Thursday, December 23, 2010

Build Your Brand through Social Media Consistency

I believe that one of the best things you can do though social media is build your brand. This means creating a unique, memorable and convincing image of yourself in the eyes and minds of others.

When you as an individual have the characteristics of a brand, you can leverage this to influence things on a large scale and better generate the impact you want. Of all the traits which create a brand, consistency is the one that I appreciate the most. 

Why Consistency Is King 
The ordinary person surfing on the Internet is bombarded with a tone of information. The majority of it, they will forget in a couple of minutes. It is a real challenge in this information overloaded environment to make yourself remembered. This is where consistency comes in. 

What consistency basically means in personal branding is that the information you send reinforces the same key messages about yourself. 

The result is that the more a person gets exposed to information from you or about you, the more probable it is for that person to associate you with a few key traits suggested by that information. Consistency helps you be memorable and thus it helps you to be a brand. 

There are various ways to insure consistency in your communication, offline and online. Social media has its own distinctive traits, which make certain strategies work best in achieving consistency. The following are what I consider some of the most effective strategies to build your brand through social media consistency. 

Repeat the Same Core Messages 
One of the most important laws of memory in psychology is ‘The Law of Repetition’. According to this law, the more a message is repeated, the better it remembered. In addition, the message is even better remembered if it is repeated in the exact same form. 

You can use this law to build your brand in social media. The most effective strategy to do this that I know is to create a few core messages about you and copy them in multiple social media sites you use. 

These messages can be about what you are, what you do, how you do it, why you do it etc. Whatever their content, it is critical for them to be short, simple and suggestive, as these three traits increase their chances of being remembered. 

Here is my personal example of applying this strategy. I use two core messages about me and my work:

1) “I’m a communication coach” – the message about what I am professionally.
2) “I teach people how to put their best foot forward in communication and get top notch results” – the message about what I do.

All my profiles on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn repeat these exact two messages, in the exact same form. You can also find them on the ‘About’ page of my blog, and in the bio I use with every article I write for other blogs. 

If one reads about me on a few blogs and social media sites, because these two messages get reinforced by repetition, it’s easy for them to remember these messages. Apply the same strategy and you can position yourself in the minds of your audience with the crucial messages you want. 

Use the Same Photo 
The law of repetition can also be applied in your visual communication using social media. It is more probable for you to be remembered if you use the same photo of you in all your social media presence. Furthermore, if you decide to change your photo (which shouldn’t be very often) change it everywhere. 

In order to successfully apply this strategy, you will need a photo of you which has a clean professional look, makes it easy to distinguish your features and has a human touch at the same time. One good photo based on these conditions is all you’ll need for a couple of years. 

Focus On Your Topic
Often, people will remember very little of what you say using social media. However, they may remember the topics you tend to talk about the most or the particular subject area you’re in, provided that you focus on one. 

This is why an effective online branding strategy is to write and talk about things which are on your topic and reinforce your image as an expert on that topic. You don’t need to do this exclusively, but you do need to do it with more than 80% of your content to see results. 

If, for example, you aim to brand yourself as a career coach, then you want to write career articles, share good career articles you’ve read, give career advice, tweet career quotes, talk about your career coaching activities and promote career events. This way, you will be recognized as someone who is in the field of career development. 

If on the other hand, most of your social media content is represented by jokes with no relation to a particular topic, you might be remembered as “that person with the funny jokes, although I have no ideas what they do for a living”. 

Use the Same Communication Style Everywhere 
It used to be believed that you need to adapt your style of communication to the specific environment you’re in. In personal branding, this no longer applies. You want to adapt your audience to your style, rather than your style to your audience. 

It is very important in using social media to maintain the same style of writing and talking across the board, on all social media sites. If you write in a direct, to the point style, do so everywhere. If you talk in a humorous style, do so everywhere. 

As people come in contact with your content and your style in social media more and more, you can even reach a point where they can recognize you as the author of a piece of content strictly though the style, before they look at the author’s name. Consistency in style can be that powerful. 

Fundamentally, consistency in using social media is the byproduct of a strong focus and a lot of authenticity. Combining these two qualities, you can create an image about yourself which is unique and memorable. From there, all sorts of great things can happen

Read More Click Here