As an entrepreneur, you're the public face of your business. You want your customers, staff and competitors to see you as a serious professional, and that means developing a personal brand around your company. But that doesn't mean you should be all work and no play, especially on social media.
"We live in a world where the lines between our personal and professional lives are blurred," said Rob Begg, CMO of relationship analytics platform Introhive. "We're connected to colleagues on Facebook. We have clients following us on Instagram and peers adding us to LinkedIn. It's okay to mix personal and professional on social media because people want to know the real you. It makes them feel closer to you and that makes it easier for you to establish trust, connection and an authentic relationship."
Properly branding yourself on social media is especially important for establishing and maintaining relevancy among your target consumers, said Eric Schiffer, chairman of ReputationManagementConsultants.com.
"If you don't brand via social, millennials and Gen Xers not only won't pay attention, but can consider you irrelevant," Schiffer told Business News Daily.
While most branding experts agree that an entrepreneur's online presence should be a healthy mix of personal and professional, there are some ground rules that must be followed. Here are a few do's and don'ts when it comes to building your personal brand on social media. [5 Ways to Better Your Personal Brand]
Post consistently. As with all forms of content consumption, social media users look for consistency and quality in the accounts they follow. Stock trader and entrepreneur Timothy Sykes said that he tries to update each of his social media accounts each day, and advised finding a good rhythm to your posts.
"If you post a ton all at once and then disappear for weeks or months, your followers will trust you less and not be as interested in what you have to say," Sykes said. "Remember that most of the world views social media as a hobby. If you treat it like the business that it is, your channels will become popular and useful to judge customers' reactions on everything — and your business will be better as a result."
Build strong relationships with the right people. "Quality over quantity" has long been the mantra of great content marketers. The same applies to your social media connections. Don't worry about vanity metrics like number of followers, Begg said: It's more important to engage and build relationships with industry influencers and other individuals who could add value to your personal and professional brands.
Pay attention to what your followers like. While the number of likes, retweets and shares your posts get shouldn't be the end-all, be-all of your social media strategy, it is a good idea to give your followers more of what they like. There's no exact method or formula, said Sykes, and you'll learn over time what types of posts your followers like and engage with most.
Leave up questionable content from your past. Millennials and later Gen Xers were teens and young adults when social media first became popular, meaning that some of their more embarrassing social media posts could still exist online. If you want to be taken seriously as a professional, make sure you've got a clean record.
"It's time to remove the photos and scandalous videos from university," Begg said. "Google yourself and ensure that the results are something that you can be proud of. Be professional in your tweets, updates and in anything that is associated with your name."
To ensure that you appear professional, especially to the right audiences, Begg also advised researching and understanding the privacy settings for each of your social channels, and leveraging them to fit your comfort level and lifestyle.
Be afraid to let your guard down. The best way to build an emotional bond with your followers is to allow them to "feel" you rather than just read what you share, Schiffer said. Be real on social media, and get comfortable revealing who you are and what matters to you as a person.
Get stuck on "rules." Don't approach social media with a set of rules and assumptions of what your followers will like, Sykes said. Try out all forms of content that are in line with your beliefs and goals, and refine your strategy over time based on what is most liked, what best promotes your business, and most importantly, what you're proud of posting each day.
Originally published on Business News Daily