Starting to be Social

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Thought Leadership.

From employer branding to individual PR, everyone loves a good thought leader. For organizations, solid digital marketing programs are chock full of articles, information, and news that give something of value to their customers. It’s the same for individuals. Maintaining a robust, enriching social media footprint allows you to be a recognized commodity and leader in your professional community. As enticing as this may be, it can be terrifying to step through the shadows and find a voice of your own. Relax–here are some tips to have you tweeting (in the right way!) sooner than you think.

Find Your Social Purpose

Before you start tweeting or Insta’ing on impulse, do some due diligence to think about what the point of your iterations will be. Here are six steps to get you started:

  1. Find an appropriate headshot. Take a serious look at your online image as it exists today. If someone met you for the first time, would she recognize you based upon your current LinkedIn image? If your answer is “probably not,” it’s time to find a photographer and update your photo. The Muse has a great article on how to update your picture for free.
  2. Identify your Platforms. Research various social media platforms out there and choose the top 1-3 that you feel comfortable with. It’s a good idea to think about separating church and state. You may decide to dedicate your (private) Facebook account to family updates and select Twitter (public) as a better professional platform. Don’t over extend yourself by launching your brand across 5 different tools. Choose a couple. Start small.
  3. Make a list of what excites you in your space. Are you passionate about machine learning? Spend some time researching #hashtags resonating with your passion. Find out what the thought leaders in this space are saying and keep a digital bookmark of relevant articles that you find interesting.
  4. You’ve Got Nothing to Say. Don’t worry about pontificating in an article or starting from scratch–think more “curating” content rather than creating content. You may be leery about putting your own opinion out there but starting off by stating what you thought was interesting about an article you read will slowly build your confidence.
  5. Find Relevant Conferences. So what if you can’t attend personally? Go out digitally and explore national conferences related to your passion and interest and start following them. These personalized hashtags are great ways to identify influencers and figure out who to follow and where to “be” digitally.
  6. Create your Schedule. Carve out 2 days per week that are your “research” days, and then figure out 1-2 other days a week that are your posting days. HubSpot offers great tips on best times to post so that you can maximize your voice. It can feel daunting enough to put your words out there–maximize how many people will actually see what you wrote!

Keep it Simple

Start small with building and launching your social profile–keep consistent with your purpose and voice. Try not to get bogged down and consumed with how many “Likes” you get or if a post seems to not garner much reaction. Be focused on the greater goal which is to position yourself as a Thought Leader in your space with a great voice and opinion to share. A great way to build some online karma is to re-share stories or articles that resonate with you. Authors appreciate you opening up their thoughts to your network.

Starting small will help you gain an online reputation that is clean and easy to manage and update. In today’s competitive market, being professional with something fresh and interesting to say will always help you stand out in the right way and I’m always here to help!

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