By LEAH BISHOP
Branding is not just for celebrities anymore, said Tara Williams, the person behind the brand Who Is Tara Williams, at the The Power of Personal Branding Through the Use of Social Media session at SoCon14.
The session focused on to utilizing content marketing through social media so that a person can secure a following of people who are interested in what the person has to offer the professional world.
“Everybody has something specific and individual that makes them better,” said Williams, referring to talents in a field of that person’s choice. “You have to be confident in that.”
Williams advised finding something you enjoy doing and are good at, then moving forward with it as a place to start. The money will come if that person places it in the forefront of everyone’s mind using social media.
Key to Success
Start with the five major platforms on social media: LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook when developing your personal brands, said Williams.
“If you learn to how to leverage them appropriately, you really optimize them with keywords, it helps you to come up outside of those particular social media platforms and also helps you have a presence outside that in Yahoo!, Google and Bing,” Williams told the group.
A person should utilize the platforms that will help the most when starting to create that personal brand. Start building yourself in that brand for the position that you want to be or if you’re in a field with lots of experience, become an expert in that field, she said.
“If you’re a student or if you’re currently in a position, you have the ability to really take your time to make this stuff happen,” said Williams, who only had 90 days to develop her brand when she left her job at AT&T.
If a person can’t handle running three or four profiles at once, she recommended that they focus on one profile 100 percent of the time and do that one right. That person needs a profile picture and have content readily available to post.
“Try to set aside 30 minutes a day on social media to familiarize yourself it,” she said, before adding that it does take time to get likes and have engagement on your site.
Stay true to who you are and what your brand stands for. If followers start to engage with you, engage back. Not all followers are going to stick around forever, but if they like what you stand for and who you are, they will, Williams said.
When you get started, you need to have a bio and you need to place your experiences and expertise inside that bio.
“Everything you’re talking about needs to be totally focused on this particular career or brand you want to go after,” said Williams, who talks about social media, online marketing and other personal stuff. “It’s not all about my business and the things that I’ve done from a professional standpoint. But I need to be identified with on a personal level because that’s what makes up my brand.”
People will be drawn to you somehow, even if it’s just a common interest, and opens up that engagement platform, she said.
“You don’t have to have a website in the very beginning because those profiles you are utilizing, like LinkedIn, can serve very much like a website,” said Williams when talking about purchasing a custom domain name for a person’s brand.
Everyone should have a LinkedIn. It’s where you can put interests, experiences, references and products. Users can join groups similar to their interests and industry. When filling out the summary area, Williams recommended using keywords so the space is being maximized. The keywords would enable users to be found in both LinkedIn search engines and regular search engines.
“You want to ensure that you are specifically using keywords to target whatever it is that you are looking to be an expert or brands yourself in,” said Williams, adding that all this is available in the free version of LinkedIn.
This would bring people to you, she said, because once you hone in on what you want the brand to be and what you put out, it goes a long way.
Everyone is a visual person and it draws the attention of people who want to do business. For photo optimization, add keywords as the filename and save it as a JPEG.
“Every time you use that hashtag, you want to try to be relevant to what you have going on,” she said, adding that this includes using them inside a Twitter profile.
Becoming a personal brand doesn’t happen overnight, said Williams. You have to keep acting like yourself and it will draw people in. Have energy and stay excited about your brand, because people will know when you’re not excited.
“You want to have to have more people following you than you’re following them because if you’re of an elite status, that gives you some credibility,” said Williams. “I follow people that impact me and I want to care what they’re saying.”
For the people who drop off, there’s going to be people who come back.
“They’re going to remember you for what makes you special as an individual. So when you be your own person, that’s what’s going to stand out,” she said.
A person needs to believe in what they want to talk about.
“It doesn’t matter what you’re doing. Once you build up that online influence and you develop that credibility online, it’s still going to bring you other stuff,” Williams said.
“She told me a lot of stuff I probably already know, but need to do because I haven’t gotten anything out of LinkedIn,” said Bram Bessoff, a representative from Indie Hitmaker, adding that those who didn’t make it to the session should take the time to brand and add keywords in their summary on LinkedIn.
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