Just Starting with Social Media? We Can Get Through This Together!

“Brand or be branded.”

I first heard this from the incomparable J.T. O’Donnell at Talent Connect 2014 in San Francisco and it really struck a cord with me. J.T. was talking about companies building an employer or talent brand, but the same concept applies to building your personal brand. Social media is an integral piece of the branding puzzle.

“I’m not on social media.”
“I have an account, but don’t post or share any content.”
“How could I possibly have a brand, no one outside my family and immediate co-workers knows who I am.”

Do any of these statements ring true for you? Read on.

Join the Social Media Revolution

Every day, millions of tweets, status updates, snaps and pictures are generated out into the interwebs for anyone to consume. If you aren’t taking part in this digital conversation, you are seriously missing out.

“Where do I start?”

Great question. I wish more people asked this before they created profiles on every single social media platform known to man and then did nothing with them (I’m still looking for you @chrisskaggs). The number of social media platforms available today is daunting…not to mention the new lexicon you have to familiarize yourself with in order to use the platform correctly.

My advice is to start small. Become proficient at one or two platforms, build a follower base and confidence level with them, and then branch out from there. There really is a skill associated with a strong social media account, and you need time to develop those skills and get comfortable. If you try to come into the social media world “guns blazing,” you run the risk of falling on your face and more realistically getting discouraged and becoming another casualty of the inactive social media profiles graveyard.

Do yourself a favor and conduct a little research to find out what social media platform a) is best for your brand and b) will allow you to genuinely engage with the right audience for your brand.

What Social Media Platform Is Best For Your Brand?

Not every type of brand and/or business makes sense on all social media platforms. For example, if you’re a photographer, you better believe you should be on Instagram, which is known for it’s photo-centric interface. You’re a blogger? I would strongly suggest Twitter due to the brevity the micro-blogging platform allows, as well as the ability to post hyperlinks to your original content.

Like most things in life, you have to start by defining your purpose. Are you trying to become an authoritative voice, do you want to build brand awareness, do you want to let your freak-flag fly and have a little fun?

What Is Your Purpose?

Whatever your answer, by first defining what you are trying to accomplish with social media, you can save yourself some heartache later. Identifying your purpose upfront is like figuring out a roadmap for your posts. Keeping that purpose front-of-mind allows you to post content that always stays true to your brand.

Generally speaking, when someone follows you on social media, they are expressing an interest in what you have to offer and digitally saying, “I want to know more.” Don’t let them down! The worst thing you can do is open a handful of accounts, generate some content, and then waste away to periodic and/or non-existent updates. It’s not fair to you or the followers that want to engage with you.

Starting small and focused builds the proper foundation setting you up for social media success. Happy posting, gramming, tweeting, updating, videoing or whatever social media mechanism it is you discover is best for your brand.

About The Author

Chris Skaggs is the head of talent and brand at TSP, a privately-held IT services company, and co-founder and president of Leighton’s Gift, a non-profit with a mission of turning a tragedy into something positive. Branding, digital marketing, talent acquisition and HR are all functions Chris has developed building teams, processes and strategies from the ground-up. Passionate about giving back, he also serves on the boards of a variety of different organizations. A natural storyteller, Chris’ work and experiences have been featured on CNN, Marketing Sherpa, CBS Radio, Recruiter.com and Glassdoor. Get connected online, @chrislskaggs.