By Lindsey Carnett, CEO and President of Marketing Maven & WPO Member 

Your online personal brand is as important as the first impression at a meeting. We all Google a new contact, relying on their digital footprint to form what we think of them as a potential client, employee or connection.

Creating a personal brand requires thought, research and planning. It’s not something that can be created overnight, but instead takes shaping and crafting. Structure and strategy are key to creating and nurturing your personal brand, and for business professionals, it is important to determine the objectives you want to reach.

Similarly, it is important to identify your audience – this is key to shaping and delivering your tone of voice, scheduling of updates, which sites to use and the type of content you want to create.

The identification and nurturing of relationships will help you to enhance your brand and build your following long-term. Remember, social media is supposed to be social!

If you are looking to build your online personal brand or refresh your approach to using social media, then our top tips can help.

Review what has gone before: Use analytical data and native platform tools to analyze what has worked and what could be improved. Think about the types of content you enjoyed creating and sharing. Did live tweeting help you to reach new audiences? Have videos cemented your reputation as a thought leader? Look at each to determine which types of content can help strengthen and shape your brand.

Indicators such as impressions, engagements, views and clicks are vital to determining which of your updates have been successful.

Tailor your updates for each platform: each social media platform has a different audience, each hungry for a specific type of content. The one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work, and for a strong online brand, the user must adapt and tailor their content accordingly.

But how does this work in practice? Take a new client acquisition for example. Visual content, such as a behind the scenes photo or a stylized quote image would work well for Instagram. A traditional press release or link to media coverage would be at home on LinkedIn. And a short video announcing the good news would be a good fit for Twitter. Experiment with different types of content for your audiences, and monitor its performance to influence future strategy and updates.

Demonstrate your area of expertise: A strong online brand must exhibit the individual’s area of expertise and experience. What you are known for? And what are the strengths and notable areas of your work that you want to promote on social media?
Going niche is a successful way to demonstrate what you are good at. Create content that solidifies your credentials as a thought leader and an expert on a particular topic. For example, at Marketing Maven, just one of our services is influencer marketing. Through blog posts, case studies and social media updates we provide examples of our work and spotlight our employees, providing a personal insight into our company ethos. This strategy is one that can work for individuals and small business owners too. Try experimenting with different types of content to demonstrate your adaptability and find what your audience likes.

Become part of a community: Get involved with an online community where you can share your expertise and network with other professionals to strengthen your brand. Join relevant Facebook groups, comment on LinkedIn threads and be active in professional networking forums. Use these venues to participate in and generate discussion, sharing your work through content updates like blog posts and press mentions to cement your brand and areas of experience. Spending a little time doing this each day can be useful later down the line when looking for new clients or a recommendation.

Be brand consistent: shaping and nurturing your personal brand can help to control people’s perceptions and goes a long way in positioning you as a trusted and reliable source. Stick to sharing updates and engage with topics that you have expertise in to create a strong brand and expectations for your audience. And for social media, choose a tone of voice and a style that will be present across all updates – e.g. the same filter on Instagram, a consistent posting schedule and a tone of voice that is genuine and interactive.

These tips can help you create and build a long-term personal brand that is authentic and engaging, boosting your visibility online and carving out an expectation and relationship between you and your followers.

Lindsey-Headshot-Final

Lindsey Carnett is CEO and President of Marketing Maven, an Inc. 5000 ranked integrated marketing firm. She specializes in PR, social media marketing, influencer marketing and reputation management. Lindsey is a 2017 PR News Top Woman in PR, FOLIO Magazine 2015 Top Women in Media Honoree and a WPO member of the LA1 chapter. Lindsey@marketingmaven.com

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