Social Media & Personal Branding Tips for Solopreneurs
How should you approach social media marketing for personal branding and entrepreneurship?
Branding is a hot topic these days, and personal branding is very powerful indeed. It’s worth investing time and energy into your online presence to reinforce the impression that you want to make on your existing and potential clients and customers.
How do you want people to think about you? How do you want them to feel when they hear your name? Because you do want them to think about you, remember you, and have feelings about you. You want to embed your personal brand into people’s hearts and minds so that they think of you when it comes time for them to make their buying decisions.
We can even go beyond the idea of having people remember you, because actually, you want people to do more than just think of you. You want them to trust you and feel a real connection with you.
What associations do you want people to have with your personal brand? A person’s individual branding goals aren’t necessarily that different from those of an organization’s brand, but it’s important to be clear about how you want people to see and think of you. Here are some of my own personal branding goals, and they’re similar to the goals that I have for Barker Social.
- Personable but also Professional
- Knowledgeable and Helpful
- Trustworthy and Reliable
- Diligent and Hard-Working
- Fun, with a Sense of Humour
- Generous and Honest
- Putting the Client’s Needs First
You can achieve that kind of strong personal branding with your online social media presence.
How can you stay up-to-date on the latest trends, changes, and opportunities on social media when you work alone?
The social media landscape is continuously changing and when you work alone, it’s very difficult to stay on top of the ever-changing trends—but that’s okay! It’s important to be realistic about what it means to work alone, and what you can accomplish with your valuable time.
Setting realistic goals is important and it’s not practical to hop on every new platform just because it’s the latest trend. When you work alone, that’s not the best use of your time. However, it’s important to listen and pay attention to the trends see if these new platforms are more than just a fad. That way, you can invest your time and energy where it really matters.
Of course you should keep your ear to the ground to stay aware of the latest trends so that you don’t fall behind on something that does prove to be very important. But it’s not the tool that’s the important thing.
The important thing is to understand who your target customers are and figure out where they are. For most solopreneurs, these are the platforms that we recommend and some tips about how to manage your personal branding on each platform.
Recommended Facebook Posting Frequency: Daily
On Facebook, you have the opportunity to have a business page, and also to share some of your business know-how as part of your branding with your friends on your personal page. It’s important not to overdo it on your personal page, but it’s also very important not to ignore the power of your personal Facebook network.
Keep in mind that Facebook now limits your business posts’ reach. Each post from a Facebook page will only reach a limited number of your followers unless the post is boosted (paid for), or unless your followers have specifically adjusted their settings to receive all of your posts.
That means that it can be a good idea to share content from your business page on your personal page, and to occasionally post an update on your personal page about something fun or excited related to your work. For example, if you’ve written an interesting blog post about your work, share it on your business page first, but then share it on your personal page, too. Or, if you’ve just had an exciting breakthrough with a client, share your excitement on your personal page.
People are forgetful, so don’t be too private about the work that you do, and don’t assume that they’ll see your Facebook content just because they’ve liked your page.
You don’t want to share work updates with your friends every day – that would be too much – but mentioning something work related a couple of times a month is a very good idea. It will remind your friends about the work that you do and reinforce the success of your personal brand. You never know when a friend might need your services or when they might know someone else who could use your services.
It’s also a good idea to set a monthly budget to boost specific strategic posts on your business page. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money. On Facebook, even $25 can go a long way. The best posts to boost are always those that include a visual.
Your business page needs visuals. Custom branded visuals, photographs, memes, and especially videos are all significantly more effective than a text post for your personal brand. You need some quality visual content in order for people to take notice.
Recommended LinkedIn Posting Frequency: Daily + Interaction
LinkedIn is made for personal branding. Sure, you can also have a business page, but it’s your personal profile that will get the activity, and LinkedIn is the very best place for online networking. The more that you reinforce your personal profile, the more traction you’ll get.
Post daily updates, like curated articles with commentary. Upload articles that you’ve written. Take the time to comment on the content that other people share, and engage with people in your network. And more important than just interacting through your newsfeed, touch base with the people you know via private message.
Send people updates about what you’re doing as an entrepreneur, and ask them how they’re doing. Get people talking about themselves and show that you’re interested in what they do and their success.
The more energy that you put into your LinkedIn networking, the more benefits you’ll reap.
Recommended Twitter Posting Frequency: 3X-14X a day + Interaction
Twitter moves quickly and it can be a noisy space, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t valuable. You need to be vocal and post frequently so that people notice not only your individual updates, but also your recurring profile. That’s when they’ll start to associate your profile with certain kinds of content. That’s when your branding will really start to take hold.
Make good use of hashtags that other people are actively using and searching for. Active hashtags will make you more visible because people will search out those keywords and find you. When you use active hashtags, you’re also more likely to be retweeted.
For every post that you share on Twitter, make sure that you’re also taking the time to find other great content from other people to like, share, and comment on. Give people a shout out using the @name tag to recognize them for their great content. On Twitter, people are generally in it for themselves, trying to get noticed, but you can use that to your advantage. When you do give someone the recognition that they’re looking for, they’ll feel good about you. Just think about the way that people feel when you give them a compliment or acknowledge them by saying their name. On Twitter, it’s the same thing, and putting other people first can put you on the road to personal branding success.
Recommended Instagram Posting Frequency: Daily
As a solopreneur you have a choice to make. Do you want to have a separate Instagram account for your business than from your personal account? My advice to most solopreneurs is not to separate the two. There’s a culture of “real people” on Instagram that makes it different from Facebook in all the right ways. Showing people a part of your personal life and a mix of your professional and personal endeavours can be a good thing. It gives people a glimpse of who you really are, and gives people a chance to get to know you.
That being said, you shouldn’t be a hooligan in your pictures. Drunk, destructive, or overtly sexy photos probably aren’t a part of the personal brand you’re going for. However, there are always exceptions. If you’re a fashion influencer, certain skimpy clothing might be completely appropriate if that’s what you’re selling. It really depends on who you are and what you do.
Instagram is a great place to get selectively real with your audience. If you’re a real estate agent, take photos of your happy clients and of the beautiful houses that you’re showing, and mix those in with pictures of you and your family, or your cute cat, or of the delicious cupcake that you’re about to eat. It’s more important to post “real” images than it is to post a few perfectly staged and professional ones. Instagram your staff, objects, and moments to show a more authentic, personal side to your business. That balance of professional and candid is making Instagram a very powerful marketing tool, and as such I believe it’s a platform that most solopreneurs should include in their marketing strategy.
On Instagram, the more hashtags the better. Use relevant words and word combinations – and lots of them – that people might actually be searching for so they can easily find you.
Social Marketing Works
Social media is an amazing personal branding and marketing tool where you can easily start to build your personal brand on your own. To effectively manage your personal branding on your own, expect to invest two to five hours a week. You can economize on time by using a scheduling tool, and by grouping your marketing time strategically on a weekly or monthly basis.
At a certain point in your career, you might find that your time would be better spent on other things but that the power of social media as a marketing tool is worth a financial investment. At that point, partnering with a social media marketing team makes perfect sense. When you find that you’ve reached the point where social media is taking up too much of your time but you recognize the incredible power of what can be achieved with online marketing, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We can discuss your goals and help you to correct inefficiencies and overspending while also maximizing your results.