Building Your Personal/Professional Brand Through Social Media
by Derek Champagne, The Artist Evolution
Here are some ways to start building your brand with social media:
- Create a personal website or blog. One of the best tools you can utilize is a blog – so start blogging. Blog about what’s happening in your community, any special awards you have received, success stories, and new innovations in the field you are pursuing – basically anything that helps build your personal brand.
- Utilize video and image sites to post online presentations and videos – Slideshare, Scribd, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
- Utilize multiple social media networking: Join Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google +.
- Purchase a few domain names associated with your name. You should reserve your name if possible (myname.com, myname.net, other) and a practice name that reflects your own name and specialty (mylastnamefamilydentistry.com).
Consider the following to help shape your personal brand:
First of all, be intentional. You should have a goal in mind and know where you are going. Each action you take should be intentional. Focus on your personal vision and present yourself towards that direction.
Social media sites are a great place to network. Some examples of what to share with your brand on social media are your involvement in community service, mission trips, and other fun and interesting things about yourself. Don’t share overly personal information, but be personable.
Next, make sure you stand out. You want your social media circle to read and respond positively to your activity. In order to successfully do this, your following must perceive your personal brand in a distinct way. One way your brand will stand out from the competition is by your unique messaging strategy. All of your personal communication efforts should be aligned with your brand and your specific goals. When crafting your personal message strategy, present yourself clearly and dynamically, and in an honest way.
Finally, social media is ever changing as new technologies and platforms continue to emerge. Keep yourself informed on how to stay relevant. Be aware of new social media networking sites, apps, and tools that are relevant to your industry niche (i.e. Pinterest, Path, etc.). Staying up-to-date on the latest innovations on the web and implementing a strong message strategy can help maximize your online presence.
Facebook is certainly the most utilized social media site. Your presence on Facebook can be key in interacting with patients and community. Take care in how you present yourself on Facebook. First of all, start a professional page or group. Create a vanity URL with your unique name. Post on your page regularly with interesting content, images, videos, and links that encourage interaction from your Facebook following. Utilize feeds to populate content. Consider promoting your professional page to reach more of your friend base. Overall, make sure you are participating in your niche community – both on and offline.
Twitter is another valuable tool for brand building through social media. In order to use this tool effectively, you should understand how it works and know what you want to do with it. Why are you Tweeting? For social reasons, business reasons – or both? You are limited to 140 characters in a Tweet, so make sure you are sharing the most compelling content. Be genuinely interested in others and ask questions about their hobbies, career, etc. Tweet unusual, groundbreaking information and/or links, videos, and images that stand out from the mundane posts.
Facebook and Twitter are not the only social media sites out there. There are multiple other sites you can use to build your brand. Some of these include: YouTube, LinkedIn, Google +, VisualCV, your personal website and Google profile, Instagram, Vine, blogs, and more. Actively contribute to social media communities within your industry showing that you are up-to-date with relevant trends and news.
Now that you have created social media accounts that are showcasing your personal brand, it is important to manage your online reputation. You should be careful to maintain some level of personal privacy and be careful not to blur the line between contacts and friends. Control the content that appears on your social media pages – un-tag or remove material that does not reflect the image you want to portray professionally.
Always think before you post, anytime, anywhere. Be proactive in managing your own reputation before something negative occurs. Delete the negatives if possible. If you are not able to delete, address the negatives: acknowledge what has been said, restate your personal brand values, and have a friend or colleague restate positives about you. Monitor your reputation regularly. Check out Google’s “Me on the Web” or Google Alerts to be notified when your personal data appears on the web and take action to remove unwanted content.
Here are some tips on how to maximize your presence online:
- Keep your profiles consistent throughout each social media platform: brand messaging, images, etc. A useful website for finding available usernames across all of your social media platforms is www.namechk.com.
- Include social media links on your email signatures, printed materials, etc.
- Include a QR code on the back of your business card that links to your key social media site.
- Utilize management dashboard tools such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to simplify posting to multiple social media accounts at one time.
Remember the major goals in brand building on social media – being recognized, shaping perception about your personal brand, networking, and communicating effectively with your targets.