Personal and professional branding can be hard. You have some many formats to brand yourself online; your website, your social media profiles, your social media business pages. It’s hard to know where to concentrate first, but I wanted to bring you five ways to ensure that you personal branding and the way in which you use social media personally does not affect the branding of your small business.
Well, in all honesty, this is not a blog on how to make sure your personal branding doesn’t affect your small business, but strategies to ensure that you are compensating your business with your personal branding.
Be Professional, AND PERSONAL
The way in which we can make the most out of our social presence is to be both professional and personal. What does this mean?
Professional, in this sense, means that you are showcasing your knowledge, expertise and your business branding on your personal profile. It means that you are posting the latest from your company, giving insights into your day, connecting and engaging with your customers online.
Personal would then be showcasing who you are. Did you do something unrelated to your business? Showcase your wife, kids, down-time, hobbies.
The reason you should do this is because it gives a mix of who you are as well as what you stand for – both in your business, and personal life. People are drawn to people who they can relate to, but they also want to know that you’re not an idiot and you know what you’re talking about.
Look at the big personalities on Facebook and Social Media. They are experts in their field, they blog about their industry, they prospect and promote themselves online. But they also showcase the fact they are human – they post pictures with their wives and kids, they wish people happy holidays, they showcase their down-time and how they relax.
Going to a client meeting? Advertise it, post a photograph of yourself on the way in your suit with the notes you’re taking into the meeting.
Going to the cinema? ADVERTISE IT. Post a picture of yourself at the cinema, telling your audience how you rejoiced in the latest superhero movie and how you’re a massive fan of comic books.
It works wonders. Professional. And personal.
Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience is key to any marketing campaign, so personal branding is no different. You should know that each platform offers you a separate gateway into the lives on certain types of people, but more importantly that their expectations differ depending upon which platform they’re on. You should also know how your target audience react to certain things; what do they like, what are their interests, who do they admire?
You should try to promote yourself in the way in which will be best for your target market. This is not about you anymore, it’s about them. You’re not using Facebook personally, you’re using it professionally. To market yourself…
LinkedIn users generally will be more responsive to meetings, business posts, showcasing your work and expertise (use their blogging platform, I post everything there), and most importantly connecting with people who are ready to do business and benefit from your offering.
Twitter is about short, snappy posts that engage your audience, perhaps with a link to your blog, to showcase your expertise. But it’s also about engaging with industry leaders (retweeting, comments on their post, etc), engaging with relevant hashtags to ensure that you are seen by your target audience and demonstrating you have a voice. People on Twitter expect customer service and want you to be incredibly responsive.
Facebook is more about entertainment. You should look to post your memes, funny posts, rants and raves about clients and the rest of the entertaining stuff over here. Although I often post links to my blogs and my special offers on Facebook, my engagement is generally from other posts such as “What is best SEO or PPC advertising?” – it gathers interest, people post, and then more people are encouraged to post and offer their insight too.
Knowing your audience can make a hell of a difference, and be the ticket to a great personal image and a severely terrible personal image.
Respond In Kind
No matter what people say, don’t argue with them. Use empathy. Understand them. Try to reflect on their point, and ask them “What made you come to that conclusion”? It’s alright to have a different opinion, and voice that opinion, but do it in the right way. Screaming “NO YOU’RE WRONG” over the internet (screaming means capital letters, right?) just makes you look like a clown. You should instead engage with them. “You make a fair point, however I’ve failed to understand your reasoning for that view of this subject. Would you care to elaborate?” would be a much better response that “SHUT UP MAN YOU’RE WRONG AND I’M RIGHT…”
You are promoting yourself online, to your potential customers (hopefully). The customer is always right, remember that..
Get Rid Of The Stupidity
Although I said you should be personal, nobody likes a dimwit. You should remove all your posts that contain excessive drinking, smoking, drugs, whatever. You should also clear up your wall from excessive and stupid posts that only hinder your reputation.
This point is fairly self-explanatory. If it’s not relevant to your target audience, get rid of it, or don’t post it. I don’t care how much your head hurts today, nobody cares. Don’t post irrelevant things. Posting nights out and parties are fine, so long as they’re appropriate. Everyone is human, but nobody likes an absolute moron and “that one who gets too pissed.” If you’re going to get obliterated on a night out, it screams you have no self-control. Who wants to do business with someone who has no discipline?
CLOSE THE DEAL
You should close the deal on your personal accounts. I started marketing my company on February 1st after taking a part-time job to concentrate purely on this. Since then, I’ve made twelve deals online to create websites. All of these (except one) has come from my personal account. Only one has come from a message I got on my Facebook Business Page. In fact, I first posted a promotional message on Facebook and LinkedIn on February 6th. In 14 days, I’ve made 12 deals.
Your personal account should be used to reach out to people and close the deal. If you follow the above four steps and you’ve correctly branded yourself to compensate the image of your business, you’ll find yourself winning new potential customers over every day.
In conclusion, my point would be that your professional and personal branding should be the same, but different (it’s paradoxical, I know). This can be achieved working to incorporate your own personality into your company’s online identity, whilst remaining a professional and showcasing your expertise throughout all your social media profiles.
If you need help structuring your online brand, get in touch and we can gladly help.