In the middle of May, I had the pleasure of delivering two Social Branding and Personal Branding workshops. One was to about 50 artists and art agents at the Surtex Conference in NYC on a Tuesday, and then that Thursday I led a webinar for Salesforce Data.com Connect customers around social branding for SMB Marketers and Sales Professionals. In the course of interacting with the different audiences, I found that there are a couple of common ‘starter’ questions around social/personal branding that people have. I wanted to take a bit of time in this post and address a few of the common ones.
Social Branding Question#1 – Why is social branding important?
This is a common one, especially for small business entrepreneurs who want to know how it will tie in with overall growth of their business model. Here’s the thing: it is your business model. Your social brand online is how people will find and initially evaluate you, so it’s tremendously important that it looks clean, professional, and properly curated — but also that it reflects who you are and what your company/service is trying to accomplish.
If you’re not an entrepreneur, it actually might be more important. There really isn’t a strong connection between most employers and employees anymore; “The Gold Watch Era” of your grandfather working somewhere for 45 years and retiring doesn’t happen as much anymore. You are your brand — whether you blog, drive an Uber, or manage product marketing for a Fortune 100 company. You need to make sure your social brand is up-to-date, because if and when your basic employment situation changes, that brand is going to be the driver of your next opportunity.
Social Branding Question #2 – Can I develop my social brand myself, or do I need an outside resource?
Obviously I am a bit biased here because I work with people every day on their social and online branding, but … It is best to hire outside professional resources to develop, grow and protect your online brand, one resource at a time. By investing slowly and cautiously into your online programs with a goal in mind and strategy in place, you will have the highest chance of online branding success. That is why the first resource is the one that will help you define your online brand market position, your audience and your marketing strategy.
What are the three biggest things I should be working on to get started?
My vote would be:
1. Strategize: What do you want to accomplish with social? What is your end goal there? How will you know when that goal is hit? In short: think about a strategy and tie it to something measurable.
2. Make a commitment: Social takes time to work for you. You need to post/share every single day, and often a number of times. If you’re not willing to make the commitment to being social on your key networks each day, it’s not going to have any ROI for you.
3. Nurture your social ecosystem: That means liking, sharing, and commenting on the posts of others. Try to add value into discussions. Show that you’re a thoughtful person around whatever your market area is. Drive conversations forward, as opposed to being a troll. Almost everything shared on social is from someone — or a brand — who is putting out an idea/viewpoint and wants reactions to it. React! That’s the “social” part of social media.
How frequently do I need to be posting?
Here’s my suggestion:
Facebook – 1-2 times per day
Twitter – 5 times per day or more
LinkedIn – 2-3 times per day, Monday through Friday
Google+ – up to 3 times per day
There are millions (literally millions) of studies online about the best times to social share, so Google a few and you’ll get more precise time targets — but most social automation suites (Buffer, HootSuite, etc.) have a “best time” or “preferred time” feature that is based on research relative to that social network. If you use those features, you’ll usually do well.
Do I need to be on all the networks?
Absolutely not. If you’re on all the networks, you’ll probably do a half-inspired job on each one — and you won’t see any ROI on social. Figure out your brand or individual position, right? And then align that with the proper networks. A thought leader looking to get speaking gigs might not need to be super active on Pinterest, for example — but if you make homemade soap, you should be. Flip the roles and the would-be speaker must be on LinkedIn and Twitter, but the soap-maker probably just needs a good LinkedIn profile and not much more. It’s all about where your value lies.
Next time we’ll discuss a bit more about picking the platforms and the tools — but hopefully the above is a good start if you’re thinking about getting more serious regarding your social brand.
I also work with SMBs, brands, and entrepreneurs all the time on these issues. I’d love to help you out. You can find more about me at JasmineSandler.com, including all my social profiles. Feel free to reach out to me on any of those, and also watch some of the videos on my homepage to get a better idea of how I work with brands. I look forward to helping your SMB stand out in your industry/vertical.