Your personal brand has a significant impact on your career. However, many people overlook how they represent themselves online. While there are millions of professionals “on” platforms like LinkedIn, many neglect to proactively build their reputation and leverage it to boost and support their careers. So, how can you actively develop your brand and use social media to create meaningful dialogues between you and the people you want to influence? Here is some sound advice from Patrick Convery, Senior Marketing Manager for MRI.
- Be real. Creating and attempting to maintain a false persona is exhausting — and your audience will see right through it. Branding is not about positioning yourself as something that you are not. ”It’s all about strategically showcasing your skills and your expertise in a way that brings value to your audience,” says Convery. “The key is to deliver this content to your followers in a way which nobody else can: by being yourself. It’s sustainable and leads to quality engagement.” He advises that you start by identifying your goals and taking inventory of your skills and credentials, your interests and areas of specialization, and your core values and beliefs.
- Define your target audience. You’re not out to attract everyone— just those you want to work with in some way. Craft your messaging and content strategy to attract those specific people. Think carefully about the segments you want to reach. What are their needs and concerns? What can you offer them? How do they consume content? “Don’t use resources on content creation and distribution until you have clearly identified your social media audience,” warns Convery. “If you’re just throwing stuff at a wall to see what sticks, your current audience will literally get mixed messages from you — leading to confusion, a lack of credibility, and ultimately, a damaged brand that’s not reaching its full potential.”
- Adapt a demand generation philosophy. Distributing free content is one of the most effective ways to build your reputation as a subject matter expert in your field and earn the trust of your target audience. “People are sick of being pitched and sold to. Stop telling your audience how great your widget and widget services are — show them why your widgets are amazing,” says Convery. “Stop telling everyone how you can help them and start actually helping them. If you consistently share your expertise and give without asking, you will position yourself as an authority in your industry — and business will come to you.”
- Grow your network. Next, build relationships with other subject matter experts within your niche by frequently engaging on their posts. This can open new opportunities and help you grow your social following. When you have a personal brand that clearly articulates who you are, what you do well, and how you help others, it makes it easier for individuals to see value in connecting and collaborating with you. “Your digital network is your distribution channel. Your goal should be to deliver quality content to as many relevant individuals as possible,” Convery adds. “Amazing content is worthless if it doesn’t reach anybody.”
Finally, Convery emphasizes the importance of consistency. “Your personal brand is your reputation and it will fizzle out quickly if you don’t nurture it. To grow a strong brand, you should post regularly and constantly interact with others,” he says. “But don’t post just to meet a quota. Delivering information which your audience finds value in is critical. Like everything else, however, your messaging needs to evolve or your brand and its relevance will become stale, and perhaps, obsolete.”