Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Rules to Branding Your Social Media Profiles

Social media profiles are essential in personal branding today. They tell people all about you and the value you offer, and they give your fans a place to talk and get involved. This tool makes branding easy, but there are a few guidelines that you need to follow:

Your Profile Image
Your picture is kind of like your logo. Everybody will instantly recognize your brand when they see it. Make it something that looks natural. A headshot that shows part of the neck and shoulders is always good. It shouldn't be too big or small. Use the same photo for all of your profiles. If you have others that you'd like to use, put them in your albums. Try not to change your profile picture and if you do, don't do it often.

Logos really aren't appropriate for a personal profile. Remember that it's you and not your company that you should be branding. If it's a Facebook fan page or a brand page on LinkedIn, logos are fine, but for your personal profile, stick with a picture.

Consistency is Key
Most social media sites allow you to customize your profile. You should by all means do this. Use the same design patterns and colors that you use on your website. A great way to do this is to take the horizontal banner of your site and make a vertical version for your profiles.
Consistency is also very important with your profile information.

Each profile should have the same basic information written in the same general tone. This makes you appear reliable and trustworthy. Some sites like Twitter don't allow you as many words in your profile, so create a shortened version with just the most essential information.

Never leave a profile incomplete. Fill out everything. If it's incomplete, this means that you don't have much to say about yourself. It may also make you look lazy. You should be giving people as much information as possible.

Connect all of your social media sites as well as your website. This helps people understand that it's you they're connected with. It affirms that you're the brand they know and love. It also offers more touch points for you and your customers.

What to Write
Your social media profiles should be consistent, but there's one area where you should mix it up, and that's content. Each social media site has certain types of content that it likes. Twitter and Facebook like off-the-cuff comments and personal updates. Networks like LinkedIn and Google+ are more professionally oriented. People on those sites like news stories and helpful tips. It's okay to cross-post your posts, but it's better if you can customize. It's also nice to offer something different on each social media site because many of your fans will be the same everywhere.

Whenever you're using social media, you should always be on-brand. Be mindful of what you do because you never know who will see it. Follow all social media etiquette and keep things positive. You should show your unique personality, but always consider how your actions will look to your fans. Always maintain a high level of  professionalism.

Do You Need a Personal Blog?
Branding is important for anyone who's online, and writing your own personal blog is a perfect way to brand yourself. You need a personal blog if you want to tell the world about your unique talents and the value that you bring. Here are a few reasons why a personal blog is so important:

  • It's Your Social Resume. Your blog is an online resume that shows people what you can do and what value you bring. It shows off your strengths.
  • It Keeps You Relevant. In order to establish an effective personal brand, you need to establish your expertise. Your blog shows that you're up-to-date on what's going on in your industry.
  • It Builds Trust. One purpose of branding is to build trust. People want to know who you are before they buy from you or hire you. Your consistency in your blog posts helps to build this trust.
  • It Gives You an Avenue of Communication. Blogging is all about networking, communicating and sharing interests with like-minded people. You can build relationships with other bloggers and with your readers.
  • Image Control. Your blog is your 'home on the Web.' It can help you manage your reputation.
  • You Can Tell Your Story. A compelling story is important in branding. It shows who you are and where you came from. Your blog gives you a chance to tell yours.

Naming Your Blog
The best name for your personal blog is simply your own name. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. For one thing, if you use your name for your personal blog, you should be the only person writing content. It's okay to occasionally accept guest blog posts, but the purpose of the blog is to sell you, not other writers.

You shouldn't use your own name if the purpose of your blog is to sell products or services. For example, if you're going to do affiliate marketing, use something else for the name. Your personal blog should focus only on you. If you're using it to sell unrelated products, this will cause a disconnect for your readers.

One more thing to keep in mind is that you should only use your name if you plan to blog long-term. If you think you may someday sell the blog, use something else. It's nearly impossible to sell a website named with a person's name.

What Should You Write?

When writing your personal blog, focus not on what you want to talk about, but what your readers want to hear. What would help them the most? Answer their questions and offer tips to help them with their problems. You might also post news about your industry or other topics that you know about.

Try to focus your blog posts on getting some dialog going. Ask questions or present arguments and encourage your readers to voice their opinions. You want to get as many people commenting as possible.

Don’t forget that the personal touch is what really sets a brand apart. This means that it's alright to sometimes write purely personal posts. You don't want your blog to be all about what you did today or how you feel about something you saw on TV, but it's good to let your human side come out. Your readers want your helpful advice, but they also like to know more about you as well.



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