I recently had the pleasure of co-facilitating a webinar with Marie Zimenoff, CEO of Career Thought Leaders where we discussed social branding. In Building Your Personal Brand (It’s More Than LinkedIn!), we walked career professionals and job seekers through the process of building a strong personal brand using various social media platforms.
If I were to sum up the fundamentals of social branding, it would look a little like this equation:
Visibility x Consistency x Authenticity = Reach
When you reach your target audience (e.g., recruiters, companies, influencers, clients etc.), you connect with them. If you establish a connection, they listen.
Then guess what?
If people are listening to what you have to say, the mic is in your hands to show them what you’re working with (metaphorically speaking, of course).
I love social media because it truly levels the playing field when it comes to getting noticed. Not only can you find people of interest, they can find you too. And if you’re strategic, you can benefit greatly from having a compelling social brand.
So what’s stopping you from stepping out more online?
Maybe the thought of getting noticed reminds you of being called on in the classroom. Or maybe you’re open to the idea, but not sure where to start.
Right now, you’ve probably gotten your feet wet with LinkedIn. After all, it paved the way for personal branding by providing a place where professionals can list accomplishments, network, and be found by recruiters or clients.
LinkedIn is still a leading social media platform for personal branding, but should the buck stop there for your brand? Absolutely not! I’ve had people ask me if it looks bad to be on multiple platforms to which I simply reply, “not it all.” In fact, I encourage you to explore.
You never want to solely rely on one platform for your brand; it’s risky since trends change. So here are some options for you to check out if you want to expand your social brand.
1. branded.me: The Personal Branding Guru William Arruda is behind this branding platform that launched last year. It started out as an easy way for personal brands to build a professional website without the hassle of a designer or big budget. Now, as of 2016, it includes a professional community and blogging platform for you to show thought-leadership. This is a great way to establish an online presence and have a website domain that you can use for your business cards. You can get started by uploading your LinkedIn profile as a base. Just be sure to make your content unique and not an exact replica of your profile.
2. beBee: This is another new and quickly growing platform on the scene. Known for “affinity networking,” beBee connects users all around the works with similar interests. In an article about this growing social media startup, Social Media Expert and Brand Ambassador for beBee John White said the following: “beBee is much more than just a professional platform. It combines users’ business interests and personal hobbies via Hives that serve as a community where people can share the content with like-minded people.”
3. about.me: This platform is another way to create a web domain for your personal brand. Just as the name implies, people can go to your web page to learn more about you. About.me’s one-page layout gives you the chance to be creative and capture your brand in a succinct yet compelling way (this is a good option if you want to go keep it simple).You can also use this page to direct people to your website or your other social media profiles like LinkedIn and Twitter.
4. Medium: Developed by Twitter’s founder Evan Williams, Medium is a blogging platform that allows you to connect with others via stories. This option may not be for you if the thought of writing makes you think of a million other things you’d rather do, but hear me out. This is still a great place to get insight on topics you’re interested in and engage with others by adding thoughtful comments. If you’re feeling adventurous, writing is a great way to build an audience. You don’t have to be tied to business-related topics so don’t be afraid to get a little personal. The key is to be strategic in your message and always add value.
Ready to take the plunge and explore some now platforms for your brand? Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Tweak your content for each platform. Don’t just copy and paste.
- Be consistent with colors, fonts, and your “message.”
- Cross-promote your social media profiles across various platforms.
- Add your social media links to your business cards and email signatures.
- Check your links on each platform often to make sure they work, especially if you make changes.
- Show your personality, but still keep it professional.
- Engage, relate, and reciprocate!
The key to social branding is to be social. So get out there and get noticed.