1. Update your social media accounts

Decide which social media account(s) you are going to focus on, and delete any old accounts that you are no longer using. Make sure all of your information is complete and accurate. This will help you to build traffic to the networks you want to showcase your work. It can also remove any potential “questionable” content from years past that doesn’t have a positive effect on your professional image. 

Use a professional picture. Don’t take a ‘selfie’ in the bathroom and use it on your professional page.

2. Identify your area of expertise.

Everyone’s an expert at something – whether its writing about sports events, working out or marketing certain products or services. Is it time for you to experiment a bit more? What type of content have you created that your followers have responded to most? Can you replicate this with other similar content? The more unique and engaging content you create on your chosen topic of expertise, the more your followers will start to think of you as a leader in your chosen field. 

I know that it might seem like you’ll get three times the amount of business if you are promoting yourself as a Photographer/Realtor but the truth is the opposite. People want to work with those that specialise in what they are looking for. They want to see that you’re so good at what you do that you don’t have the time or the desire to do anything else.

3. Use Apps. They make posting easier.

Forgotten passwords, busy day jobs and content creation; maintaining an online presence can be time-consuming; but there are many social media apps at hand to make life easier. These apps connect to your social media networks and allow you to cross-post across different social networks and schedule posts, removing the need to login to multiple websites. Most major social media networks including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are compatible with these applications. Examples of these apps are sprout, buffer and Hootsuite.

4. Share Content On a Regular Basis.

In the early days of social media, the more you posted, the more engagement you could drum up. Today, however, over-posting leads to fatigue and annoyance. You want to keep the lines of communication open with your audience, but you also don’t want to over-share so much that you look desperate. The sweet spot is posting around 3-4 times per week for individuals.

There will be days when you don’t post, and that’s perfectly fine. Analyse the data associated with your posts and identify a pattern that works for you. If you’re having trouble finding content to share and want more insight into what’s popular among users, try searching via ‘hashtag’ on Twitter.

5. Create & Curate Engaging Content.

Creating engaging content means taking a fresh approach to the types of updates you share with your network. Don’t be afraid to occasionally talk about your own achievements, or even add engaging bits about your personal life (topics such as travel, hobbies, etc.are suitable). After all, social media is about individuals first. Sharing some of this information provides your audience with a glimpse of who you really are and what you’re about – just ensure you don’t over-share or make it all about you.

6. Import Your Contacts.

You might be amazed to see how many people you already know on the social media networks you’re using. There may be tens, or even hundreds, of people with whom you haven’t yet connected with. Import your email contacts from Gmail or Outlook, or contacts from your phonebook into your social networks to find out how many connections you’re missing. Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter all allow for a free import of a certain number of contacts. 

7. Keep it Positive.

Think of your social media interactions and content creation as part of a resume of your work and a reflection of your professional attitude and overall personality. Avoid inflammatory religious or racial comments, and be careful when making political commentary that others may consider offensive.

8. Find & Join Groups.

Use the search bar on each network to find groups that are linked to your specific area of expertise, then you’ll be able to share your insights and build authority around your personal brand. Keep in mind that industry groups may be overcrowded with your competitors, so smaller, topic-based groups may be more fruitful in terms of reaching your audience. 

Once you’re a member of your preferred social media groups, don’t be afraid to jump into discussions and add your unique insights. Showing that you’re responsive will help you build your personal brand in larger communities beyond your own. 

9. Keep Your Brand Voice, Image & Tone Consistent

You’ve probably already figured out that sticking to your defined persona is important. You must also remain consistent with your ideas and the ways you present them so that you’re memorable and trustworthy. If a popular political commentator suddenly and radically switched parties, no doubt he or she would lose a lot of fans overnight.

Following your brand guidelines helps to control people’s perceptions. You can damage an otherwise flawless reputation if one of your profiles shows up with content or images that don’t match up with your brand’s voice.

10. Study influencers

Once you’ve found the top influencers in your area, analyse their networks, posting habits and content to determine what you could be doing better. Notice how their followers respond to what they post, and learn best practices from their personal branding strategies and execution. 

Connecting with and collaborating with influencers is a great way to get your brand known, but it does take some time. You have to spend time developing relationships with influencers before they’ll see you as an expert.

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