8 Ways To Build Your Personal Brand Through Social Media

Brand Yourself

The old axiom to ’dress for success’ has been replaced by a more modern version: ’Tweet for success.’ That’s according to Kendra Lee, president of KLA Group, a sales and marketing consulting firm in Denver, Colo. , who spoke earlier this month at UBM Channel’s Women Of The Channel Winter Workshop in New York. Lee offered advice on how attendees can use social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to enhance their personal brands. Here’s a look at her top tips.

1. Discover Your Brand

Your personal brand is the image people think of when they hear your name, and the first step toward building it is figuring out what it is, Lee said. ’Your title isn’t who you are, it’s just your role,’ Lee told workshop attendees. Maybe you’re a whiz with numbers. Maybe you’re an R&D visionary, or perhaps you have an in-depth understanding of technology and how it impacts business. Your personal brand is based on your unique strengths, so ask yourself questions such as ’What does my manager look to me to do that others cannot?’ or ’When do people come to me first?’ to help flesh out what those strengths are.

2. Build Your Personal Marketing Strategy

Not only do you want to be known as a go-to expert, but you want people outside of your own organization to think of you that way. That’s where social networking comes into play, Lee said. Determine who you want to know about you – Customers? Potential employers? Channel partners? – and then get the word out via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. The key is to craft your message so that it fits the tone of the network you’re using, Lee said. Answer questions, make comments, tout an initiative you participated in that was a success. And don’t keep it strictly professional: talk about your interests and dreams too. ’It creates a connection so that when someone sees an opportunity that you should be a part of, you come to mind,’ she said.

3. Get Involved

You have to actually use social networking tools in order for them to be effective for you: simply signing up won’t get you very far. At minimum, you should join the Big Three networks – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, add a good photo of yourself to your profile (one in which you are smiling and appear approachable), join eight LinkedIn groups or other communities and make sure you are commenting, sharing and retweeting, Lee said. To get more bang for your buck, create hashtags around your interests on Twitter, create a group on LinkedIn and build an ’ego search’ where you follow yourself and know who’s commenting about you and your content, she said.

4. Take Your Niche

Build a community around your expertise. As an example, Lee points to Ree Drummand, ’The Pioneer Woman,’ whose blog about homeschooling and life on a ranch is visited by over 4 million people per month and serves as a basis for a best-selling cookbook and a TV show. ’She responds to people who respond to her, and she feels accessible,’ Lee said.

5. Blog

One of the best ways to share your expertise is to blog about what you know. But if the task seems daunting, don’t be discouraged. You don’t have to start your own blog. Instead you can blog for other sites, or simply add comments to someone else’s posts as a way to ease into it, Lee said.

6. Get Recommendations

When it comes to getting recommendations, don’t be afraid to ask, Lee said. Solicit them from a variety of sources – customers, channel partners, peers and managers – as well as others in your social network.

7. Don't Join Every Social Network

New tools and communities are popping up every day, but don’t spread yourself too thin, Lee cautioned. ’[The social networking landscape] will evolve, but for now I’ve limited where I’m going to be,’ she said.

8. Share Freely

’Share freely of your expertise. It will get your name out there,’ Lee said.