Thought of the day: “All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called YOU.”

 

Whether you’re an established business owner, budding entrepreneur or an accomplished professional, social media can be a great way to open up new doors and opportunities. However, just as a business can’t create a profile, share a few links and then expect a stream of quality customers to come from that social platform, branding yourself in a meaningful way through social media is going to take some work. Fortunately, once you know where to focus your attention and effort, the personal branding work you put in on social media can be enjoyable and very rewarding.

With that in mind, I want to share some tips I’ve used to build a strong brand for myself across social media, as well as clients who have hired me for social media consulting:

Keep It Consistent and Clear

If you already have profiles on multiple platforms and the way your name is formatted in the URLs differs slightly, it’s not the end of the world. For example, I have twitter.com/michelle_hummel and pinterest.com/michelleshummel/. But if you’re setting up all your social profiles for the first time, it’s worth using a tool like Namechk to find a consistent username that’s available across all platforms.

Consistency is also very important in how you describe yourself. Since many people get anxious at the thought of describing themselves in a short bio, it helps to have a formula to follow. A popular recommendation for social media bios is to answer three questions and then weave those answers into a compelling bio that you can use on all your profiles. The three questions are: what do you do for a living, what are you passionate about and what value do you give to people?

Don’t Underestimate Local

Although the Internet is a global platform, there’s still a lot of value in using social to connect with people in your local area. You can do this by filling out the location field in your profiles, as well as occasionally sharing local links as part of your social media content strategy.

Use a Great Picture

First impressions matter just as much online as they do offline. That’s why it’s essential to have a great picture that you can use on all your profiles. As mentioned above, using the same picture is a good way to build consistency for your brand. If you don’t currently have a great headshot and are worried about having to pay quite a bit to get one, you can get an awesome picture at a reduced price by looking for a up & coming photographer who will be happy to offer a discounted rate in exchange for being able to build up a portfolio.

For more advice on using social media to build a strong personal brand, be sure to look at my online learning program offered through Web Media University.

 

Although Twitter has hundreds of millions of active monthly users, many individuals and businesses still aren’t on the platform. Whether you’ve dabbled in Twitter or are completely new to it, if you’re ready to start using it to build your personal or business brand, here’s what to do:

1. Use Lists

One of the most common questions people have about Twitter and other social platforms is who they should follow. While it’s generally a good idea to be on the conservative side with your initial following activity, you shouldn’t feel limited. You can experiment with following different types of profiles and easily stay organized by using Twitter’s list feature. Then you’ll always be just one click away from checking the latest updates from specific groups of people.

2. Always Respond

Engagement is at the heart of Twitter. So in addition to using the @ symbol to include people in things you post, always take the time to respond to any notifications or messages you receive from other users. Being highly responsive will not only help you build a following, but allow you to build one that’s highly engaged.

3. Try a Social Media Management Tool

Another roadblock many people encounter with social media is feeling like they don’t have time to post as often as they like. Since consistency can have a big impact on how quickly and much your profile grows, using a social media management tool can ensure that your profile is updated with a steady stream of content even when you aren’t sitting in front of a computer.

4. Create An Awesome Bio

By default, Twitter displays an egg icon for new profile photos. You’ll want to update that with a picture or logo as soon as you start your account. In addition to using a profile image that looks great, you’ll also want to write an interesting bio for your profile. By writing something that grabs people’s attention, you can give them a reason to take a look at your Twitter profile and then hopefully follow you.

5. Find the Right Balance

The worst thing an individual or business can do with a new Twitter account is only tweet links to their website. While sharing your own blog posts is great, you don’t want that to make up all of your activity. It’s important to have a mix of text posts, retweets and sharing content that’s relevant to the audience you want to build. By focusing on delivering value to the people who follow you instead of simply thinking about promotion, you’ll be able to maximize the value you get from Twitter.

If you’d like to learn more about building an engaged following on Twitter that will help your personal or business brand flourish, be sure to take a look at the social media certification I offer.

Over the years, LinkedIn has evolved from a fairly simple site where people shared their resume online to a thriving network of engaged professionals. Much of this transition to a far more dynamic environment has been driven by content. LinkedIn has added a number of features over the years that allow people to publish and engage with different types of content. The most notable example of this is Pulse. With LinkedIn Pulse, you can establish yourself as an industry thought leader and get your content in front of the type of people who can help move the needle for your business.

4 Benefits of LinkedIn Pulse

The first benefit of posting content on Pulse is increased visibility. Not only will more people see your content, but it will be the right kind of people seeing it. As mentioned above, the next benefit of building a presence through Pulse is establishing thought leadership in your industry. This can open up all kinds of new opportunities.

The third benefit of LinkedIn Pulse is the ability to grow your network. Because you have control over what content you’re publishing, you’ll attract the kind of people you want into your network. Finally, LinkedIn Pulse provides a great way to engage with your network. Interacting with people on a regular basis will make those relationships all the more valuable.

Getting Started with LinkedIn Pulse

Now that I’ve covered why LinkedIn Pulse is definitely worth your time and attention, I want to share a few tips for getting started with this content channel. The first tip is to think about a broad theme for your Pulse. While you can cover a variety of topics in the articles you share, having an overall focus will keep people coming back for more.

The next tip is to put extra time into formatting your articles. Given the power that Pulse has to spread great content, there are plenty of people competing for attention. That’s why it’s so important to have a great headline and ensure your introduction hooks people to read all the way to the end. You’ll also want to close with a strong call to action.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with integrating different kinds of media. LinkedIn makes this easy to do with a single click, so think of ways to enhance your content by adding different elements like images, videos or even slides.

If you want to be sure that you’re using features like LinkedIn Pulse in the most effective way to market your business, learn more about how I can help with social media strategy and management.

 

Now that 2017 is officially underway, I want to go over five trends that I think will be very prominent across the social media landscape this year:

Combating Fake News

After last year’s election, stopping fake news before it has a chance to spread is going to be a driving a social media trend for all the major platforms. This is also true for other countries like Germany, where Facebook has already announced a major initiative against fake news.

Micro Influencers

Because social platforms aren’t getting any less noisy, huge followings no longer guarantee massive reach. Both individuals and businesses are better off having a smaller but truly engaged audience. Brands of all sizes began realizing this over the last year. As a result, many are moving their promotional efforts towards micro influencers with great engagement instead of big name influencers with huge followings.

Augmented Reality

Although there was a lot of hype around virtual reality in 2016, most experts agree that the technology still has a way to go. In fact, some have said that they don’t see this technology becoming mainstream any time soon. But as Pokémon Go proved in 2016, everyone already has all the technology needed for augmented reality in their pockets. That’s why it’s likely that both the major social media platforms and big brands will do some interesting things with augmented reality in 2017.

More Selling

Social media attribution has come a long way over the last few years. It’s now possible to track exactly where someone came from on most social platforms and then know if they convert on your website. While that’s very helpful, people continue to spend more of their time on social media sites without ever leaving. This behavior means businesses are very interested in being able to sell directly through the platforms. And because it’s a new revenue channel, the sites themselves are also very motivated to unlock the optimal approach to social commerce in 2017.

Live Video

Video was a major social trend for 2016. It’s also a trend that’s expected to continue going strong this year. Specifically, what’s really going to be a driver of social media activity during 2017 is live video. Because this is an area where all of the platforms continue to innovate quite a bit, expect for both individuals and businesses to find interesting new ways to connect with their audiences through live video.

If you want to be sure that your business fully utilizes social media as a marketing channel this year, learn how I can help with your social media strategy and management.

the words should your business hire a social media expert over an image of social media icons.

Yes, your business should hire a social media expert. The reason your business should hire a social media expert is while social marketing can boost your bottom line, that positive impact isn’t guaranteed. In order to see any tangible results from your social efforts, you need to have the right strategy in place. It’s also crucial to stay consistent. And since businesses have so many other things to juggle, trying to stay consistent can be a major challenge.

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Twitter marketing updates

 

Of all the social platforms, Twitter may be the most interesting. Between being heavily utilized by the now President Elect and boasting 317 million monthly active users, there’s no question that the platform is still relevant. However, Twitter as both a platform and company has continued to struggle to really find their place in the social arena.

As Twitter continues to look for what’s going to give them real traction, we want to highlight four recent updates they’ve made which may affect businesses using the platform for marketing.

Twitter Says Goodbye to Vine

At the end of October, Twitter announced that the Vine app would be discontinued in coming months. In case this name doesn’t ring a bell, Vine was a platform built for looping 6-second clips. Twitter bought the company in 2012 before it had officially launched. Twitter said that for the time being, they wouldn’t delete any Vines that have been posted.

Even though the clips on Vine were extremely short, dozens of Internet personalities had managed to build huge followings on Vine. Many of those personalities could command rates of five or even six figures for producing sponsored Vines. That being said, most of those individuals had diversified their presences to other platforms like YouTube and Instagram over the last year.

New Direct Message Features

Shortly after their announcement that the Vine app will be going away, Twitter shared two new direct message features. The features are quick replies and welcome messages. Specifically designed for businesses, these features make it easier for businesses to use Twitter as a customer service platform.

Highlights on iOS

Twitter originally debuted their Highlights feature to users on the company’s Android app. The purpose of Highlights is to provide users with a simple summary of the best Tweets that are most relevant to them. These summaries are delivered via push notifications. Now anyone using an iPhone or iPad can go into the app settings for Twitter and enable this feature.

Local Twitter Developer Communities Worldwide

Like many platform companies, Twitter’s relationship with developers has been contentious. While much of the platform’s growth has been driven by developers making their own applications using Twitter’s (un)official API or data, there have been multiple cases of Twitter pulling the plug on third-party apps despite their popularity. Going into 2017, it looks like Twitter is working to strengthen these relationships by expanding their Twitter Developer Communities initiative around the globe.

If you want to ensure that you’re able to keep your Twitter marketing strategies relevant to the changes made by the platform, I recommend taking a look at the online training I offer through Web Media University.

webinar promotion on social media

 

Although none of the technologies I’m going to talk about in this post are brand new, we’re at an interesting point with the Internet where several promising forms of technology are really hitting their stride. Those technologies are webinars and social media. (more…)

mployees to Manage Social Media training

Social media has become a very important channel for businesses of all sizes. Whether a business has a handful of employees or dozens, it’s important for the entire team to be involved in social media. One reason is social media works best for businesses when they’re able to use it to communicate their brand. Since employees play an important role in defining a brand, integrating all of their voices into social media is very useful. (more…)

Best Practices for B2B Lead Generati

In a relatively short amount of time, LinkedIn has grown into one of the biggest networks on the Internet. This platform now boasts more than 400 million users. Not only does LinkedIn have a lot of users, but its professional focus makes it a gold mine for any business that wants to generate B2B leads.

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Success of a Social Media Marketing Campaign

 

When social media started gaining traction, a common hesitation businesses had was being unable to track the results of their efforts. Although social media marketing is now an activity that can be tracked in detail, that doesn’t necessarily mean doing so is easy. Given that much of people’s online activity is spread across multiple devices, plenty of businesses still struggle to with social media measuring (ROI). (more…)

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