You’re staring dumbfounded at those social channels just waiting for followers to flock to your fledgling presence like Gen Y’s to cat memes. Face it. That’s not going to happen, unless you shape your brand from the get-go. Remember, managing your online brand is akin to shaping your reputation, almost like a real-time resume. Since you already know how to audit your social channels, let’s discover WHAT you want your online personal brand to be…in just seven steps. Are you ready?
Step 1: Define your platform.
In one sentence, describe who you are as a professional. This may seem challenging to capture in a sentence, but keep it simple. You can always expand this definition later. Use my client example as a template.
I am a Marketing Director, a spouse, a parent, a friend, a professional in a respected leadership role.
Step 2: Clarify your social voice.
In a brief paragraph, determine how you want to be perceived on social media channels. Are you a sassy corporate woman, who uses social to speak her mind? Are you considered an industry luminary, intent on sharing your business knowhow? You decide.
Create a social voice that is impactful, consistent and channel specific to shape my personal brand without compromising the confidentiality of my work. Position myself as a thought leader with unique business philosophies.
Step 3: State your vision.
Daydream for a moment. Imagine you are rebranding your social channels. What is your vision for your personal brand? Think big. Describe your vision (or mission statement) in one sentence.
My mission is to become the foremost speaker in my niche and industry, with influence and impact both online and offline.
Step 4: Determine your objectives.
Each of us has a different objective when we get into personal branding. Some of us want to be more of an observer, while others want to dominate the conversation. Have you considered your objectives? If you do not aim to become an influencer, your strategy might entail less hands-on labor than someone who wants to attain the “thought leadership” tagline.
List your top five objectives for your online brand.
- Position myself as an industry expert
- Influence conversations around my niche topic
- Gather market intelligence
- Build relationships with leaders in my industry
- Create content worth sharing
Step 5: Set your priorities.
This is where the time-crunch factor comes into effect. Since you will only have a limited amount of time to dedicate to your social channels, set your top 3-5 priorities for personal branding.
- Engage with audience, fans and industry leaders on Twitter
- Beef up my LinkedIn profile
- Reach 500+ connections on LinkedIn
- Read and share cutting-edge content
Step 6: Schedule your time.
You now have a platform, a social voice, a vision, objectives and priorities. It’s time to put all of that into action. What’s the point of strategizing your personal brand if you’re not going to put it into action?
I recommend 15-minutes-a-day to start. Yes, that’s it! You can be effective in that amount of time if you budget it accordingly. I like to break it down into 5-minute chunks.
- LinkedIn 5 minutes – update, like one post, read one post, check views of profile, send connection request.
- Twitter 5 minutes – check Twitter lists for interesting tweet to RT, answer all @mentions, schedule a tweet (or two) from an interesting article, favorite a tweet.
- Facebook/Instagram/YouTube 5 minutes – Have some fun on your personal profiles, post a silly update, post that foodie picture, watch (yet another) Dollar Shave commercial. Then, share it!
Step 7: Commit to learning.
Your personal brand is a continuous evolution of you. There will never be a moment when you “arrive” at personal branding perfectionism. It’s up to you to keep your brand fresh, authentic and engaging. Always be striving to learn more about your niche or industry. Listen to other experts. Share content. Be fun. Be approachable. You might just be surprised how your personal brand exposes you to daring opportunities.
Great work! You now are ready to put that personal brand into action with these seven steps. Let me know how it goes by connecting with me on my social channels, subscribing via email (below) or leaving a comment.
Discuss: What questions do you have about using social media to create YOUR personal brand?