I was recently asked what my personal branding/social leadership and content marketing strategy is, but it’s always been in my head – not on paper – so I thought, why not get it down? It might be useful to other’s trying to work out what to do and how to build their presence. Heck, it might help me too!
So here it is and I hope it’s of use. Although please note, I’m a very active user. You don’t need to do all I am doing. It might be completely unnecessary for your personal brand, although if becoming an influencer is your goal, maybe this is a good starting point.
To build my profile and credibility as a source of information excellence and thought leadership in my core areas of expertise – content marketing, personal branding/social leadership, and employee advocacy. I believe that my personal brand and content marketing activities should show everyone that I don’t just talk about this stuff, I walk the talk every day.
My target audience is senior leaders in business to business, typically MNCs, but my message is to anyone who wants to be a social leader today.
My softer goal is that if anyone wants to know anything about these topics, they need to look no further than my social media profiles, because I will collect and share the best information in the world, including my own content. I curate the gold nuggets of information in my field and I hope to add my own quality content to that curation.
When writing and curating content, I seek information across four topic areas:
- Content marketing – #ContentStrategy #ContentMarketing #Storytelling #CMO #Marketing #SocialSelling
- Personal branding – #SocialCEO #PersonalBranding #EmployeeAdvocacy #SocialLeadership
- Technology – #Innovation #MarTech #CX #Contenttech
- Causes I care about – #Xthehaze #environment #equality #parity #diversity
These are the common hashtags I use related to each topic (use hashtags), and the four areas are specific.
- One and two are my core expertise
- Three because I’ve been in technology for 20+ years and tech is equally relevant to my first two category
- And the causes I care about, which are a critical part of what I want to be known for, so I integrate them (about 10%) into my overall story too. It’s important to bring your whole self to work and these causes are a part of the whole
I hope you noticed one thing – my focus. If you follow me, it’s very clear what I want to be known for and I’m consistent in this. I believe this is the most critical part of establishing a strong personal brand.
My social and content assets to date – my professional ones
My blog andreatedwards.com
LinkedIn The Digital Conversationalist
YouTube Andrea Edwards
Google+ The Digital Conversationalist
Tactics for the week
Twice a week, I sit down with a great cup of coffee and read all of the content I’ve been curating the week before – which I gather from various sites across the digital landscape. I read everything I share and when I post on social media, I always write why I’m sharing it, what was great about it and why I think it’s worth your time. This is the one thing that most people do not do, and it’s a HUGE miss in building your personal brand.
We’re all overwhelmed by content these days, so helping our audience sort through the noise is a real opportunity. If someone shares content with no comment or they cut and paste the headline, I don’t read it because I have to assume they haven’t read it, which means they’re not verifying its value to me.
Automation is your friend
I use Hootsuite to automate my social media presence. Scheduling posts to appear regularly throughout the week. Typically, this is my Sunday evening/Wednesday routine when I can – work and life distractions aside. I definitely find that if I commit to this, my whole week runs smoother.
My schedule is a bit like this
Mon/Tues/Wed/Thurs/Fri – post to the Digital Conversationalist between 11.05 to 11.35am
- Twitter @AndreaTEdwards
- LinkedIn The Digital Conversationalist
- Facebook AndreaTEdwards
- Google+ The Digital Conversationalist
Mon/Tues/Wed/Thurs/Fri – post to AndreaTEdwards between 1.05pm to 2.35pm
Sat/Sun – sometimes I’ll post content I think is inspiring.
Global audience – while hashtags connect me to global conversations, I am also aware that my lack of participation across 24 hours limits my access to global discussions. However I’m doing enough and I decided I can’t be everywhere all the time, so I’m at peace with that. With that said, I have reached my global audience with the above strategy and tactics.
Why the specific timing? Five minutes past the hour or the 30 minute mark gives you a chance to get people’s attention walking between meetings. Does it work? No idea and no one has been able to convince me of the science of when to post, because I live and work across multiple timezones.
Am I religious about the above? I try to be, but life is busy and sometimes I just can’t. I don’t give myself a hard time about it and instead, work hard to make the commitment to turn up every day, with the goal of delivering value and being of service to my communiy. I believe persistence and consistently showing up is what is valued over the longer term. The other critical part is being focused.
Ahhhh too much!
Now while the above is a lot, I should point out that for most people, once a day, twice a week or even once a month can be enough. I’m The Digital Conversationalist, so being there, interacting and sharing value is central to my brand. It doesn’t have to be that precise. As with all things social, work out what makes sense for you?
Also when I have this structure is in place, it gives me time to post other content I love across the day (while taking into account what I’ve already scheduled, which I know because my timing is consistent) and I check LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc… regularly to engage with anyone who has engaged with me, as well as to comment on my friends, peers, etc… posts.
Engage your audience
Because engagement is the real opportunity. Most people are not engaging. They put information out there, people speak to them and they don’t speak back. Or they only like something. Why not tell the author why you liked it? It’ll get your SSI score up!
I believe in responding to almost every comment, but some people write statements that are hard to respond to. If all else fails, they get a smiley face or a kiss.
Don’t do too much
Don’t do too much
Another quick point. Especially on LinkedIn, try not to go there once and do multiple things. If you do this, your audience only sees your face and they will switch off from you. Do a couple of things, then come back later and do a few more. You can definitely do too much on social media. I have made this mistake in the past. I’m offering it as a big learning.
I try to publish on my professional blog once every two weeks. Sometimes I’ll do it weekly, and sometimes there’ll be a 3-4 week gap. However, I’ve been doing this for a decade, so I think I’ve earned the right to be a little less strict on my delivery.
With that said, if you are starting out, I definitely recommend you start consistently – once a month, once a week, whatever works for you. Consistency and earning people’s time is an important part of building your personal brand.
My topics always come from conversations, observations and questions I am asked. If I see a lot of people struggling with something, I write about it. If people are constantly raising points, concerns, etc… and I have a point of view, I blog on it. The questions I am asked all the time are perfect blog fodder.
Rarely a day goes by when I don’t have a new blog idea.
But you should blog every day?
A lot of the early blog success discussion was around doing it a lot – like every day a lot. Every day is fine if you’re a company with multiple authors, but I’m just one, busy person, so it’s not possible.
Equally, a couple of times a week is too much in my opinion. This is how I see things – which doesn’t mean I’m right.
However, on the flip side, when you share your own content, I believe you are asking people to do you a favour by reading it. Our audience has a lot of content to read, and FOMO is real when it comes to missing out on the best content. Therefore, blogging once a week is a good rhythm and not asking too much of your audience.
I offer this as my opinion, based on a decade of writing nearly 700 blogs, but what works for you? If you do short Seth Godin-style blogs, you can probably get away with writing more often. Just remember you are asking for something – support and time – and people have limited supplies of both to give.
However, when you share other people’s awesome content, you are delivering a service to your audience – helping them find the best content on your subject. Anyone who’s really interested in your subject will value you for doing this for them. Not to mention, it’s also the easiest way to start building your personal brand, because it’s not as intimidating as creating your own content.
Tag authors of the content you share
One important point – when sharing other’s content, tag them in it. Find their Twitter handle, link to them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, etc… They may never respond (although we should all respond when someone gives us the honour of sharing our content) but this is how you build a bigger brand and gain a global profile.
All blogs are immediately shared with my professional profiles, then a day later on The Digital Conversationalist profiles.
I Tweet every blog immediately, a week later, two weeks later and a month later. Sometimes I’lll push old blogs out over Twitter if they’re still relevant. For example, I went on holidays for three weeks, so before, I scheduled my old posts and videos to appear on my Twitter handle the whole time I’m away. It keeps it moving.
I boost posts on Facebook – $10-50, LinkedIn if I’m feeling flush, and I’ve had some good success on Outbrain too.
I very very rarely post my blogs to LinkedIn Groups or push to communities I’m part of. I’m not a self-promoter and it doesn’t feel right to do it. I know a lot of people are happy to do it and they’re building a much bigger profile than I, but I have to be true to who I am. Am I missing something? Probably. But equally, I find the businesses and people attracted to me like how I play the game. And it is a game.
My preference is for other’s to share my posts in relevant groups. Much more powerful.
OK this is getting a little long now and there’s so much more I could add. Then again, while I have a reputaion for long blogs, I’d probably double this content if I kept going and your time is valuable. Hopefully it gives you a window into what and why I do what I do, as well as being helpful to you. I’d definitely love to hear any thoughts you have, as well as any tips and tricks that work for you too. We all learn together.
I know that many of my ideas and ways of doing things will clash with some. That’s fine. We have to be who we are on social and this is just my way of doing it. I believe that finding a path you’re happy with, maintaining your integrity within the mix, as well as being grounded in your core values, is a huge part of what’s important in building your brand. What I’ve expressed is important to me, but it’s different for all of us.
So shall we start a conversation in the comments below? At least you know you’ll get a smiley or kiss at a minimum.
Social media influencer image courtesy of Shutterstock.
If you like my style and what I talk about, feel free to follow me on any of the platforms below, especially the YouTube channel and my Google+ The Digital Conversationalist company page, which are both lacking love, so I would appreciate some followers J.