Personal Branding 101: Three Steps to Stand Out on Social Media

Social media marketing has exploded. Over the last several years, literally millions of people have begun branding themselves on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. As a result, it can be difficult to stand out. So how can you avoid being lost in the crowd? Here are some ways to differentiate yourself and your business from the competition:

• Focus your social media presence on relationships. Twitter and Facebook are full of individuals and companies that are trying to establish their brand and sell their products by ramming them down their audience’s throat. It’s free marketing, the theory goes, so why not aggressively self-promote and sell? The problem with that line of thought is that most people don’t log on to Facebook or Twitter looking to be sold something. People use Facebook and Twitter to build relationships, both personal and professional. The key to establishing your brand on these sites is to build relationships. Interact with your followers. Post fresh content so that they can see what you’re up to. If you’re not connecting with your followers and your friends, you’re going to be lost in the crowd.

• Be yourself. Most smart social media users are very, very careful about what they post. After all, a thoughtless post or tweet could have disastrous results. While this is certainly true, the unfortunate result is that many Twitter and Facebook profiles are completely devoid of originality, personality and substance. If you’re going to stand out, you need to be interesting and thought provoking. Post jokes, or commentary on pop culture, or predictions for upcoming basketball games. Post photos of your latest event. Be creative. Find a way to express yourself and your personality—and before you know it, you’ll realize that followers and friends are looking forward to your next tweet or status update. But keep in mind that everything, and I mean everything, that you post must be consistent with the brand you are trying to build.

• Break down the news. Twitter and Facebook are great sources of breaking news.
Look for opportunities to share news and information that impacts your industry and your customers. As a CPA, for instance, if a new law is passed that will have repercussions for your clients, break it down. If there is false information circulating, expose it. If you take this approach, you’ll stand out from millions of social media users who aren’t providing their audience with any real value.

Social media represents a great platform for connecting with customers and potential customers. But just like anything else in life, it doesn’t come easy. Standing out from your competition on social media is more difficult than ever… but these strategies will help. Whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or a similar platform, remember to focus on relationships—and to be yourself. At the end of the day, “people buy people”, and social media is a great way to get to know people that may ultimately become your customers.