We often talk about leveraging social media to boost a brand’s reputation, customer base and connection with its audience. But let’s not forget about the importance of building a personal brand as well. People are more likely to buy from people they trust, and social media offers multiple ways to build that trust with your target audience. Let’s look at a few.
1. Identify Influencers
Locate influencers who already have an audience that’s similar to yours. The goal is to establish relationships with them so they’ll be willing to collaborate with you and keep your name top-of-mind among their followers.
Don’t go too over-zealous here; you can’t start following them and then immediately ask for favors. Begin by inserting yourself into conversations, retweeting their posts and mentioning them in your own content. Over time, you’ll build a mutually beneficial relationship while also building your own following.
2. Give Back
As you gain new followers, always remember where you came from and offer to be of help to those who have helped you. This could mean connecting with customers to ask if there’s anything you can help them with. It could mean reaching out to influencers and offering to return the favor if they’ve helped you in some way.
Don’t wait for them to come to you, either. Make it a habit to reach out regularly to your circle. You’re not selling anything, but rather offering your time, your talents and your resources in a way that alleviates a burden or answers a question or a need.Offer your time, your talents and your resources in a way that alleviates a burden. Click To Tweet
3. Join Groups
Both Facebook and LinkedIn have many different types of groups, and chances are there are several that relate to your business. These are places where you can showcase your area of expertise by answering questions, posting your own content and simply being a friendly face among other members.
You don’t just have to join groups specifically related to your business, either. For example, if you are a mom running your own business, you can join various mom-related groups on Facebook. When a need or a question arises, be a voice solving a problem.
4. Be Patient
It takes time to build relationships. You need to be engaged regularly with your target audience, not simply post something once or twice and think people will remember you or care who you are. The key is being a problem solver, not a salesperson butting into conversations. By being of service, you’ll build trust and people will learn that you’re the go-to person for XYZ.
I’ve seen this concept in action in a mom group to which I belong on Facebook. A real estate agent I know makes it a point to answer housing- and mortgage-related questions. Does she shove listings in front of people? No. She just solves a problem.
And people remember her! Anytime someone asks such a question, it seems like at least one or two people tag my friend. Here’s a perfect example in a screenshot taken from that Facebook moms group. I’ve darkened out the names and images to protect their privacy, but my friend is the one who was tagged by another member and replied “Thank you!”:
5. Step Outside Your “Industry” Box
In the case of my real estate agent friend, she doesn’t only engage in conversations that relate directly to her industry. Sometimes she simply responds to kid-related questions or other topics that illustrate who she is as a human being. She’ll also show her capacity for compassion by posting links or comments about human interest stories or fundraising efforts.
What are some interests you have? Hiking, fashion, traveling? Get engaged with posts around these topics. Show people that you’re about much more than just selling products or services.
6. Spark Conversations
You don’t have to wait for other people to strike up a conversation. Try asking a question or posting a poll about something that’s sure to get responses. In our moms group example, you could ask for recommendations of a pediatrician, a school or an extracurricular activity. People love to add their two cents, and you’re sure to get a lot of responses!
Avoid topics that could potentially steer your personal brand down a path you don’t want to be on, such as politics or religion. The last thing you want is to ignite a war among your followers, or worse, with you personally.Avoid topics that could steer your personal brand down a path you don't want to be on. Click To Tweet
7. Stay Consistent
Above all, present a consistent image of yourself across all social media platforms and media types (text, video, etc.). You can’t be all things to all people, so just define your voice, your image and your target audience, and then stick with it. People will be checking you out across all different platforms, so you want to come across as the same person regardless of where they find you.
What strategies do you use to build your personal brand? Let’s hear your thoughts.