Personal branding. Have you heard this phrase yet? According to Wikipedia, the term has been around since at least 1997. But the concept has been around longer than that. People have written about establishing your individual brand--or marketing image--since the 1930s.
What is personal branding?
Personal branding--or self-positioning--is what you do when the product you are selling is you. For example, as a professional speaker, I need to be able to market my services by presenting a clear and consistent message telling potential clients what I have to offer. I need to be able to communicate my unique value proposition.
My personal brand isn’t a fake version of me created just for marketing. I’m still representing the real me--just coherently. No matter where someone encounters me, online or off, I want them to have a clear idea of who I am.
That’s my personal brand.
If you are planning to be a professional speaker, you should have a personal brand too.
Why am I telling you about having a personal brand?
I’m telling you about personal branding because it is this professional image that you’ll use to network and market your services through social media.
Ah, see? That’s where I was headed--how to market your professional speaking services using social media!
Now let’s discover how you can use social media to present your brand to the world.
To begin promoting yourself as a professional speaker on social media, you first need to choose your channels. There are a lot of places where you can post about yourself and your business. But my advice is to select just a few venues and focus your efforts there. You can always expand or change your focus later if your goals or your audience changes.
When you consider which channels to use, consider your own preferences and your audience’s likely hangouts.
Think about where you go to look for advice and feedback about your speaking topics; those are probably the best places to reach your audience, too.
Personally, I love using Facebook for marketing. I enjoy the flexibility the platform offers. I can post links, messages, and even webcast live videos. However, not everyone who might be a candidate for my services is going to find me on Facebook. So I don’t limit myself to just posting content there.
My clients include trade groups, business associations, and individual professionals. These audiences can be found on Linkedin. Because my audience is using Linkedin, I have to be active on Linkedin too.
I also share content and post about upcoming events on Twitter. Twitter allows me to reach people quickly, even while an event is taking place. Other potential places to share include Instagram, Quora, and niche forums such as Inbound.org or private Slack channels.
Social media isn’t the same as paid advertising.
I recommend that you TAG your way to success on social media by being Thoughtful, Authentic, and Generous.
You can’t engage your audience if you use your social media accounts as billboards for your personal commercials. People don’t visit social media sites to see ads. And, people really aren’t that interested in seeing posts that only talk about the poster. Boring! A lot of individuals and brands miss this point.
Yes, tell people about yourself and let them get to know you. But remember to keep the focus on your audience. Think about who follows your social feed and if someone else’s content can benefit your followers, share it! Share information that is useful, entertaining, or educational. Give people a reason to want to follow your social media feed and to share your content with their friends and colleagues.
Then, now and then, let people know that you are available to speak. Keep them updated on upcoming events and genuinely share the professional speaking part of your life.
Share Your Brand Through Authentic Social Engagement
It takes time to build relationships in real life and online. There are already plenty of people who promote content at their audience. Be a stand-out by sharing content with your audience. If you invest the time, you’ll grow a strong network of connections who understand what you have to offer and see your value.