We all have a personal brand whether we realize it or not: If you show up late to every meeting, that’s part of your brand. If you send handwritten cards, that’s part of your brand, too!
As people turn to online platforms as a way to interact with each other, their social media footprints also an important part of their brand. Here are three steps for creating a social media strategy that contributes to your online persona and reputation:
Cultivate Your Brand
A personal brand is meaningless unless it reflects who you are. To define your unique personal brand, think about the different ways your closest friends would describe you. Make a long list, and circle the characteristics that are most important to you. Mine are “refined, thoughtful, empathetic, and transparent.”
The goal of your social media strategy is to give you a platform — or multiple platforms — to express these characteristics and your authentic self. This kind of approach has exponential benefits; it’s a creative endeavor that offers visibility and a new way to connect with like-minded people. A clear personal brand can also overlap and contribute to a professional persona, offering you benefits at work too.
Curate Your Content
In 2014, 74% of online adults used social media platforms — chances are, you already have a big presence on your favorite sites like Facebook. When narrowing in on social media websites, you can pick from huge networks like Snapchat to niche platforms like the cooking site Food52.
One of the coolest aspects of social media is that your profiles on these sites are fluid. You can change them instantaneously according to your interests. To develop your personal brand, you want to align your content with your personality. Consider four or five content topics that reflect your passions. I included some themes I focus on with my social media activity below:
- Womanhood and feminism
- Travel and food
- Personal development
These are in no way exclusionary, but they do serve as guideposts. Before you choose your share each photo or post, think, “Does this align or enhance my brand?”
Create a Conversation
The best social media mavens use their accounts to build a community with candid conversations. Instead of solely scheduling your social media posts through Buffer or Hootsuite, engage in spontaneous connections.
A focus on interaction can bring authenticity to your social media accounts. As entrepreneur Yanik Silver shared, “I realized people want to interact with people. That means being ‘real.’ It’s too easy to put a positive spin on everything but that’s not being genuine or authentic. I share the good, the bad and sometimes the ‘ugly’.”
Twitter and Instagram give you ample opportunities to respond to posts and reach out to new people. By engaging with people, you develop meaningful connections and strengthen your personal brand at the same time.
What are your favorite strategies to help you build a personal brand on social media?