Some of you may have noticed that there’s been quite a bit of talk about branding on ABOH lately. This is because, on Thursday I've got my first public speaking gig about – you guessed it – branding! I'm going to be speaking to journalism students about building a personal brand.
You’re probably fed up of people telling you how important branding is, so don’t fret. I'm not going to repeat what they say. But some people think once they've branded up their website, they’re sorted.
The truth is, you’re not even close.
Building a personal brand online doesn't start and end with your website. Sure, your site might be the core of your brand. But what about the other aspects that help to bring your brand together?
And what I mean by that is – social media.
Social media is so important for your brand. It helps to bring everything together.
It helps you to develop more of a personal identity, establish your expertise and stand out.
You want to be everywhere.
But when someone comes across you on social media, how will they know they've found who they’re looking for? How will they know they've found you?
So today, I wanted to take you through in a really simple way how you can brand yourself using social media. Let’s go!
Step 1: Google Yourself
It just got real, guys. Now, I'm not one for Googling myself. But this will show you how interlinked the platforms for your personal brand are.
So what you need to do is use the name of your blog. Now, if your blog name is something different to your full name you can do a search for both of them. But for me, I’d just do a search for “a branch of holly.”
Here's what my search results look like:
So the first result is my blog, which is brilliant. Then the third and fourth results are two of my social media platforms. But what interests me the most is that the social media platform I use the most – Twitter – doesn’t appear.
In my case, and probably for you too, social media and blog content form the foundation of your personal brand.
Step 2: Find Your Aim
This comes down to what you want to use social media for. What’s the purpose of it for your online presence? Why do you want your social media platforms to appear when someone searches for your name? What do you want them to see?
Now, this could be the same for all your profiles. Or it could be different. Let me explain.
My LinkedIn profile has a slightly different purpose to my other social media channels. It’s there to lead people to my site. But the bigger aim than that is to showcase my career for any opportunities in the future.
It’s good to start off with your LinkedIn profile when it comes to branding yourself with social media. Simply because this is this is the real version of you. It’s also a place where you can show off your talents and promote yourself without feeling icky.
If you want to get your content out there to a wider audience, try focusing on Twitter and Facebook. If you’re a creative or a designer, focus your attention on Pinterest and Instagram.
Each platform serves a different purpose. And that's got to relate to the different objectives you have.
Step 3: Keep The Same Name Across All Your Profiles
When someone is looking for you or comes across you online, it really helps if all your profiles match up. This comes with keeping the same name. If your blog acts as the foundation of your personal brand, you want that name to be the name you use everywhere.
Now I get that sometimes this might not be possible for you. So in that case, just try and come up with a variation.
Scroll down for an awesome example using my friend, Fran's brand.
See how every single name is the same? That’s an example of a great streamlined brand on social media. She’s also got her first name in there which makes her even more relatable.
Step 3: Keep the Same Profile Photo
Something to remember about building an online presence is that it’s not as natural as face-to-face. This is for the reason that without photos, you can’t see other people online. To make a brand relatable you’ve got to get a photo in there.
But it’s even better if it’s the same one. New readers don’t know you. Help them out and let them know you’re the same person by using the same image across all your social platforms.
Here's another great example:
Step 4: Keep the same Cover Photo
Having the same cover photo across your channels also helps keep your brand consistent. You can either use something from a page on your blog – for instance, I use my home page as my cover photo.
Or you can use your own logo as a cover page, like Chloe does:
As long as there’s something in your cover photo that’s related to your brand, it'll work. Whether it's a colour, logo, graphic or something else. It's just got to relate.
Step 5: Keep the Same Colours
This is a no brainer. You don’t want to put your colour on Twitter as red when the main colour of your brand is purple.
See what I mean?
Keep it consistent. Pick out one or two main colours that you know represent your brand.
What you’ll notice about Kory above is that she's got a blue background in all her profile images. And that’s also the main colour of her site. You’ll see it everywhere because it represents her.
Step 6: Keep Your Bio Consistent
You want a statement that grabs attention. You want a statement that makes people click that follow button.
Ideally, you want your statement to include:
- What you do
- What makes you stand out (something interesting)
- Something personal
This statement is like an advert. It’s there to advertise your brand.
Regina’s bio is always my favourite.
Notice how she’s included what she does, but she’s also got what makes her stand out: “actionable content”. And then there’s a sentence that lets you get to know the real Regina.
That’s the bio you need everywhere.
If you’re struggling to make your bio the best it can be, click here to read this post to help you create one.
Step 6: Have Consistent Image Content (+ Board Covers)
Your brand's design aesthetics need to be in all your images. Especially when you're sharing your own content on social media. Make yourself a template and go from there.
This is an example from Rebecca’s twitter feed. Here, she’s shared two of her own posts and her graphics are completely consistent. That’s what you want to aim for. Now something else you’ve got to think about if you’re active on this platform is branding your Pinterest boards.
Yep, I said it.
All your Pinterest boards should be consistent with your brand. I don't care whether you've got 5 or 5oo. It makes a big difference.
Can you guess what the main colour of Fran’s site is from looking at her Pinterest boards?
These board covers completely reflect the style and brand of Freeborbeleta. You can get this same effect. It’s all about paying attention to you and your online brand.
Step 7: Post Consistently On All Your Profiles
Here’s the biggie. What we've talked about already is how you get people to find you.
But how do you get them to stick around?
Sharing what you know and what you’re passionate about with others – aka, content.
Being active on your social channels is key to attracting people, building a reputation, gaining followers and growing your community. Posting consistently relates to growth.
To start off, it’s good to know what the definition of “active” is. In terms of posting it’s:
- 2-3 x a day on Facebook
- 5-10 x a day on Twitter
- 1 x a day on LinkedIn
- 1-2 x a day on Google+
- 50-100 pins on Pinterest
- 1-2 x a day on Instagram
This is your starting point. Then, to make yourself even more visible, you want to create a posting schedule that’s specific to you. Forget the general times – you want to post content when you know your readers are going to be online. When you know your readers are going to see it.
And luckily for you, I’ve got a full tutorial on how to do this in less than five minutes. Go do it now, then come back.
This will get you big results. Since I started this strategy my community has grown a hell of a lot over social media.
But remember – you’re not just on social media to post content. You’re there to interact with others. You’re there to build relationships.
Every day you want to:
- Have conversations with people on Twitter
- Comment on blog posts
- Take part in discussions in Facebook groups
- Comment on Instagram photos
And so on – and more than once a day!
If you’re active people will start to notice. It’s as simple as that.
If you’re a blogger, I’m guessing that your blog is the core of your online brand. So the question I hear you ask is:
How do I get people to come find me on social media?
Link to your social media channels everywhere.
Link to them all from your blog. Link to your blog from Twitter. Link your Twitter to Pinterest. Link everything to Facebook.
That’s how you get people to find you.
I really hope these tips for how to brand yourself with social media can help you with how you present yourself online. You are a brand whether you know it or not and that is a brilliant thing. You can do. And it’ll be so worthwhile.
What tips do you use to help brand yourself through social media? What are some of the biggest takeaways from this post for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!