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Growing your personal brand on social media

Excellent advice from Pattie Lovett-Reid, chief financial commentator, CTV News – 5 ways to grow your personal brand on social media.laurie pehar borsh digital pr

 

ANALYSIS: Are you narcissistic if you’re on social media?

 

That was the question posed to me at a family BBQ on the weekend. I found myself defending those of us who use social media to get a message out, build a brand, or purely for the entertainment value. Admittedly I’m a late adopter, having only joined Instagram this past week and Twitter a few years back. However, prior to engaging, I asked experts in the field about ways to build a profile the right way, and I looked for some convincing that what I was doing was in fact a good thing to do.

 

Here is what I learned:

 

Social media is here to stay and employers hire people to ensure the person portrayed on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram is the person they think they are hiring. It has happened more than once where a candidate has been disqualified for a job after a social media search unveiled a less than ideal candidate. The question then becomes how do you develop a social media brand that shines a light on you in a good way, and helps to build your brand, not destroy it?

 

There are some obvious rules to live by, such as never post when you are angry if it is late at night or you don’t have all the facts.

 

Here are a few things I found helpful as I embarked on this brand-building social journey.

 

1) You need to take ownership of your brand. And yes, we all have a brand so you have to decide what it is you want to be known for.

 

2) Stay on top of trends, understand how your business is evolving, and be aware of changes in rules and regulations that impact you and your industry.

 

3) Think very small steps. Your brand will grow over time. It isn’t about doing one big thing right, it’s about doing a lot of little things right. It can take years to build and just one Tweet to destroy it.

 

4) Always look for opportunities. It is okay to think outside of the box but stay aligned to the goals of your organization. You don’t want to pursue a personal brand that is misaligned with the strategic initiatives of your organization. It is unlikely you will ever be bigger than the brand you work for.

 

5) Be authentic – authentic success, real success starts and ends with you being – you. Authenticity helps to build trust and in turn translates into your brand.

 

Finally, we all have to learn to say “no.” There is a tendency to want to say “yes” to every request that comes your way but by having the strength to say “no” allows you to walk away from the opportunities that don’t align with the personal brand you want to be portrayed.

 

When it comes to social media, I’m still a rookie and learning to proceed with caution. Accept it for what it is – a platform to get your message out, not a podium to hide behind, and finally, don’t let it become a productivity killer.

 

Of course the best piece of advice I already knew intuitively – never post anything your Mom wouldn’t be proud of.

 

As the Chief Financial Commentator for CTV News, Pattie Lovett-Reid gives viewers an informed opinion of the Canadian financial climate. Follow her on Twitter @PattieCTV

Don’t Let Your Headline Get Cut Off!

“Not everyone wants to play the game, ‘What’s the last word in the headline?’” says Andy Bechtel, associate professor at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill.

So, write web heads that don’t get truncated by Google, social media channels and mobile apps or else you’ll lose your readers’ attention.

How short? Make sure your web heads are short enough to:

  1. Get seen on Google.

Google’s search results display only the first 63 characters of your headline. To avoid getting your head cut off on Google, keep headlines to 55 characters or fewer. Remember: Google never bought a product, voted in an election or supported a cause. So write headlines for humans; optimize them for Google.

  1. Get shared on social media.

How will your headline look when it shows up on Facebook, Twitter and other social sharing sites? To avoid getting your head cut off on social media, aim for 55 characters or less.

  1. Get seen on mobile devices.

Mobile apps and websites often truncate long headlines. To avoid getting your head cut off on mobile apps, follow AP’s guideline and limit headlines to fewer than 40 characters.

  1. Reach readers on the go.

You have only a few seconds to reach mobile audiences before they swipe left or leave for another site. They want to scan at a glance, not study for a minute. Plus, long headlines get lost below the fold or take up too much valuable real estate of mobile screens.

To avoid getting your head cut off, keep your web head to 8 words or fewer, or about 40 characters. That’s the length readers can understand at a glance, according to research by The American Press Institute.

But online, shorter is better. My personal preference is web heads of 6 words or less, or about 30 characters.

In the end, it’s important to remember: Those extra words aren’t worth losing your head over. So when writing for mobile audiences, write headlines to go. Keep your head short.

Ann Wylie (WylieComm.com) works with communicators who want to reach more readers and with organizations that want to get the word out. To learn more about her training, consulting or writing and editing services, contact her at ann@WylieComm.com.