Saturday, February 18, 2012

Five Social Media Tips for Better Branding

Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and now Pinterest provide the savvy professional with plenty of opportunities to market themselves, and highlight their skills in a unique and compelling way, but it can be overwhelming if you’re new to social media or if you only use it for fun.

Whether you’re looking for a new position, making a career move, or just wanting to increase your own value within your existing role, social media is a powerful way to gain the visibility, credibility and access that you need.

Here are five tips to help you thrive in the increasingly complex world of social media (while still leaving you time to be great at your job, too!)

1. Define your “brand”

What do you want to be known for? Define your area of expertise, own it, and then ensure that you brand yourself accordingly. Pick a professional headshot (or have one created), write a clear description of what you specialize in, and make it easy for people to understand the value you bring.

Resist any visceral reactions to the notion of ‘branding yourself’ – we know you’re not Home Depot. All that branding requires is that people can look at your profile and very quickly understand who you are, in a professional sense. 

2. Be a creator, or a curator (or both)

The next question is – as you work to position yourself as an expert, how are you creating value for your community? Answer – you either create articles, videos or other content, or you are an avid recommender of content and have the ability to curate the most important pieces that people should read. This will save your community time, and over time they will see you as an expert who can be trusted to only recommend useful material.

Twitter, facebook, linkedin are all good channels to recommend content, but remember to add in the best searchable keywords (checking out the Google Adwords keywords tool is a great place to start), and to encourage as much participation as possible around the recommendation so you don’t just become a links engine.

3. Get connected, and recommended

Send invitation to people you meet at work, at conferences, at networking events, over lunch. Don’t agonize over whether it is appropriate to connect via social channels – it is, and you never know how your paths might cross in the future (on both sides).

Another tip – ask for recommendations on Linkedin. Recommendations on Linkedin are just like having inbound links to your site – it increases the search visibility of your profile dramatically, making it much likely that you will be found when people are searching for specialists within your field.

4. Create consistent profiles across all channels

Once you’ve settled on how you want to depict your bio, keep it consistent. Not identical (Facebook is always going to be more casual and fun than, say, Linkedin), just don’t be dramatically different. It comes down to authenticity – bridging the gap between who you are, and what you do out there in the world. The ‘real’ you can’t be too far from the ‘business’ you, or else it seems like an uncomfortable disconnect.

People want to see basically the same person across twitter, Linkedin and Facebook – although of course, you can have a little more fun with your activity on Facebook.

5. Be generous

Contribute to forums on Linkedin, quora, respond to blog posts, facebook posts and related content. Participate in group and page discussions, help out with your expertise any time you can. Give away what you know, reciprocity is the currency of the social web, which has a perfect accounting system.


Robert Ingram said...

This is awesome and practical advice that even a man can apply.Thanks for making te approach to branding oneself online, simple and painless.

Tania Yuki said...

haha thanks Robert - that's definitely the goal!