Picture this: sun, beach, and a book. For the next few days you have absolutely no commitments except reading the book in your hand and absorbing all the Vitamin D that you can. Immediately you fall in love with the characters and with their journey. You feel so connected to this story, because, even though the characters are fictional, a certain affinity sweeps over you and draws you in.
This same type of affinity comes into play when social media is used effectively. Many times, we don’t personally know the people who we are following, and the majority of the time, they certainly don’t know us at all. But we can come to feel so connected to them! We follow along with their lives, from where they go shopping to what they like to do on the weekends with their family. These social media characters have created their own story, have developed a real-time narrative that has us following attentively, as if they were characters in our favorite book. And by no means is this a fluke. These individuals have carefully crafted their personas on social media, understanding their audiences and posting content that will be valuable and entertaining to their followers.
With effort, some strategy, and a plethora of creativity, you can create your own brand on social media by following these steps.
- Identify your brand
When I say brand what I mean is…you! What do you want to share with people? What inspires you, excites you, energizes you? Do you love to talk all things travel, or do you have a fabulous collection of 15-minute recipes? If you pick something that you are passionate about, then building your social media brand will feel less like work and more like fun.
- Set up or step up your profile page
This is the page that will give people the snapshot of who you are and why they should be following your page. Ensure that all fields of your profile are completely and accurately filled out, and if you have another relevant website or other landing page that you want to share, be sure to include it! You have to give them a place to get even more information.
- Find your voice
It can take practice to figure out your tone. Can you be cutely snarky or do you just sound rude? Are you able to focus on just the facts or will that make you sound like a boring robot? Can you pull off self-deprecating humor or does it come off as a cringe-worthy humble-brag? And just practice isn’t enough. You need other people to read it and tell you what works and what doesn’t.
- Start posting
Now that you have your profile, tone, and brand established… post! Commit to a cadence of posting that is manageable for you. It should also give your audience the content they want without overwhelming them. Too much content too quickly turns people off. They should never get sick of reading your content but always be wanting more.
As in real life, good content starts a conversation. When people respond to your content, be sure to acknowledge their comments and respond back (preferably within 24 hours). We are all people, and our followers, just like us, love when our comments are acknowledged and well received.
- Connect with your community
Engage with other influencers and people in your social media niche. Remember, this is a community, and just like marketers attend marketing conferences and engineers attending engineering conferences, it’s important to know who the key players are, and more importantly, for them to know us. Keep it friendly, and be sure to engage with their content. Also consider sharing others’ content on your platform to shine the light on what other influencers are doing. Not only will you hopefully have a new follower on your end, but potentially an advocate for your content as well.
To wrap this up we will leave with this age-old piece of wisdom: have fun! Yes, social media can be “serious” business, but it’s also a casual and real way to connect with people who have the same interests as you. We gave you some steps and ideas, and you have your own goals. But if you are true to your branding, then your love of the content should come first. Don’t overthink it, trust your gut, and be genuine in all that you post. It’s time to share, inspire, advocate, and put your mark on the social media world. You’ve got this!
Jacquelyn Adams, an IEEE Senior member, is a nationally-recognized leader in employee learning and development. Find more of her Lessons on Leadership columns here or connect with her on LinkedIn here.
Andrea Mueller is the Marketing Manager for Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas & enjoys talking about all things marketing! When not working, she enjoys traveling, hiking, running, and yoga amongst many other things. You can follow her on Instagram at @takeofftoanywhere or on LinkedIn here.