How social media powers 'Brand Me'
- 01 November 2019
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Marketers the world over are well versed in using social media to reach prospective customers or new leads. But are enough professionals using social media to create lasting personal brands?
Undoubtedly, social media has changed the way we do business. There is no denying that it has its pros and cons - from perpetuating an always-on culture to raising concerns regarding cyber bullying, hacking and stalking, it’s certainly made aspects of the way we live more complex. On the other hand, it’s done wonders for global connectivity - particularly in business - by increasing brand awareness, improving searchability, loyalty and brand satisfaction. One of its greatest positives is that there is no monopoly on who can shine the brightest in the social sphere - the most influential accounts are held by people from businesses of all sizes, stages and ages. Whatever your beliefs about it, its popularity is unlikely to diminish in the foreseeable future, so finding a way to incorporate it into your professional life is of paramount importance.
As of May 2019, the internet had around 4.4 billion users - a number that grows all the time. Of these, roughly 3.4 billion are active on social media, spending an average of 142 minutes on apps such as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook per day (Brand Watch). Given the significant amount of free time people are spending on social media apps, marketers, business owners and entrepreneurs have a golden opportunity to grab some of that attention and bring more awareness and engagement to their own personal brands.
Whether you’re looking to showcase your business or accelerate your career, social media can play an extremely influential role in your success. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) continues to be crucial to the modern marketer, and social media should certainly be a part of this.
As a digital speaker, author, trainer and CIM Fellow, I have grown my own social media and subscriber following to over 5 million followers, which is the result of consistent, high-quality outreach. Here are my top five tactics for making connections, building your personal brand and promoting your skills across social media:
1) Make a connection
Engaging at a human level is essential to building a social media presence - people buy other people, rather than faceless brands. When it comes to making connections, don’t sit back and wait - it’s essential to be proactive to ensure you build a network of quality contacts. Building a solid and engaged audience is down to you and if you want to accelerate its growth, make sure you’re actively reaching out to new business, brands and people each day, either by joining associated groups or getting in touch with every customer, team member, suspect, supplier, journalist, prospect you know. Always respond to interactions and start conversations of your own. If you can do this, you’ll become part of the 90% of marketers who agree that making the effort on social media has increased exposure for their business.
2) Be adaptable
Digital marketing and consumer behaviour are ever evolving. Nowadays, more than 40% of digital consumers use social networks to find new brands, so you need to be flexible enough to align to industry trends and adapt to consumer needs. If you’ve been paying attention to your audience, you should have a good idea of the pain points that get them talking and the ideas that excite them. These are the areas you should speak to, but bear in mind that they’re likely to be constantly changing. Learn from successes and adapt your content – social media should be a fluid process that is ever-evolving rather than a rigid content calendar.
3) Consistency is king
According to eMarketer, 50% of millennials never go more than 5 hours without checking social media, so make sure you’ve got something to show them. Consistent and frequent posting is key to building a loyal audience – you need to be seen to in order to gain traction. When you start to make high quality content, your audience will build an appetite for it and if you’re not regularly feeding that, they’ll take it elsewhere. Ace this by integrating it into your daily routine – I set an alarm on my phone and spend a quick 10 minutes updating each of my platforms every day.
4) Ensure quality
Almost 40% of users follow their favourite brands on social networks but contrary to popular belief, it’s quality, rather than quantity, that wins the social media game. Your content, tone and voice should reflect the branding and feel of your business, as well as the message you want to send to your audience. Think about the content you’re posting, too. Establish yourself as an expert in your field by sharing the latest tips, trends, techniques and tools in your field. Use compelling visuals rather than graphics and put your focus into mastering one platform rather than juggling all - that way your efforts won’t be diluted, and people know exactly where to find your strongest presence. Aligning yourself with prestigious bodies and organisations such as CIM will also help you to gain a competitive advantage and showcase the fact that you adhere to best practices in your industry – all of which can really boost the credibility of your brand or business.
5) Gain an understanding
Understanding your ideal or current audience is key. You could be killing, rather than crushing, your social media efforts if you aren’t generating engagement with the right people.
Use analytics tools to get a better understanding of the kind of person engaging with your pages and find a way to speak to them. Ask for your audience’s opinions and act on their views by generating content that resonates.
By creating genuine relationships with your audience and posting reliable, high quality content, you make trust and loyalty the foundation of your personal social media brand. If you can do this consistently, engaging your following through your social media profile, you’ll have the foundation for long-term success.
Dawn McGruer is Founder of CIM accredited study centre, Business Consort – Digital & Social Media Academy which has trained and certified over 25,000 professionals. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and has over 20 years’ experience working in the marketing and digital marketing sector. To find out more about Dawn, feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.
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