Social media creates great opportunities for personal and professional branding efforts (Karaduman, 2013) and with a well planned social media brand strategy and management one can create value, awareness and loyalty that generate desired opportunities.There’s plenty of rich information out there about the best practices for online branding and from the information I’ve gathered auditing your online presence, creating your brand idea and strategy and building online communities and alliances are my top three best practices.
Audit online presences
You can assess your online brand by simply Googling your name and see what pops up (Guiseppi, n.d ), using Google Alerts, and surveying your social media profiles. What are the positive and negative content or conversations associated with your brand? Now that you know you can work to change the negative and build on the positive. For example, if you find something inappropriate about yourself that you can’t take down, now you know you need to make them less visible by creating more positive content (Giuseppe, n.d). And moving forward you’d want to avoid posting any inappropriate content that can give others a bad impression of you like these examples in the video below.
Create your brand Idea and strategy
Every picture you share, tweet you post, comment you make and the like creates your personal online brand. And once you know what impression you want to make you can be more strategic in creating your brand (Hyder, 2014) to achieve your goals.
For what purpose do you want to improve or create your personal online brand? Are you a student wanting to get accepted to college, a job seeker, or musician wanting to build a fanbase and sell some records? Your goals play a major role in creating your brand idea-or the perception you want others to have of you and what audience you are trying to target
So now that you know what impression you want, who you want to make the impression on, and what you want to achieve by doing so how do you stand out amongst the crowd? One way is to create your brand idea by determining your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) -the X factor that makes you special or your brand promise (Kaputa, 2013). Branding expert Catherine Kaputa suggests that a USP is short enough to put on the back of a business card and can be created by putting
two different ideas together to express your brand, such as “I’m a cross between ________ and ________,” or “I’m like ________ meets ________.” For example, Tazo defined the brand strategy for its tea as “Marco Polo meets Merlin. (Kaputa, 2013, Develop a Self Brand Strategy (Kaputa, 2013, p.49)
Another way is by making an acronym out of your name like I did for Lenny Kravitz. Once you’ve created your brand idea now everything you do online should reflect it.
Engage and create brand loyalty
So far we’ve audited our online presence and discerned our strengths and weakness, we decided what perception we want to make on whom and for what reason. We created our USP that will guide our online interactions. Now we need an awesome social media management plan that includes high-level engagement and sincere interactions to create value, awareness and loyalty. (Karaduman, 2013).
One very important part of your social media plan is acquiring your name URL i.e DavidLeoJones.com. Your name URL is an ideal location for a website where you can include all your social media networks in one location, and or a blog. Bye the way, blogs are a great place to start to build awareness and value especially if you have something of value to share, like expertise in a certain industry or a new learning experience you are embarking on. Even if you never use it you have secured before someone else does ( Guiseppi, n.d ) and who knows what they’ll do with it?
Another important part of the plan is, of course, leveraging social media. There are many platforms to choose from some more popular than others. The key is to use the ones that work best for connecting with your target audience. For example, if your main goal is getting a job, then you may want to focus on creating the best profile you can on LinkedIn and connecting with decision makers on Facebook.
Others way you can build value and awareness is by connecting with strong brands that can elevate your brand, like alumni online groups you can join, submitting a guest post to a popular blog and looking for other digital assets you connect your brand to (Hyder, 2014). Potential employers are impressed with candidates who have connected with them online and is often a reason they hire a potential candidate (CareerBuilder, 2014 ).
Value is also created when you can build brand loyalty by using your social media platform to connect with others directly, making others feel like they are a part of your world and that you care (Kaputa, 201). Justin Bieber is a great example of how to interact with fans on Twitter. He put his brand loyalty to work to promote his “Purpose” album by direct messaging fans song lyrics and a phone number where they could hear song remixes resulting in 387,000 mentions of his album in one day (Lindner, 2015 )!
My top three best practices for building your personal online brand audit your online presence and make the appropriate adjustments. You may not be able to take down posts but you can begin to create new content that creates your desired impression. Creating your brand strategy is next in line. This can be done by creating your USP and making your brand statement the X factor that differentiates you from all the others. You’ll also use your USP as a guide to how you will engage online. Lastly, create value, awareness and loyalty by owning yourname.com, engaging frequently and authentically online and building alliances with strong brands that can elevate your brand.
Careerbuilder (2014, June 26) Number of employers passing on applicants due to social media posts continues to rise, according to new CareerBuilder survey. CareerBuilder. Retrieved from http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?sd=6%2F26%2F2014&id=pr829&ed=12%2F31%2F2014
Guiseppi, M (n.d)10 Best-practices for building your Online brand and your online identity. Retrieved from http://www.job-hunt.org/personal-branding/building-your-brand.shtml
Hyder, S (2014, August 18 ) 7 Things you can do to build an awesome personal brand. Forbes.com. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/shamahyder/2014/08/18/7-things-you-can-do-to-build-an-awesome-personal-brand/2/#5f7cb9f561cc
Kaputa, C (2012) You are a brand! In person and online, how smart people brand themselves for business success. Nicholas Brealey Publishing Second Edition 2012
Karaduman, I (2013) The effect of social media on personal branding efforts of top level executives Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences. 99 ( 2013 ) 465 – 473 doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.10.515
Lindner, E (2015, November 18) How Justin Bieber used Twitter to win over fans. MtV news.com. Retrieved from http://www.mtv.com/news/2510320/justin-bieber-purpose-twitter- one-direction/
The Talko (2016, March 19)10 DUMB Social Media Posts That Got People FIRED. [Video File] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBRZ-lF3t6s
For More Information
Reinventing Your Personal Brand
Cover Photo Retrieved from Elle.com