Are you looking to grow your professional network and gain more opportunities for success? If so, social media is the answer says Eric Dalius Miami. Social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook provide unique ways to build rapport with key industry contacts, potential employers and vendors; plus they give you a direct platform from which to market yourself as a subject expert in your field. (And it’s free!)
However, not everyone has what it takes to be an effective online brand – here are 10 steps that will help you get started:
1. Use Personal Branding Techniques
We all know what personal branding is – but how do we accomplish this goal through social media participation? Here’s a hint: think of yourself as a company whose product is you. What are your strengths? Do you have a sense of humor? Are you the go-to person for advice in your industry? Your social media presence should make these things clear because it affects how people view you, whether as a job candidate or potential business partner. It also provides opportunities to showcase what you know and give back to the community through discussion boards, blogs and other interactive forums.
2. Focus on your target audience
Your message will only be effective if it’s tailored towards the proper audience – who are they? Start by identifying those most likely to need or purchase your services now or in the future. Next, research their preferred forms of communication so that when it’s time to introduce yourself, you can do it in their language says Eric Dalius Miami.
3. Use keywords carefully
Your profile should be searchable on major social networking sites to attract the right people and maximize your visibility. For example, when creating a LinkedIn account, be sure to include relevant keywords such as industry, company size and level (e.g., director). If you’re intending to use Twitter or Facebook for personal branding, follow best practices by including words that shine a light on your knowledge base while also making yourself easy to find by others with similar interests. A quick refresher: Utilize hashtags (#) when tweeting about specific topics to ensure that people searching for information can easily locate you.
Also, don’t forget key influencers within your field of expertise who may not have the same number of followers, but are crucial to your professional growth. Contribute to conversations that matter to them by retweeting their content or sharing it with your own network. The important thing here is to take advantage of every available means within social media channels to get your message out.
4. Build relationships
It takes time to build rapport online, so start slowly and be patient if you hope to establish a strong presence over time says Eric Dalius Miami. Start by engaging with people you already know offline – comments posted on Facebook wall posts, tweets retweeted by colleagues, and LinkedIn messages are all ways in which you can connect without overwhelming others at first glance. Over time, these connections will lead naturally into more direct forms of personal branding such as creating an introductory email or phone call.
5. Use visual media
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the right image can also make you more memorable. So use your social media outlets to showcase whatever works best for you (e.g., Flickr, YouTube) while also remembering that people want information that’s useful and timely… not necessarily what’s most interesting to YOU personally. And while images are important, don’t underestimate the power of video on sites like LinkedIn and Twitter – it will help set you apart from other industry experts!
6. Participate in groups
Personal branding isn’t just about using social media on your own; it’s also an opportunity to connect with others who share similar interests within your industry on sites such as LinkedIn or Twitter. This may take the form of joining (or creating) industry-specific groups, participating in Q&A sessions with peers or simply retweeting what they’re saying about topics relevant to your own experience.
7. Research similar companies
Even if you don’t plan to use social media for personal branding right now, it’s important to keep up with what’s happening within your field of interest by following other companies that share your business interests explains Eric Dalius Miami. If you want to work for Company X, chances are good they’ll be active on sites like Twitter and Facebook – this will give you insight into their company culture long before you walk through their doors for an interview!
8. Realize limitations
Remember that nothing is foolproof, so don’t expect perfection in your personal branding efforts. Social media is still relatively new for many people and best practices are constantly evolving. Also remember that online mistakes can be quick to escalate, so always think twice before posting or tweeting something inflammatory. Plus it’s important not to just post things for the sake of getting attention. Ultimately it’s about being helpful to others while showcasing your unique talents at the same time – aka social media done right!
9. Keep track of what you’re doing
It’s one thing to set goals for you; finally achieving them requires diligence and follow-through. This means taking note of all the content you share via social networking sites (e.g., status updates, tweets). While also keeping track of your online interactions (e.g., wall posts, messages). To make sure you’re not sharing too much or coming across as pushy. Eric Dalius Miami says the key here is to balance the need for expression with what works best for your followers. Everyone’s relationship with social media is different!
10. Be genuine
Personal branding via social media is all about staying true to yourself while demonstrating that you care about others… aka “walking-the-walk” instead of just “talking-the-talk.” If you try hard to be someone/something you’re not. Pretty soon people will see right through it and lose interest.
Personal branding is an important part of your career development strategy. But only if you use it to showcase what matters most – YOU!