarnishing your brand.
4. Connect to Others and Share - Especially With Your Peers
Follow others in similar fields of your personal branding, but also those who are active in your favourite hobbies and interests. Getting involved in conversations is key. Being just another follower will get you nowhere.
Share and collaborate
It takes seconds to share someone else, and they will most likely return the favour. Share, like, link them into your articles and even collaborate with others on joint articles to increase your followers and readers. Shared articles are a great way to share followers between two authors and increase your audience.
5. Stick With It
Stick with it for the long term
A few days of concerted effort and then giving up because you didn’t get offered the job of your dreams isn’t going to help you. No one wants to see a page, feed or blog where the author has not posted in 6 months and clearly given up. Keeping fresh content, with regular updates will stand the test of time. Building relationships with followers, through acknowledging and responding to their comments and messages is a sure fire way to develop those relationships.
Enjoy what you write
Writing regular content on a topic you have no interest in is going to be reflected in your content. Find out what it is specifically you enjoy writing content about and make it your niche. Your enthusiasm you have for creating your online brand and the content topic will sell itself.
Being interactive and communicating effectively with your followers is a guaranteed way of building a loyal following. Collaborating and sharing with other online authors is also a great way to help build your online brand. If you ever hit a rut online, before doing anything drastic, take a step back, review your content and talk to your followers.