Building Your Personal and Professional Brand

Building Your Personal and Professional Brand

how to build personal brand

When we hear the word BRAND, images may pop into your head of the Starbucks mermaid, that Smiling “A” that means Amazon or the little Apple with a bite out of it. These are such recognizable brands, that there is no question what they are “known for.” How did they do it? How do we become “known” for something?

The first thing to realize is your brand is not necessarily what you say about yourself or your company–although you can absolutely help shape it. Just because you put something on your website or social media bio, doesn’t mean that others will believe you. You have to prove it… and have others share that same proof for you.

Your brand is what others say or feel about you. You may say you are an expert in the real estate arena, the animal photography industry or in Italian women’s shoes (in which case you and I should be best friends), but if you aren’t putting out some sort of content or product that people talk about, share or otherwise come in contact with, your desired brand will have a tough time becoming known.

building personal brand

WHO ARE YOU?

To begin crafting and influencing your personal or professional brand you have to start by identifying what you want to be known for. Notice I didn’t say what you are good at. Many of us have talents or skills that we don’t even want people to know about. My ability to train dogs to roll over and do the moonwalk is not a skill I am ever going to want to be “known for.”

Perhaps we don’t enjoy doing something, or we have “squiggled” or pivoted on to a new career track. We have to start by creating a list of skills and attributes that you want people to associate with you and your brand. When people are talking to their friends or co-workers and one of these topics come up, you want them to say, “I know who’s an expert at this” or “I know who you need to talk to.”

 

WHO or WHAT ARE YOU BECOMING?

Now, what are the skills you’d like to be known for but haven’t yet mastered?  Is there an area you’re developing? This is important when you’re starting over, re-entering the workforce, or making a pivot in your career.  Don’t minimize these skills and don’t wait until you have that proverbial 10,000 hours of expertise before you start to weave it into your branding plan. Finish this sentence:

I am becoming ___________.  

Starbucks started out as a coffee roaster and BECAME the “third place” for people to come and hang out. Lululemon started out as a maker of surf and skateboard shorts and BECAME synonymous with yoga-pants. The Knot started by writing articles for unique and counter-culture wedding ideas and then BECAME the go-to planning site for all things “wedding!” What are you becoming?

 

START BEFORE YOU’VE ARRIVED

When you are working in a new area and BECOMING the expert or resource, you want to share this journey with the world. Jump into the conversation. Share what you are learning and doing. If you are launching a product, bring us along on your journey to involve us in your process. We love to come along when someone is learning, growing, and going somewhere we want to go as well.  If I am on that same journey or wanting to begin, your content will inspire and educate me, even if you have not “arrived.”

I know you can’t get great until you get started, so the longer you wait to begin, the longer it will take for you to get great. Start. Learn all you can, and share the nuggets of learning along the way.

 

avatar persona

WHO WILL YOUR BRAND REACH?

The next step is to understand who your brand wants to reach. Who is that ideal person that will connect and “get you?” This is important because it will shape HOW you share your expertise and brand attributes. Go beyond the “what gender, age, and income level define my ideal client.” Dive into the psychographics as well. What is your ideal customer interested in? What do they hate? What are the things your ideal customer would be doing during the day? How about on weekends? What does he or she read or watch on television? Where do you think she shops? How about online? What problems does she have that you can help her with? What are her pain and frustration points?

This may seem unnecessary, but it is so important to get this right. If you try and create content for everyone, you will create content for no one. The more targeted you can be with your products, services, or content, the easier it is to attract the right audience and the greater loyalty someone will have for you.

WHAT WILL YOU CREATE AND SHARE?

Content comes in so many forms. Written articles, blog posts, whitepapers, videos, podcasts, webinars. What will you create to solve a problem for that ideal person you identified earlier? If you need a starting point, simply write down the top FAQs your ideal customer would be asking Google, SIRI, or Alexa. Now take each of those questions and answer them in different formats—blog posts, articles on other websites, videos, podcasts, webinars, infographics, etc.

Be sure to stay focused on your overall goal for your brand.  This doesn’t mean you can’t share any other content on your social sites or that you can’t be involved in other side projects, but if someone you don’t know, looks at your body of work, can they tell what your area of expertise is? If you suddenly post political rants or lots of information on other topics, it begins to dilute or pollute your brand.  Do a self-audit. Scan down a page of your social media channels. What would someone say you were known for if they looked at it? Would YOU follow YOU?

 

WHERE WILL YOU SHARE IT?

Today there are so many channels to share your content. You can share your content on websites, blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Medium, and Podcast channels and so many more. The question is often, “Do I need to be on all of them?” Absolutely not. I like to say, “Choose one and NAIL IT, before you decide to SCALE IT!” Select the social channels that you believe your audience is most active on. If you’re not sure, there are ways to do a bit of research first.

Where is the best place to post content

Look across the different social channels and search for your peers, competitors, and customers. Where do you find them hanging out? Are there groups they are participating in? Search industry and conference hashtags on each channel. This can pull up content that can help you discover where you might want to be found as well.

Start with one or two social channels and be consistent. Don’t spread yourself so thin that you can’t keep up with it. Sharing and participating on social media channels is more than just blasting your content out to the world. It requires you to participate in the community as well. Comment on the content of others. Ask questions in groups or share your expertise there when others ask questions. It’s the “social” part of social media.

 

HOW OFTEN DO YOU NEED TO HAVE CONTENT OUT IN FRONT OF PEOPLE?

This is another common question. There isn’t a hard and fast rule, but there is a direct correlation between frequency and the number of people who will be drawn to your content. Obviously, if the content is not good, people won’t share it or want to consume it, but even good content produced once ever 3-6 months is not going to do you much good if you are trying to establish a brand.

Many people want to be known like Seth Godin, Daniel Pink, Marie Forleo, or Adam Grant, but they don’t want to do the work those people do when it comes to creating and sharing content. The people who are considered thought leaders in their industries are sharing video content, blog posts, writing books, newsletter content, podcasts, and everything in between.

Start with a goal to write or create one piece of good content per week. This can be you answering a question or giving your opinion on a topic that has come up at work or in the news. Work to create a habit to write or record something every day, even if it doesn’t get published or used. By doing this daily, you will begin to get better and you will end up sharing more content more often, and in turn, you will become known for this.

time for social media

WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME?

I get it. We’re all busy and our time is more limited than ever. This is why it’s hard to become a “thought leader” or well-known brand. If it were easy, everyone would do it. To stand out requires sacrifice somewhere. You can hire someone to do the writing and sharing for you (hint hint…that’s what we do at SocialKNX), or you can put in an extra hour each morning or each evening to do what others won’t do.

You can sacrifice evening television time for writing time. You can trade a couple hours of sleeping in on the weekends and get up to work on your personal or professional brand. When someone asks, where they should spend their time, my answer is, “it depends.” I can tell you where NOT to spend your time. Don’t waste it watching television. Don’t waste it attending meetings you don’t have to be in (don’t even get me started on this one).

Become a high productivity content creator. While you are waiting in lines, at appointments, at soccer practice, pull out your phone or notebook and jot down ideas. I love using Evernote for this. I have notebooks in there for podcast guest ideas, blog post ideas, Alexa and Google Briefing tips to create. When I sit down to create I don’t have to waste time thinking of ideas.

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Now it’s your turn. What will you create to begin crafting that brand? What are you BECOMING? I’d love to hear in the comments below or on any social channel. Connect with me –> @GinaSchreck on any social channel and tell me what you are becoming. I can’t wait to hear!

 

 

 

How to Know If Your Business Is Suited For Social Media

How to Know If Your Business Is Suited For Social Media

I have a friend who would never allow people to pop in or come over if her house was not perfectly clean and orderly.  She had two small children and she said she didn’t want people to see the mess.  I always laughed and told her, if that were true for me, I would never have a visitor, announced or not.

There are some businesses that can’t allow people to pop in on them for fear they may see something less than perfect as well. They want everything well scripted and professionally produced before they will allow the world to stop by on their social media channels.  They don’t like live-streaming for fear of being imperfect and some don’t even like allowing comments from fans on social media channels for fear of what they might post.

The problem with social media is it should be more… SOCIAL! It is “in-the-moment,” spontaneous, and yes…sometimes MESSY.  If your team is waiting for approvals and meetings to take place before a response or post can go up, and you can’t share or ReTweet something from someone else’s profile because it was not screened ahead of time, your brand will struggle to be “social.” Social media is the place to let your audience peek behind the curtain and see how your products are made,  your books are written, your team learns together, and how you play.

social business

Some still think social media marketing is best for B2C businesses, but the reality is whether you are a B2B or a B2C, we are all in P2P relationships. Person to Person.  We want to connect as one person sharing and providing value to another person. People like to see who they are dealing with at another business.  They also want to connect with real people.

Like inviting a new friend over for coffee, social media in a B2B or B2C environment allows you to get closer and begin building the trust needed to establish a relationship.  While people may not want to become “besties” with their cell phone provider, they do like to know they have someone there that cares and can help answer questions when they have one.

When I started researching for this post, I found a few B2B companies that were doing an amazing job with their ability to be social and show a human side to a rather technical industry, and of course I found a few that should close their social windows, draw the shades & sit quietly until people pass by.

anti-social business, hide from social

 

Let’s take a look at a few good and bad examples of businesses on social media:

AGCO Corporation

AGCO offers a full line of tractors, combines, and other agriculture equipment.  They sell to distributors who sell to the end-user (farmer or rancher).  You may think an equipment company would have no place on social media sites, but you’d be wrong.  This company and their 5 brands are connecting and having real conversations with their distributors, fans and those seeking answers about the equipment.

What they share:

Lots of informational and helpful tips mixed with fun and more playful or personal photo posts.  One that I found showed the spontaneity and fun. (Rainbows don’t wait for a committee to approve them.).

B2B social media example AGCO on Facebook

 What social sites they are active on:

They have a WordPress Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and my favorite was their YouTube channel.  They have an incredible collection of educational and informative videos (thousands of videos!) from their own team as well as from their community members.

What we can learn from them:

Provide as much information and helpful content as possible and be where your customers are to answer their questions. Be casual and conversational. Allow your community to be involved in teaching others about your products or services.

 

The Funeral Industry

This industry is one that you might shudder to think of on social media, but when you consider the fact that at least most of us, will need to secure the services of a funeral home sooner or later (hopefully much later), some make it a very “lively” social experience on their pages and profiles.  Most funeral homes are very active in their communities and one, that shares great information as well as these fun community event photos, is Bartolomeo & Perotto in New York.

What they share:

Tips for caregivers and families dealing with aging parents or loved ones.  Resources such as Meals on Wheels, hospice care contact information, local blood drives and fun charity walks and runs.  You can find information on creative memorial services and explanations on cremation versus burial services.  You will also find information on events they are involved in, such as their annual butterfly release (photo below), the 9/11 memorial parade, and their very popular “Stockings for Soldiers” campaign.  The community shares the posts, shows up at their events and supports the causes that are close to their hearts.

funeral homes on social media

What social sites funeral homes are active on: 

While we found Pinterest boards filled with cemetery statues, memorial ideas, songs for memorial services, floral arrangements, urns and more there were only a few funeral homes who had created boards. Most of the content was user-generated.  We found many funeral homes on Facebook and Twitter, and a few savvy enough to answer the many questions consumers have about funerals on YouTube.

 

Funeral homes on social media management company

And of course there are businesses that try to fit into a typical social mold but their target audiences don’t want to talk there. While I believe any business can learn to be social, the platforms each chooses may need to be very different.  A Blog can be a safer place to learn about bipolar disorder than on Facebook, where I wouldn’t want anyone to see that I liked a page let alone that I asked a question or commented there.  YouTube videos, and perhaps even Instagram are a better place for someone to learn how to treat acne than for me to follow and engage with @ZitBeGone on Twitter.

Medical and dental offices can be very social if they share helpful, fun and interesting information for their audiences.  However, if you take out the fun and interesting posts, it leaves only content about veneers and crowns.  There are only so many posts one can take showing the inside of people’s mouths combined with information on root canals.  We did find several who know how to be social and are sharing fun community events along with helpful information.  Love to Dr. Jim and his Tooth Fairies at Southwest Pediatric Dentistry. (We spent 6 years visiting these fun folks with 3 out 4 of our kids in braces!)
We can see the personality of a business on social media sites.

Dentists and Doctors on social media social marketing company

Download our FREE assessment to see HOW SOCIAL IS YOUR BUSINESS and get tips and tools to improve starting today!

business social media assessment

So before hanging your social shingle out letting people know you are on social media, you might want to ask a few questions first:

  1. Is our potential audience active on social media sites?
  2. Which sites and platforms?
  3. Do any of our competitors have active communities on these sites?
  4. Can we write content, regularly, that is more casual in nature and “social” than what is found on our website?  (You cannot simply regurgitate your web content over and over and call it social marketing.)
    (Here are 30 ideas of things to post on your social media accounts when you don’t know what to say.)
  5. Are we okay with sharing photos, videos, and stories of our team and the daily activities behind the curtain?
  6. Are we okay with allowing our community to share their stories, videos, and photos on our pages and profiles or their own?
  7. Are we okay with people posting feedback about our company, our products and services and even our team members on our pages?
  8. Do we have a plan for how to respond to social feedback? Is it written down? (Read: How to Prepare for a Social Media Disaster)
  9. What is the personality of our brand?  Not what do we WISH it was, but what IS IT currently?  Write the words that describe your brand and your team.  Don’t portray one personality online and shock people when they come in to do business with you and your team members.
  10. Are we prepared to let our social marketing team (or person) have some freedom to engage with people and respond in the moment without needing to micromanage?

Being successfully social means being a little vulnerable, and a little more honest about who we really are when the staged photos of fake team members are taken down and the perfect web copy fades away. Being successfully social means having a sense of humor and a more playful spirit. It means letting people pop in without worrying about them seeing a few toys and crumbs on the floor.

anti social media

 

How do you feel about letting people see behind the curtain of your business? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or connect with me on your favorite social media channel… I’m everywhere YOU want to be! @GinaSchreck

Do you need help setting up your social marketing strategy?  Contact one of our fun team members and watch out for the blocks on the floor.

Where to Start: How to Get Your Brand Known

Where to Start: How to Get Your Brand Known

getting started how to get known

Perhaps you don’t ever want the fame of Kim Kardashian or Beyoncé, but who wouldn’t want their business to have at least a little of that recognition? Perhaps your brand is Y.O.U. and you want to know where to begin to get your expertise and brilliance out to the world. Remember, it doesn’t matter how brilliant you are, if no one besides your mom knows about you, it is brilliance wasted.

With today’s social tools available and free, there’s no reason we can’t get a slice of that paparazzi pie. It takes a strategic focus, consistency, and it takes being in it for the long game (Think Monopoly…not Go Fish!). There is no easy button, no shortcut. You can write a book or get on with Oprah, and you will still be overshadowed by the piano playing chicken next week. You have to do the day-after-day, consistent work to be known and remembered.

 

If you are just getting started using social media, you might wonder if you are too late to the party. It can feel like you’re showing up to 6th-grade summer camp on day 5 of the 7 days. Everyone has already made friends, practiced their talent show act, and knows where the secret stash of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are. This doesn’t mean you can’t get in and learn the ropes and sign on for weeks two, three and four of camp.

 

The good news, it’s very doable. If you commit to doing the work and making friends … you will reach thousands and start seeing your impact.

Here are 7 steps to take TODAY to get your brand KNOWN:

 

  1. Make a list of your top FAQs.

    What are the questions you get asked most often in your business or in the work you do? What do potential customers or clients want to know about your industry? Write them down.
    video and blog content from FAQs

  2. Create short videos for your FAQs.

    Create one, 2-3 minute video answering one of the questions you just listed in step 1. Don’t wait to have these professionally produced. Don’t wait to get your hair done or until you lose that last 15 pounds. Do it TODAY!  Put your smart phone in a simple tripod or even easier, open up your laptop or turn on your computer and start recording. Here are 4 ways to get going:

    1. Record a screen capture video right within PowerPoint? (go to the “insert” link and select “Screen Recording.”) To record right from your computer
    2. On a Mac, you simply open iMovie and hit that record button
    3. On a PC use MovieRecorder to do the same
    4. On any computer you can use a free tool like LOOM to record any combination of your screen, you in the corner, and the audio.
    5. On your iPhone or Android check out VIDEOSHOP for easy editing of short smartphone videos.
  3. Create blog posts for these same FAQs.

    Open a word doc and write the answers to the questions. You might have the exact same thing but it doesn’t matter. Some people like to read and others like to watch videos. You want to cover all of your bases.

  4. Load your videos to your social channels.

    This may seem like something Captain Obvious would be saying, but there are many people who load video or blog content and never share that via social media. Load your videos to Facebook, YouTube, and if they are under 10 minutes, also load them to your LinkedIn profile. Don’t load them only to YouTube and then share the link from YouTube to the other channels. Facebook and LinkedIn want you to load the file natively. Basically, they don’t want people leaving their platform to go to YouTube (It’s like sending people to an Ex’s garage sale when you have the same stuff at your house).

  5. Load your blog posts onto your website.

    You may have to have someone help you with this if you don’t know how …and if you do, be sure to have them show you how to do it. You’re going to be doing this often enough and it is so easy, you should know how to load content into your site.

  6. Load your blog post onto your LinkedIn Profile as an ARTICLE.

    This is simply copying and pasting what you have loaded onto your blog, into LinkedIn as an article. When you post a status update, it goes out to your network, like a Tweet and then it’s gone, unless someone knows to go to your profile and search through “All of Your Activity.” Articles showcase your content in a more prominent way. This is a great way to repurpose your blog post. Don’t forget to add a great image to make it visually interesting.

  7. Lastly, don’t forget to share the link to your videos and blog content on your other social channels.

    Take the links from your website and YouTube channel to share on Twitter and other channels you may be active on. If you are active in a social group, and if it’s appropriate to share your content, do so there. You can add an RSS feed to the bottom of your email signature or a hyperlink to take people to your content. It’s not a one-time promotion. You have to share your content over and over again, week after week, month after month. Not everyone will see your content the first time you share it. [read: Starting a New Business: What you need to know about marketing it]

 

This may seem like a lot of work, but keep in mind, the Kardashians weren’t built in a day. It takes time. It takes doing at least one thing each week to get your brilliance out for the world to see. Don’t look for shortcuts. You want great content that provides value for your target audience. It only comes from you getting that out of your head and sharing it via writing, speaking, creating content … week after week! You can do it! I’m cheering you on.

 

I’d love to hear from you and have you share one thing you are doing this week to get your content out to the world. Connect with me on your favorite social channel or right here in the comments.

Gina

@GinaSchreck

Likability: 4 Qualities to Become More Likeable Online and Off

Likability: 4 Qualities to Become More Likeable Online and Off

 

I got into sales in 1989 selling temporary and regular staffing, or placement services, to large and mid-sized businesses. I had no formal sales training but I knew that I could connect with people, getting to know them, allowing them to get to know me, and somehow that always led to business.

I have always been curious about the quality we call, “Likeability.” It’s an elusive X-factor that I assumed you either had or you didn’t. Some call it charm. Some call it persuasiveness. I just always considered it likeability…or unlikeability. That quality someone had that immediately made you like or dislike them.

I wondered if it was teachable? What made someone more likable than others? If I could break it down into activities or behaviors, then surely it could be teachable. While it may take considerable effort for some, for others these qualities come more natural.

Qualities of Likeability

  1. The ability to really listen to another person.

    Not a faked listening activity in sales where you know someone is going down their list just checking off the questions but not paying attention to your answers.

  2. To show interest in others and be curious about them and their work.

    To really want to know more about them. To want to learn something.

  3. To have a sense of humor…even a dry one.

    It’s just harder to like someone who is intense or too serious.

  4. To be confident in conversations…not awkward.

    Confidence is a deep quality that encompasses so much, but when you know your industry, products or services, and a little bit of knowledge about everything else, it goes a long way in being able to confidently jump into conversations and find connecting tissue with others. I call this the USA Today Confidence.

likeable likeability factor

The hardest nuts for me to crack back in my sales days were the impersonal ones that wouldn’t allow me to set that needed appointment where I could learn enough about them and then charm them into that next lunch appointment. There I would listen to them pour out their frustrations about their jobs and life, and then I would explain how I was going to help make those frustrations go away with our staffing solutions.

Trust was then built through proving ourselves. Sure in big proposals we submitted case studies and references, but only a few would call and check references. For the most part, people were trusting us based on the relationships we established. Based on our likeability.

The world is much different today. Google allows people to research your products and services before they ever contact you to buy. They can get to know you and like you, or dislike you, online. Trust can still be established through testimonials, on your website or social platforms. You can show social proof of your trustworthiness through the number of people who engage or share your content, whether you are asked to share your knowledge on larger platforms and if you have enough content out there that shows you are indeed an expert in your field.

[bctt tweet=”Google allows people to research you & your brand before they ever contact you. They get to know, like, trust you online.” username=”@GinaSchreck”]

If you take the four qualities or characteristics from our face-to-face sales skills and apply them to today’s online sales and marketing environment, pretty much, the same activities or behaviors apply.

likeable, likeability factor, build relationships online

Here’s how to be more likeable online:

  1. The ability to really listen to another person.

    Are you taking the time to read someone’s bio and perhaps the things they have taken the time to write on their social media profiles. You can learn a lot by checking out someone’s LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook profiles. I love when I find a prospective client on Instagram, because there can be something very intimate about the images people share there. What can people learn about you from your profiles? Are you sharing things that make you LIKEABLE? Do you have content that proves your trustworthiness or expertise?

  2. To show interest in others and be curious about them and their work.

    Take the time to connect and ask a question or two after reading their profiles. What connecting tissues do you see? Is it where they live or grew up? Is there something in their work history that you are curious about? Now look at your own profiles. Do they cause someone to want to know more? Do they draw people in and show an interesting side of you that causes them to want to connect? If you are posting about how fabulously perfect and glamorous your life is, people may not be able to connect or relate. Be sure you are sharing your true you. To use an OVERUSED phrase, “Be authentic.” (That sounds so much like an American Idol saying, but it’s true.)

  3. To have a sense of humor…even a dry one.

    Remember, it’s harder to connect with someone who is intense or overly serious. I am not talking about sharing corny or potentially inappropriate jokes or comics on your profile. I’m talking about your unique observations or take on things. The way you reply to someone or what is shared in your content. Don’t leave your personality at the door.

  4. To be confident in conversations.

    Social media allows you to shine here since there is so much information that you can subscribe to and read. Be sure you are following and regularly reading blogs and social media posts from the industry experts in your space. Be sure to set up lists and follow industry news for your clients and potential clients. And be sure to follow USA Today on Twitter.

 

Today I was asking my brilliant (and all very likeable) contacts on Facebook about this topic and what other qualities they felt made someone likeable. Ray Williams said Mike Rowe was a great example of someone who is likeable online. He said being personable and not over the top (corny) makes someone likeable. Kristin Crocket said when someone is more interested in you than in themselves, they are instantly more likeable, and Thom Reagan said people who are encouragers are also seen as more likeable, and Barb Tomlin reminded us all that a smile is a very easy way to become more likeable! These are a few comments from our Facebook Live event. You can watch the replay below!

I’d love to hear from you. What qualities do you feel make a person more LIKEABLE or UNLIKEABLE? Share in the comments below!

@GinaSchreck

 

Seven Reasons Twitter Still Belongs In Your Marketing Mix

Seven Reasons Twitter Still Belongs In Your Marketing Mix

Twitter for business

Have you heard, “Twitter is dead”? Have you asked yourself if Twitter is a social media channel you should really be investing time in? There are many tools to use in your marketing and Twitter definitely has a place IF…you share content from a blog, or vlog, if you want to drive more traffic to your website, or if you want to connect with people globally or locally that you may not otherwise be able to do.

So YES, using Twitter in your marketing mix is time well spent.

Here are 7 reasons why Twitter should be a part of your social media marketing strategy:

1. The Sheer Number of Twitter Users

In 60 seconds, Twitter users share 500,000 tweets,  There are 319 million monthly users on Twitter. A surprising 43% of those don’t send tweets themselves, but watch or read others’ tweets.  We’re looking at a concentrated area of people, who you are able to segregate by industry and keywords.

2. Brevity is King

There is no getting around it: short and sweet wins the game on Twitter (and everywhere else these days). You have 140 characters to get your point across. No talking someone’s ear off with lengthy copy.  The more you tweet, the better you become at whittling down your message while retaining its meaning. After all, don’t you appreciate when someone is on point and takes up less of your precious time?

One Twitter user who is an ace at getting his point across succinctly is Brian Fanzo. His motto is ‘Talk Fast, Tweet Faster’. He does both well and adds tremendous value to those following him.

Talk Fast Tweet Faster Brian Fanzo

3. The Use of Hashtags to Find and Be Found

What a wonderful component of this channel! Use industry keywords (e.g. #SocialMedia, #smm (social media marketing), #TravelTips, #productivity) in your tweets to help others find you and your content. Many people want to curate content around a certain topic and when they click on a hashtag or search for one, Twitter serves up all content that contains that hashtag. 

Tip: Search first if you’re unsure about a specific hashtag and make sure it’s relevant in your industry.  If no one’s using it, you’re less likely to get the big bang out of it. Use hashtags that are relevant and popular in your industry.

Another tip: Look at the trending column from your home page and see if there are any topics you can tie in with your brand’s message – capitalize on what’s already working! (Caution, do not hijack a trending hashtag just for the sake of jumping in, if it has nothing to do with your brand. Many have become Twitter case studies of what NOT TO DO while attempting this.)

4. The Use of Tweet Chats to Connect with Like-Minded People

One of my favorite uses for Twitter is attending tweet chats. Think of them as meet-ups you can be a part of without actually having to drive somewhere to attend. I have met so many wonderful people in a Tweetchat (or Twitter chat as some call them) who have helped sharpen my skills by sharing their knowledge.

Typically a moderator will ask a short series of questions, and people in the chat answer them by number. You always have the option to just lurk, read, and not respond. However, your answer may help someone. I encourage you to join the party!

Tip: Use a free tool like TWEETCHAT.com to filter out all other tweets during the chat. You can follow along easily and it adds the hashtag you are following to all posts you send out during the chat.  Two of my favorite weekly chats are #CMGRCHAT (Wednesdays at noon MT) and #BRANDCHAT (Thursdays at 9am MT).

5. Twitter Lists Help You Filter 

As many professional organizers will tell you, everything in your home and office should have a place. Twitter is no different. Organize your digital stream by using lists. You may be following 1,000 people but you have a handful of people you really want to keep an eye on. By adding them to a list, you can be sure you don’t miss their tweets. You may want a list for co-workers, one for favorite business leaders, or news sources. You can even create lists that stay private so you can create a client list or add your competition to a list and see what they are doing on Twitter.

When you want to read posts just from the people on your lists, you simply go to your profile page and click on your lists to filter out all the other noise. You can also use a tool like Hootsuite to pull these lists into columns on your social monitoring dashboard for even more convenience.

Lists are also a great way to find new people to follow. You can look at an industry expert’s lists they’ve created or are a part of, and find a helpful trail of similar people to connect with. You can subscribe to the list itself or choose to follow specific members.

6. Proactive Community Growth

You truly are limitless (when in compliance with the 2000 rule) with your growth potential of your Twitter community. As you are starting out, follow 10-20 interesting people a day. They don’t all have to be in your industry. Follow people or brands related to an interest you have or because they offer great content.

Tip: People/brands should be active on Twitter to be considered interesting! Check to see the last time they posted a tweet before following them. You don’t need any duds.

Add them to a created list or simply read through some of their tweets and like, comment or retweet (or share) their content. This will help you get on their radar and hopefully get a “follow back.”  Twitter is one of the tools that allows you to find and follow people without needing their permission to connect (for the most part–there are some who get on Twitter and make their accounts private, but very few).

7. The Ability to Tag Accounts and People

A great Twitter feature is the ability to mention (@mention) others both in the post itself and in tagging photos. If I am reading a book or attending an event and want to mention the speaker or author, I simply add their Twitter handle in the post @PersonsName and they get a notification that they were mentioned or tagged. This helps you jump into a conversation with someone you may not have had the chance to do so before!

Use tagging as a way to engage with others. You’ll get so much more out of Twitter by “talking” with others as opposed to just lurking.

Pitch Perfect Twitter Tag

Are you using Twitter in your marketing mix? What are your reasons for doing so? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Download our free e-book  HOW TO USE TWITTER STRATEGICALLY FOR YOUR BUSINESS for more tips and insights on making this key social network a part of your social routine.

Twitter marketing

Create Great Social Media Bios That Attract and Intrigue

Create Great Social Media Bios That Attract and Intrigue

Many people must see their social media bios the same way most junior high students see algebra class…just a necessary evil. Some skip it all together leaving people to wonder what this mystery person is interested in or what type of content they will share. Others fill their bios with random hashtags and keywords just to be findable but not interesting enough to entice anyone to actually connect. My favorites are the ones who have their bios written in third-person as if Bob Dole wrote them. Gina definitely does not like that!

It is rare to come across a well-written bio on social media. So rare, that when I see one that is brilliantly crafted, I dive in and want to read their social posts and then I usually pop over to their website and other social channels to take in as much as possible, like a thirsty woman coming in from the desert to find barrels and barrels of ice cold water.

So what makes a fabulous social media bio? I believe there are 3 elements:

  1. Give us a little bit of business information.

    This is why you are on social media to begin with, isn’t it? If you have a personal profile for personal branding, do you want to let people know how they can connect with your business or hire you if they were interested?  What kind of information can people expect by connecting with you here? What are you an expert in, or what does your business actually do? There are some social media bios that I read and I still can’t figure out what they do.

  2. Now show your personality or the personality of your business.

    Many companies have a hard time describing their personality. It’s really how most people view your brand based on interactions with you online and offline. What are 3 words that describe your company? What is the culture? You may want to get a sampling across your organization and find out what others think. It may be different from what you’d LIKE it to be. Because your personality is reflected in everything from decor and work space, to email signatures and content shared on your website and social channels, it’s good to look in every nook and cranny to see if you are consistent.

    If you have a funny bio on your social media channels and then your content is stale, stuffy, or corny, there is a disconnect. If you have a very stoic and professional bio and then your content is not, there’s a problem with that as well. Insurance companies may not come across as fun, but look what Geico has done with the lizard and Progressive with our pal, Flo. Geico has just enough fun showing through in their bio and then take a look at their content–a perfect match!

    social media bio for Geico

    social media feed for Geico

    Don’t be afraid to let your personality show a little. I have a statement on my personal Twitter bio that simply says “I hate cilantro” and that starts more conversations than anything else. People need something that is like small talk at a cocktail party to connect with. It might be that your team loves supporting a specific charity, or that your company has a miniature dachshund mascot named Oscar.

  3. Give us a place to go if we’re so intrigued that we want to know more about you.

    Make sure you have a link that goes to your website, blog or other sources that will provide curious minds with more information. You never know when a potential client comes across your social media bio and becomes interested enough to want to contact you, but if you make it hard for them to learn more, you may lose out.

Because each social media platform has a different character count, I suggest that people keep a word doc with different versions of your bio and different ideas for changing it out. You can highlight each paragraph and go up to TOOLS to see the word/character count. Spaces and punctuation count as characters, so it will take some crafting to get it right. You may want to change it with campaigns you are running or for holidays. (Check out the download at the bottom for character counts and more tips.) I started a list on Twitter with great bios I come across. Check it out here: Twitter-GREAT BIOS.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. What makes a great bio on social media?

Create great social media bios