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personal brand

How To Build A Strong Personal Brand

When people think of the word “brand”, they often think of big companies: Pepsi, Chevy, Apple.  But in today’s times, not only do big companies must think about their brand, but so do small companies as well as individuals.  It is important to think about your own personal brand and how they will market themselves as they shape their career.  A strong and authentic personal brand will help you with networking, developing relationships, finding new opportunities, as well as recognition at work or in your industry. Developing your brand can help you become a thought leader in your field.

To get started, here are a few steps to take to get started on shaping your personal brand:

DEFINE YOURSELF

What makes you unique?  What are you good at and what sets you apart from everyone else?

Your personal brand consists of your experience, skills, and passions. Click To TweetThese are the qualities that make up your unique selling points and will play a role when people are searching online for these skills and characteristics.

Are there others who have the same skills with the same goals that you have? Of course. But what makes you unique is you. There isn’t anyone else exactly like you, so it’s important to illustrate what is totally and uniquely you. You must find your niche. For example, I’m a marketer with writing skills, a knack for promoting events with experience with large organizations and a passion for non-profit organizations who make a difference in their communities, and I love music. Maybe someone else is a marketer with large organization experience and they’re passionate about art.

DEFINE HOW YOU ARE PERCEIVED

How do your friends, colleagues, other professionals, and people in your online communities perceive you? Try googling yourself. Take note what shows up first in the search results. Does it line up with how you define yourself?

Monitor your mentions online with google alerts. You’ll want to stay on top of what people are saying about you and where your name is appearing online.

DEFINE YOUR GOALS

Does your online brand reflect your career goals? Do you need to change course or reinforce what’s there?  The online world is a busy, noisy one. You must work to stand out. Be sure your brand reflects the niche you want to be known for.

CREATE CONTENT

Creating and sharing content is the best way to establish expertise and show that your brand is authentic.Click To Tweet

You will need to learn to create and curate content well. There are many options available to you when it comes to creating content. You can write a blog offering expert advise , personal stories or commentary. You can also create graphics or start a podcast. Video is exceptionally popular and engaging. Keep in mind your goals and determine what forms of content make sense for  your niche as well as what type of content you are best at creating.

Be sure to also share from industry influencers. Sharing curated content helps you establish and build relationships with people in your field.

NETWORK

Even if you’re an introvert, you can and should network. Much of your networking can be done online. However, you’ll eventually need to take some of your networking efforts offline as well. Nothing beats face to face interaction when it comes to networking and building relationships. Become active in communities that you are passionate about. Keeping a consistent presence online and off will help build awareness and recognition for your brand.

A strong personal brand requires a strong narrative. What’s your story? Think of influencers with a strong personal brand and their story.

Make sure you are constantly cultivating and guiding your personal brand. A strong personal brand should always be evolving.

events

How To Promote Your Events With Social Media

Social media has many great uses. Promoting events is one great way to use social media. My experience with social media includes many non-profit organizations, and often with that comes events. Social media marketing is a very effective way to inform people of your event, your cause and to help meet your goals for those events.

As with any marketing effort, you need a plan.

Marketing your event with social media requires some important steps to ensure optimal success.Click To Tweet

PRE-EVENT STEPS

Set Your Goal.

What are you trying to accomplish? Are you looking to build awareness, increase attendees or sell tickets? Whatever that goal may be, define it and create a strategy around accomplishing that goal.

Be Social Friendly.

Create a hashtag that is brief and easy to remember. Include it in all your promotions so that your audience can follow the conversation online easily. You should also use tools like hashtracking.com or keyhole.co to track the metrics of your hashtag to gauge the performance of your marketing efforts.  Prepare for event day engagement by creating a Snapchat geofilter for attendees to use at the event.

Optimize Your Messaging and Images.

Creating the right content is key with social media marketing. Create copy that will tell people what they need to know about the event with key details and builds excitement. Educate, inform, excite and create calls to action. You’ll want to create images consistent with your brand that are eye-catching, memorable and shareable.

Host An Instagram Contest.

Contests are an easy way to get content for your Instagram account and generate buzz around your event. Have a giveaway where attendees take photos to post on Instagram, use the event hashtag and tag your account. Here’s a great contest that Ford used for it’s annual Ford Freedom Fireworks event.event

Drive Your Visitors.

Make sure that your social profiles are updated with the link that drives them to information about the event and/or where they can purchase tickets or RSVP. It is a good practice to use a customized link shortener so that you can use metrics to track your performance.

Leverage Influencers.

A sure way to help amplify your message is to leverage the audiences of people and organizations who are involved or have a personal interest in your event. That would include guest speakers, special guests, honorees and sponsors. Using Twitter mentions and tags on Facebook and Instagram of people and organizations alerts them to your online social media promotion efforts and in turn prompts them to share that message with their respective audiences.

Pre-Event Events.

Showcase your upcoming event by hosting a Twitter chat or Facebook Live event. Twitter chat’s give you an opportunity to allow your audience to interact with one of your special guests before the event, ask questions directly and learn more about what to expect at the event. Facebook Live events broadcast to audiences who are already engaged currently online. This will give them a chance to hear from your or your guest about why they should attend. You can use these events to also give a call to action.

event

EVENT DAY ACTIVITIES

Your event promotion doesn’t stop the day before your event.Click To Tweet You’ll want to showcase what’s going on at your event to create buzz for your brand and interest in your upcoming events.

  • Make sure you make announcements at your events encouraging people to use the hashtag and geofilters on social media and share their own stories.
  • Engage with your attendees! Follow the hashtag at your event and retweet, comment and reply to what your audience is sharing

POST EVENT ACTIVITIES

FACEBOOK:

Wrap up your event by sharing photos albums to Facebook. Attendees will look for photos they were a part of or their favorite highlights to share.

TWITTER:

A great tool to use post event is Storify. It allows you to highlight and arrange tweets from your events that is shareable. It will event notify people mentioned in the tweets when you post it.

SNAPCHAT:

Download your Snapchat story and include it in a blog post to share with your readers. You can also download individual snaps to post on other social media sites. This will help build your Snapchat audience as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social media is an incredible tool to help spread your message, reach your audience and attract new followers. Create buzz for your event with the features that make social media marketing the powerful tool it is.

 

social media marketing

Social Media Marketing: What To Do, What Not To Do

Social Media Marketing is not so new anymore. It’s no longer a consideration but an integral part of one’s overall marketing strategy. Even with that being the case, it’s still new to many people. It’s new for those who are just starting a business or career, and it’s new for those who are late to the game.

Recently I had the honor of presenting on social media marketing at ICLE’s Probate & Estate Planning Institute with Terrence Quinn, Estate Planning Attorney. Terrence was presenting, “Marketing Matters” which discussed how to market your law practice. He brought me along to discuss social media. I thought it would be fun to discuss the Do’s and Don’ts.

Whether you’re late to the game or just new to business, you need to know a few rules. What better way to illustrate some of the most important rules than with a few “do’s and don’ts?” Here are 5 that I outlined at the presentation that I feel are key for starting off right and positioning yourself for many wins.

Let’s count them down!

5. DO SHOWCASE YOUR EXPERTISE

The content you share should help make your audience a more informed consumer.Click To Tweet Your content should be valuable and relevant. Offer tips, industry news and recommendations. Social media marketing can help to brand you as an expert in your field, and a thought leader. Take for example, my client, Attorney Terrence Quinn. When  Michigan’s Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act was announced, Terrence immediately wrote an article explaining what it meant and what you need to do. This is how you join in on a conversation that is relevant to your audience and establish yourself as an expert.

4. DON’T DO ALL THE TALKING

My friend Brooke Ballard of B Squared Media always says, “Think Conversation.” Not only should you be sharing relevant content but you should be having conversations. Take the time to comment on posts, reply, retweet, ask questions and share. Be present even if it’s just a short time but be consistent. Conversations build relationships. Relationships lead to business.

3. DO NETWORK LIKE YOU WOULD OFFLINE

Or, like you SHOULD offline. When you’re at networking events you’re looking to make connections. You don’t just walk up to people and start talking about yourself and your business. That is so not social. Think about how you feel at networking events and what you do or don’t like when you’re networking.

2. DON’T THINK OF IT AS A SALES OPPORTUNITY

Some professionals, like lawyers, are restricted from soliciting business under the Rules of Professional Conduct. GREAT! That’s doing it wrong anyway. People like a soft sell on social media. They like to do business with people they like and trust. This is achieved by developing relationships. Gain their confidence by providing value. Most people are tuned into WIIFM – What’s In It For Me? Focus on making your audience more informed and having conversations.

1. DO YOUR RESEARCH

Have you ever heard the saying you can do anything but not everything? This is true with social media marketing.Click To Tweet Do what makes sense for your business. Know your target market and where they are hanging out online. By all means, don’t try to wing it. You need a plan. Plan where, and plan how by doing your research. You could simply survey your customers or clients as one way of learning more about your target market and what their habits are.

On the flip side of research, do know that your audience is doing their research. It’s called Google. When they search, are they finding you or are they finding your competition? If they’re finding you what are they finding?

Keep these important rules in mind when beginning your social media marketing journey. Set yourself up for success.

linkedin profile

How To Create A Winning LinkedIn Profile

First impressions count. That is both true offline and online. Think about what you do when you are checking out a business, potential client or otherwise. You do a google search, right? You want to check out people and businesses to see what you can find out. So really, when you’re considering doing business with someone, you’ve probably already come to a few conclusions before meeting them. This should tell you a little something about how you present yourself online. Your business representation starts online.

With LinkedIn, which is very much like your online resume you have an enormous opportunity to market yourself and your business.Click To Tweet People can make decisions about pursuing you for opportunities just by simply looking at your LinkedIn profile. How you set up your profile, in every aspect, what you say and choose to highlight is essential.

Often times I see that people don’t take the time to upload a good looking photo. Their headline tells you very little, they skip the summary altogether or if they do, it reads the wrong way. We can be the biggest barrier to our own opportunity when we aren’t careful to put our best foot forward online. And LinkedIn is where you want to have your buttons buttoned, your shoes shined. Am I judging you? Yes. And everyone else who goes on a search on on LinkedIn is also judging you. How does your profile look?

Do you..

  • Have a unique URL?
  • Have keywords in your headline?
  • Have a summary sharing your unique selling position
  • Have your summary written in the first person?
  • Have accomplishments listed and recommendations added?
  • Have a high quality professional profile photo?

Let’s explore step by step how to create a winning LinkedIn profile in this infographic below from  Akken Cloud and Ghergich & Co. Position yourself to stand out, grow your network and your business.

Breaking Down the Anatomy of a Successful LinkedIn Profile

Via AkkenCloud

rock linkedin

Utilize These LinkedIn Tips To Rock Your Profile

LinkedIn can be a powerful platform for professionals and entrepreneurs alike. When used properly, you can attract the attention of job seekers, recruiters or potential customers who want to utilize your services. In order to do that, you need to take the right approach to setting up your profile. Utilize LinkedIn’s platform and features to highlight your strengths and stand out.

Don't treat LinkedIn simply as an online resume. Set up your profile to help accomplish your goals.Click To Tweet

Here are  some tips to do just that:

Customize Your URL

It’s much easier to publicize your profile with a customized URL. Ditch the assigned numbers that you get upson sign up and make it personal, (ideally with your name, such as:www.linkedin.com/in/saranickleberry

On the Edit Profile screen, at the bottom of the gray window that shows your basic information, you’ll see a Public Profile URL. Click “Edit” next to the URL, and specify what you’d like your address to be. When you’re finished, click Set Custom URL.

Make Your Headline Sizzle

Skip the standard job title and company. Instead, use that space to succinctly showcase your specialty or value proposition. The more specific you can be about what sets you apart from the competition, the better.

Own Your Summary

Own your summary by writing in the first person.  Writing in the third person appears odd. Everyone assumes you wrote your summary anyway. No need to separate your accomplishments with your identity. Writing about what you did shows confidence and just makes sense.

Highlight Your Experience

Not unlike like your resume, your LinkedIn profile is a place to highlight your best accomplishments. Use your profile experience section to describe what you did, how well you did it, and who it impacted.

Show and Tell

Do you know you can add video, publications, documents and presentations to your LinkedIn profile? You can and you should! This is a site where people ARE interested in what you can do. On LinkedIn you can tell them AND show them!

Be Strategic About Endorsements

Endorsements on LinkedIn are great. But make sure you manage them. You can edit the recommendations listed on your profile. Keep your skills updated and don’t over list them. Be sure they reflect relevant skills.

Connect With Intent

How connected are you? On LinkedIn, you should connect with at least 501 people. This is because LinkedIn will show how many connections you have until you hit 500. People like to connect with “connected” people. Just make sure you connect with intent and purpose.

Don’t Default

LinkedIn has a default connection message that states“I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn.” Don’t settle for that. Use this opportunity to stand out. Tell them why you want to connect and use this as an opportunity to show how much you value making this connection.

Use LinkedIn’s Publishing Feature

The Pulse publishing platform is a valuable way to share original content that is relevant to your business, increase your exposure and establish yourself as a thought leader. It’s also a great place to repurpose older content from your blog that is still relevant. You’ll get new life from your “evergreen” content and expose it to possibly a whole new audience.

Take advantage of these great ways that LinkedIn has made it easier to network and spotlight your skills in a digital way. You’ll stand out and maximize your chances of gaining opportunities for new business.

 

social media etiquette

Social Media For Athletes

I have trained and presented on various aspects of Social Media but recently I had a first. Yesterday I had the opportunity to be a part of the 2014 Scarlet Communications Etiquette Training team for the Rookies of the Detroit Lions. It was truly a privilege. Jacqueline Northrop Baker of Scarlet Communications hosts an Etiquette Training each year for the Detroit Lions Rookies where they learn etiquette in a number of different areas ranging from communications to golf to grooming. I presented on the topic of social media etiquette for athletes.

In preparing for the event, I did some research and found that there were a number of atheletes who were doing some really great things on social media. It was intriguing to see how many have taken such a powerful tool and really used it to benefit them. The biggest benefit to public figures like athletes and celebrities is personal branding. Personal Branding is essentially the continuous process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others. Essentially, it’s what people think about when they think about you.  Athletes, public figures and business owners alike must always consider their brand in their online interactions.

While there are certain things to consider for the professional athlete, much of it is true for those of us looking to use social media for our business or careers. Here are some of the things we discussed:

  1. With social media, athletes, public figures, entrepreneurs have access to social networks that allow them to leverage powerful tools to build their personal brands. It is important to be purposeful and strategic when using social media.
  2. Social Media gives you the opportunity to shape and guide your brand image
  3. It is always wise to be cautious and strategic about what you share and how you share things on social media. We are living in what some call a “post privacy” era. So almost nothing happens outside of camera range.

BIGGEST DON’TS:

  • Being reactionary
  • Being emotional
  • Lashing out

BIGGEST DO’s

  • Providing a forum where your fans can connect, interact and engage with you and other fans
  • Promoting causes that are important to you
  • Being relatable, personable
  • Sharing your story

People like to connect with PEOPLE not entities, not logos. Just like in sports, fans like to connect beyond the organization, beyond the team. They want to connect online with their favorite players. Just like in business, people like to do business with people they like. As business owners we all need to step out from behind the logo and connect with people on a personal level.

Do you follow athletes on social media? What do you look for and like to see from them on social media? Please share in the comments below.