An executive’s guide to using social media for personal branding

social media marketing

It’s no secret that social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools available today.

Social media can help you expand your network, increase referrals and attract business. Senior executives, however, often struggle with using social media effectively because of time limitations and overbooked calendars. They avoid engaging on social media because they aren’t sure how it may affect their businesses. They end up missing important industry conversations, losing media coverage opportunities and missing chances to connect with new clients.

Using social media to grow your personal brand doesn’t have to be complicated, but you need a clear plan before you invest time in building your network. Executive leaders who don’t have plans often resort to sharing sporadic updates that don’t have any effect on their goals. Having a plan simplifies the process and increases the chances for success.

Here are five steps you can take right now to create a powerful social media plan for your personal brand:

Step One: Set an Objective

The first step is setting a clear objective for your efforts. You need to understand why you want to use social media and what you want to accomplish before you dive in. Do you want to make yourself searchable when current and prospective clients are researching your firm? Do you want to increase your credibility as a subject matter expert? Do you want to generate media coverage? Social media can help you with all of these goals, but you’ll need to tailor your approach accordingly.

Step Two: Craft Your Story

Showcase your expertise in a way that differentiates you from other experts in your field. Your social media profiles give you the opportunity to show your credibility as a subject matter expert within your industry. People don’t want to hear about how great you are at your job. They want to know your story. What’s your background? What are you passionate about? What obstacles have you faced and overcome? How can you help them? Crafting a story for your personal brand helps you be consistent across your social media channels and build new connections.

Step Three: Choose your Channels

You don’t need to be on every social media channel to be successful. It takes time to manage new channels, and that’s one of your most limited assets. It’s better to invest more time in a few social networks that to invest a little time in all of your social networks. Take time to identify who you want to reach through social media and the channels where they’re active. Build your presence on those specific networks and don’t waste time on platforms that won’t help you reach your goals.

Step Four: Set Up Your Profiles

You want people to be able to find you in their networks. Create accounts on the platforms where you would like to be active and use the story you crafted to fill in your profiles. You should have one photo that you use across all of your social media channels, so people can recognize you. After you’ve created your profiles, invite people from your offline network to follow you on your new channels. Make a list of past and current clients, colleagues and business associates you would like to connect with. Invite them to connect with you on social media. Connecting with people in your existing network is the best way to build a following.

Step Five: Create Content

The last step is crafting content that you can share on your social media channels. You don’t need to share updates every day. Create a plan that works for your schedule. Make a list of upcoming events, announcements and other shareable topics. Draft social media updates for each item on your list and use a tool like Hootsuite to schedule your posts. This will give you some foundational content that you can use to engage your followers and expand your network. From here, you can decide what other types of content you would like to share. You may want to curate interesting articles from industry blogs, relevant studies for your clients and new blog posts on your company’s website.

In my next post, I’ll share my best tips for growing your network and discovering opportunities on social media.

As an executive, do you use social media to advance your business goals? What traction have you received from your efforts? Let us know in the comments below.

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