In: Social

A Complete Guide To Personal Branding on Social Media

Jul 29, 2015
personal branding for marketing influence

Have you ever been layers deep into Facebook or Instagram? Somehow after looking at your mom’s profile, you end up looking through her friend’s-daughter’s-boyfriend’s-cousin’s-wife’s-best friend’s-dog’s, and now you are eight profiles deep into social media snooping. Do not worry. We have all done it (a little bit more than we’d like to admit). With each click, you were able to form an impression on each person—er, or dog—solely based on the content of their profiles.


Now think about your own social media accounts. Businesses are not the only ones that need marketing. Building your own personal brand is just as important. In a time where majority of Internet usage is spent on social media, people should understand the importance of marketing themselves and their personal brand.


Let’s focus on the five biggest personal platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Instagram. Each platform holds different purposes that corresponds to different audiences. Think about this: Which platform would you present first if someone asked to connect with you online? What kind of content do you have on your accounts? It is important to know what is appropriate on specific platforms, and what is definitely not appropriate (cue bad memory of Aunt Doris flashing the camera at last year’s Christmas party).


Let’s get started!


Facebook // 47% of All Internet Users Are On Facebook



First and foremost, it is important to note Facebook was originally intended for college students to connect online. Today, it is a place for moms to post embarrassing family photos, which you are now tagged in and for businesses to advertise. Facebook is the most family-oriented platform right now but also the busiest when it comes to businesses. It may seem like a free-for-all in terms of the type of content you publish, but you still need to be conscious about the possibilities of potential business partners or prospective employers looking you up, which they definitely will.


post about:

  • -Accomplishments
  • -Family appreciation
  • -Events
  • -Reunions
  • -Hanging out with friends
  • -Sharing of appropriate articles


Don’t post about:

  • -Personal problems
  • -Inappropriate content
  • -Confidential information
  • -Things in or of the workplace
  • -Generally controversial topics


The content on your Timeline is under your full control, which means it is a reflection of you. Be wise, stay classy, and enable “Timeline Review” in your settings so that those embarrassing tagged photos of you will not reach the public eye.


In the “About” section of your Facebook, fill out the general information. There is honestly no need to fill in every section if your only friends are people from high school, work, and your family. Leave out the home address and other confidential information that you don’t want public. Spreading awareness of your personal brand is important; spreading awareness of your personal information is not.


On the other side of Facebook, for those entrepreneurs and business advocates alike, sharing business-related news on Facebook is a great way to engage with others in the same field. Who knows, maybe Aunt Doris is actually a member of the Chamber of Commerce?! (Yeah, probably not, but she might know someone!)


Overall, give your Timeline a peek every now and then to make sure that everything is spick and span and markets your name the way you want.


Take a look at the profiles these two very influential people (one being the founder of Facebook):


Mark Zuckerber // Founder + CEO of Facebook

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Bill Gates // Co-Founder + Co-Chair of Microsoft

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Twitter // 100 Million Daily Active Twitter Users

twitter-bird-white-on-blueTwitter can be used for many different purposes; it really depends on your goal. Some people use Twitter solely as a blurt-out-anything-for-the-sake-of-posting-something platform. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with doing that as long as your posts are respectable. BUT there are other people that utilize Twitter as a means to network online with other businesses and potential clients. It is up to you to decide why you have a Twitter and how you will present yourself online.


Once you have established that, following specific people or brands will be the next step. If you want to go with the more casual, personal side of Twitter, you would follow friends, celebrities and funny accounts. On the other hand, when the importance of networking with the right people comes into play, you will want to follow your target audience and those in the same field as you. From there, you can use each other as sources for sharing relevant and current news. It is not necessarily about your number of followers. What matters the most is the amount of engagement and activity on your profile.


Establishing a voice on Twitter is also important. Whether it is reaching people through humor, interesting information, pictures, or videos, keeping up to date with trending hashtags is a great way to help generate traffic.


However, don’t forget about the value of creating your own content! Find your niche and become an expert at what you love. Nothing feels better than someone going to you for pointers because they know you know your stuff. Think about it, there are a lot of well-known, internet-famous people on Twitter that started out just like you and me. Get yourself out there and get known!


Below are the top three most influential CMO’s on Twitter. They were able to accomplish this through their activity and engagement in building awareness about themselves and the brands they represent.


Beth Comstock // CMO for GE

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Jonathan Becher // Head of SAP Digital

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Stacy Martinet // CMO at Mashable

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LinkedIn // 89.7% of All LinkedIn Users Find It Extremely Useful in Networking and Developing Business


On the professional side of social media, we have LinkedIn. If you want to network online, LinkedIn is your go-to platform. Whether or not you are looking for employment or currently hold a job, you should have a LinkedIn account. All in all, this platform allows a person to build his or her personal brand professionally while offering the opportunity to network among peers and other business-minded individuals.


Connecting with the right people is one of the biggest challenges on LinkedIn. Now, you do not want to be that guy that reaches the connections limit of 30,000. The point of connecting is to link with a person that you know well and can trust. A good number would probably be around 150, based on Dunbar’s number of how many stable relationships one human can hold at any given time. Another rule of thumb is to connect with people who you can offer help to, that can also offer you help in return.


Joining groups in LinkedIn is highly recommended. Finding and engaging with others in the same field or with the same interests as you creates a deeper connection rather than simply clicking away at familiar names. In addition, publishing personal articles and statuses definitely helps build your personal brand and professionally grow your network. However, remember to sort through which content is appropriate for LinkedIn. BuzzFeed articles about dogs are great for Facebook, but I would suggest posting a Forbes article or personal article on LinkedIn.


One very important note about LinkedIn is that, as fun as it might sound, a good profile has every single section filled with great content. This is the ultimate place for you to market yourself professionally. Make sure to turn your “Activity Broadcasts” off when you edit your profile so that your connections won’t get notified every time you move a comma.


Great things to have on your LinkedIn profile include:

  • -Professional headshot
  • -Headline with industry-specific keywords
  • -The schools you’ve attended plus clubs you were a part of
  • -Creative summary with strategic keywords
  • -Past job descriptions


Things to never put on your profile include:

  • -Personal photographs as a headshot
  • -Job title as your headline
  • -Religious, political, or personal picture posts
  • -Blank sections


Take a look at some of the most inspiring CEO’s on LinkedIn:


Richard Branson // Founder at Virgin Group

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Craig Newmark // Founder at Craigslist

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Katya Andresen // CEO at Cricket Media

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Snapchat // 1 Billion Snapchat Stories Viewed Each Day


Snapchat has become one of the most mainstream Social Networks since its debut in 2011. Ever since they added the Story feature, big name brands have started using the platform as part of their marketing campaigns. When it comes to personal branding, I have seen some creative post on everyone’s Stories. Snapchat is unique because nothing stays more than 24 hours. However, this does not mean you can be careless about what you post (Note: screenshots!).


When building a personal brand on Snapchat, establish something unique and consistent to your Story. This will increase the number of people who view your posts regularly. Remember, you only have a number of seconds to persuade the viewer to keep watching. Do something funny, share some information, or have a call to action. Also remember that there are features like filters for color, location, holidays/events, time, battery life, speed, and temperature as well as a paint tool for you to doodle on pictures or videos.


Don’t forget to share your Snapchat username on your other social media platforms!


Taco Bell is one of the many brands that utilize Snapchat in their marketing campaign. They never fail to entertain me even if I have already had lunch!


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Instagram // 75 Million Users Post Daily


Instagram is the only Social Media platform that is solely mobile-based for photo and video sharing. Building a personal brand on Instagram is a lot easier because a profile is made up of visuals. There is one side of the platform where people like to post whatever (yesterday’s lunch, #tbt baby pictures, and today’s #ootd). On the other side of the spectrum, there are some really creative and artistic people.

Instagram’s profile format is a grid made up of three columns of square photos.


@NIKELAB does an amazing job of showing how creative you can get with this type of format.


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The key to an aesthetically pleasing Instagram is achieved through consistency.


Be consistent with:


-Photo content
-Editing style (theme)
-Format of photo and/or caption
-Hashtags (optional)


By creating a specific look and feel to your profile, you are building your personal brand. A person’s Instagram profile says a lot about a person, believe it or not. If you control what content comes out, it reflects you. Things to think about:


What you should post:

-Relevant, interesting content to your “theme”
-High quality photos

What you shouldn’t post:

-Irrelevant content (boring things)
-Low quality, grainy, dark photos
-Inappropriate content (you know exactly what I’m talking about)


Let’s talk about tags. First, hashtags. There is now a feature to see which hashtags are trending. However, do not be that person that hashtags “#tagsforlikes” or hashtags something that has nothing to do with the picture you just posted.


Geotagging is another feature in which you can link your photo to its location on a map so others viewing that same geotag can see your post. Whether you have found a cool hiking trail or a new hole-in-the-wall cafe, Instagram allows you to keep track of the places you have been.


Lastly, Instagram gives you the option to link your post to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and/or Foursquare. This way, you don’t have to go into each account just to post the same thing. There is, however, a fine line between platforms. Always be picky about what post you share to which platforms and how each platform looks as a whole.



In A Nutshell

Social media is here to stay. My advice? Get yourself out there, have an online presence, and make yourself look good. Both content-wise and aesthetically. Build your personal brand because it represents YOU! You never know who might be watching. Overall, be genuine, have fun, and do not add Aunt Doris on any of your accounts!

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