When it comes to driving customer engagement with you brand, it’s important to remember that for the most part, business is about relationships between people.
Research has shown that brand messages are 24 times more likely to be re-shared when they originate from a personal social media account rather than a brand account. This is because in reality, people identify far better with other people than they do with brands. More and more companies are now learning from this, and building “personal brands” on social media for their leadership. Companies like EY, Sage, Salesforce, and KPMG are just a few of the big names who are currently doing this.
So how does a business go about building personal brands using social media, and who should it build them for? While the specifics will vary from business to business, there are certain constants that we will look at in this article.
Identify who should represent your brandDepending on the size of your organisation, the number and type of personal brands that are right for you to use will vary. But as a rule of thumb, the best place to start is at the top by creating a personal brand account for the CEO/Managing director. You should also think about creating a presence for other director level employees, particularly those overseeing customer facing functions such as sales, business development, and customer service etc.
Once Identified, Audit their existing online presenceWhen you’ve identified the key people for whom you’ll be creating personal brand accounts, before you do anything else, make sure you stop and audit their existing online footprint. This is very important.
What I mean by this, is to thoroughly check Google search results, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etcetera for anything publicly accessible which could portray the business or that person in a bad light.
If you do find anything that you wouldn’t want associated with your brand, either get it removed (if possible), or make a judgement call on whether that person is suitable to act as a figurehead for the business. It takes a long time and lots of effort to build a good reputation. The last thing you want is for all that work to be undermined by an offensive photo or social media post from one of your key people.
Occupy the right platforms to reach your target marketIt’s important that you understand which social media platforms are the most relevant for your business before you start investing time and money into building a personal brand following on any particular network.
There’s no point trying to build a presence on Instagram if all your customers are on Twitter, or focusing on Facebook if your target audience is using LinkedIn.
It can be tempting to use a scattergun approach and try to cover everywhere. But it tends to be far more effective to use a focused approach, concentrating on no more than one or two platforms at a time. You will build traction faster, and engagement levels will be better.
As a general rule, always start with where your business has its strongest existing social media presence.
Present the right imageEnsuring that you present a professional image in line with the culture of your business is absolutely critical when it comes to creating a great personal brand.
You should have professional headshots taken for use as profile pictures, and ensure that high quality images are used for things like headers. Avoid using low resolution, grainy pictures at all costs. They aren’t a good look for any business, and can turn people off very quickly.
Make sure that that the style of the imagery and feel of the profiles fits your brand image. For example if you’re a financial services firm, you want the profiles to depict an image of professionalism and dependability. Or if you’re a creative agency, you may want to show off your fun side. Whatever your company image, make sure it is correctly reflected by your personal brands.
Create and share useful, engaging contentOnce your business’s personal brand accounts are up and running, you need to make sure you are using them effectively, and in a way which engages your audience. One of the best proven ways in which to do this is via sharing high quality, and useful content.
A great place to start is to create some blog posts, videos and infographics which relate to the functional areas of the individual’s personal profile, which raise awareness about your business without being to “salesy”. Personal brand profiles are best used to build trust and familiarity with your brand, not as a channel to try and directly sell through. People don’t use social media to be sold to. They use it to look for content, and to engage in conversation.
Leverage personal expertise to grow your brands reachMake the most of the expertise of people behind the personal brands. For example, if you have created a personal brand for your CFO, they could offer to write a guest publication on a finance topic for the blog of a complementary businesses. This is a great way to increase reach, and it’s a win-win for both parties. You get exposure to a wider audience, and the business featuring your post gets access to free, good quality content that their customers can make use of.
Originally posted on Business Zone