Personal Brand Strategy: Social
Over the past few years, we have seen massive waves of change in the ways that brands and communities and people connect and collaborate. Social networking technology has been around for a couple decades now, and these tools have permeated into almost every website and enterprise application that we use. When building your personal brand, a major component is understanding where your target audience is being social — and to engage them where the discussions are happening.
Social networking platforms are about connecting, sharing, and engaging with others. Of course, any social platform use should be tempered with purpose, otherwise they can also be massive time-wasters. But if you stay focused on your goals, and use your time wisely, they can be an incredible resource for building out your brand.
Some ideas include:
- Create social profiles on the major social networking platforms, and keep them updated.
- Locate the relevant community calendars, and create filtered subscriptions to stay on top of the latest events and activities that are relevant to your brand.
- Find and follow the influencers within your community, and engage with them in a meaningful way (versus simply retweeting their posts).
- Follow relevant LinkedIn groups, share relevant news, and comment with meaningful feedback.
- Participate in any relevant online forums.
- Follow people and brands using RSS feeds, pulling content into an aggregator or your email app.
- Reach out to the experts — connect with people, start a conversation, and establish some rapport.
That last one — identifying and connecting with experts — is massively important to building your own personal brand. Connecting with the right people can have a multiplying effect…assuming it’s a good connection, and you have a story / elevator pitch that people connect with.
As you build out your social connections, some guidance that I provide to all of my clients and co-workers is to remember the “rule of thirds” when it comes to social:
- One-third of your messaging should be about self-promotion, talking directly about yourself, your company or brand, and what you have to offer.
- One-third should be neutral, educational, subject-matter expertise, sharing what you know and demonstrating that you are someone to follow.
- And one-third should be personal, showing them you’re also human, and not a nameless, faceless brand.
Social should really be an equal balance of these three elements. If you spend too much time on any one of them, it will throw everything off balance, and make it more difficult for you to grow your network of influence. I know that there are other experts out there with various methodologies and ratios for social messaging, but I have found this simple rule of thirds to be the right mix of pitch, education, and personal to grow your social connections.
Be sure to check out the other posts in this series: