In case you haven’t heard, our Twitter Thought Leader competition (and a similar competition between our Buzz Builders) has sparked a lot of conversation on the social web (you may want to click here for some background). Much of this conversation has revolved around the value of a follower. When it comes to Twitter followers, what’s more important: quality or quantity? As strategists, we often focus so much of our efforts on keeping our clients happy and getting more followers for their brands that we often neglect the growth of our personal brands. The fact of the matter is, if you have any social media presence at all, you are your own brand: Everything you post or tweet is a representation of who you are. How do you represent yourself on social networking sites? Here is a list of 5 ways to grow your personal brand, in both quality and quantity:
Be authentic, real, and transparent: Start off by talking about what you know, love, and are passionate about. Talk about topics you enjoy, topics that interest you, and topics that make you think. Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions. Most importantly, be open to criticism and admit when you’re wrong. Social media users would much rather talk to “real” people than people who pretend to be something they’re not.
Follow, engage and connect with like-minded people: Once you’ve found your voice, it’s time to start engaging in conversation. Sites such as Twellow , WeFollow, and Klout are tools that can help you find people who are influential about topics that pertain to your personal brand. Follow them and engage with them. Ask them questions, share their insights, and tell them yours. Social media is not about broadcasting: it’s about creating multi-dimensional interactions and forming meaningful connections. There’s a reason why television commercials and print ads don’t work as well as they once have: people want to be talked with, not at. Engage with as many people as possible: your never know who the gamechanger is going to be! (advice from Brian Murray).
Get off of Twitter!: Okay, I don’t really mean that, but it’s important to remember that your personal brand extends outside of Twitter. Utilize Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other sites to share content, gather information, and exchange insights. Joining and participating in Facebook and LinkedIn groups related to your areas of focus are great tools that can help you to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
Enter the blogosphere: Bloggers are powerful influencers. Find blogs that you find interesting, post your comments, and reply to other readers’ comments. Ask questions and start conversations related to the topics at hand. If you become inspired, don’t hesitate to reach out to your favorite bloggers and inquire about guest blogging opportunities (that’s how I was able to write this post for the Socialnomics blog). Eventually, you may become inspired enough to start a blog of your own!
Participate in Twitter Chats: Participating in relevant Twitter chats and engaging in conversation with people who have similar interests is a great way to grow your personal brand and expand your network. After participating in #LikeableChat on Sunday, I met a group of other people who are also passionate about Disney. We may even be starting our own #DisneyChat soon (stay tuned for details!). These chats are beneficial in helping you form relationships with like-minded people. Building these connections can often help you expand your network even further. ::EDIT:: #DisneyChat is the first Wednesday of every month at 8:30pm. First one will be Wednesday, July 6th. Talk to you then!
How do you grow your personal brand? How important do you think it is? Do best practices for personal brands and corporate brands differ?