Personal Branding. It’s a buzzword, and people love to hate buzzwords.
.. but, just because it’s a buzzword doesn’t mean it’s not worth learning about. Most of the bloggers dissing it already have pretty solid personal brands themselves. Sure, they’ll tell you that they’re just being their authentic-selves, but isn’t that just another way of saying they’re being true to their personal brands? Not all of us are that comfortable being our authentic-selves on the interwebs. We need a little push, a plan — a brand strategy! — to keep us on track, and help us face our social networking demons. Curse you LinkedIn!
Yup, LinkedIn terrifies me. It’s the digital equivalent of resume-updating-phobia. Have I accomplished enough in my life? Why did I change my major so many times? Does my avatar photo make me look dorky? Yes — to all three.
If you haven’t noticed, I’m using this blog as therapy. Like last week’s post, about discovering your personal brand, which I used to update my bio and improve my LinkedIn profile. Hopefully it helped you too.
Now we’re going to lay out three easy (actually) steps to building a personal brand.
1 – Start Small
You have a mission statement and bio all written up, have listed your goals, and know your target audience, now it’s time to put this info to good use.
You don’t have to buy 10, 000 Facebook ads, connect with every single person LinkedIn recommends, or tweet your every move. Instead, start small and build up gradually (just please don’t start posting pics of every cappuccino you order).
Update your profile on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Click Like on one new page a day, comment on LinkedIn Answers at least once a week, and respond wittily to some tweets you find interesting. It’s these types of interactions that grow your social network and personal brand in an incremental way.
Hot Tip : LinkedIn Answers is a great place to connect with peers, see what topics are trending in your field, and show off your knowledge. Don’t have any answers? Asking a thoughtful question is equally beneficial and — bonus! — you can learn something new.
Keep your brand in mind for each of your new posts and your personal brand will grow automagically (I’m a word wizard!). See, I told you these steps were easy.
2 – Be Consistent
This is a tricky one for a lot of people, but mostly because of shiny-new-toy-syndrome. New things are exciting! This is why when I first joined Instagram, I posted pictures of all of my snacks, my feet, and pretty much anything that I thought was remotely interesting (mostly snacks … and my feet). Thank goodness I only interact with friends on Instagram — very, very forgiving friends.
Posting or tweeting every random thing that pops into your head/in front of your iPhone is considered spamming and it is not well received by the general public. The desire to implement a new personal branding strategy may make you want to tweet about it every 15 minutes, but it’s much more effective and respectful to tweet/post/share content consistently spaced throughout the day. That content should be varied, of high-quality and in line with your brand. It can be original content or not — a good mix is probably best. If you find yourself running out of ideas for tweets, try following some interesting people to get inspired. @ArenaFlowers is amazing!
Hot Tip: If you need to take a break, tweeting on Fridays is often less effective than other business days. 3-day tweet weekend!
3 – Just Start (NOW!)
There’s no time like the present. Your bio may not be perfect — perhaps your avatar is a little blurry, and maybe you haven’t yet figured out how to use hashtags. These are all pretty minor details that shouldn’t derail you from putting yourself out there and getting social. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but your Facebook Page sure can be.
Buzzword or not, strong social recruiters succeed by harnessing the social networks they’ve built up with their personal brand. I believe in you.