ShortList Magazine here in the UK recently interviewed me about social media and personal branding. If you have never seen the magazine, it’s a commuter-optimised publication handed out for free every Thursday around Britain, currently with a circulation of half a million.
The content is not very in-depth as the name suggests, just like many bloggers they like to write their articles up as lists. This way it’s a quick read and most people can get through the magazine during their 45-minute commute to the office (well, if they live in London at least).
Here is what I came up with and thought would be published – but as you can see from the image above, they edited and shortened the text slightly.
1. Control Google
Your personal brand is equal to your Google search results, the best way to influence these results is to get active on social. Search engines love to see fresh content coming out of blogs, Twitter and LinkedIn.
2. One Picture
You want people googling you to find the same or at least similar picture of you on different platforms, recruiters always cross-reference candidates for instance. Use one image across the board that represents your brand online. If you’re a lawyer you should probably wear a tie, an architect could get away with a turtleneck.
3. Tagline Consistency
Your personal tagline is where you tell the reader who you are and what you do in about 10 words. Whatever your tagline is, make sure it’s in your Twitter bio, LinkedIn headline and other places to achieve that consistency.
4. Know Your Audience
Being on every two-bit social network is not going to help you, instead look at where your target audience like to hang out and be there. Accountants like LinkedIn, marketing types are all over Twitter, writers like blogging and photographers tend to favour Facebook.
5. Connecting with People
Just like traditional networking, social networking is all about who you know. Social media has made it easier to approach senior business types that historically have had strict gatekeepers. For instance, you can start with following someone on Twitter or commenting on their blog. Exchange a few words online to make sure you’re on their radar. Then advance things by connecting on LinkedIn and take it from there.
6. Content Marketing
Just like large companies think about the content they put out on social media every day and week, so should you. Set up a system of procuring quality content from around the web that is relevant to your audience. Present this to your network on a regular basis, just remember to add your twist to anything you share if possible.
7. Create Content
Even better than procuring content is creating content. This way you are not just reporting the news, you are the news. Content can be anything from a blog post, a podcast or a simple YouTube clip that you can embed anywhere. Ideally others will enjoy your content and like, share, comment.
Any good salesperson does more listening than talking. Any good social media user will set up a listening system so they can monitor mentions for their name, company and industry keywords. The more you know about your market, the better you can position your brand. Use Twitter Search, LinkedIn Signal and Google Alerts for this.
9. Meet People
Social media allows you to network from home but some of the strongest business relationships I have started on social networks and were then taken offline. Make sure to meet up with people for a coffee, lunch or at events – this will create even stronger bonds online.
10. Remember to Switch Off
As brilliant as social media may be, it’s also a giant time bandit. If you find yourself easily losing half an hour just following a hashtag, it’s time to cut down. Try setting a daily limit on your social media activity by using tools like Freedom and StayFocusd.