Social media is an excellent platform for personal branding, but it needs to be approached carefully. You don’t want to blend into the crowd, and you don’t want to stand out for the wrong reasons. The following lessons are drawn from three very different people who’ve successfully built online empires through clever personal branding on social media.
Google+, Guy Kawasaki
Guy is an incredibly prolific social media user, and he should be, he’s a marketing legend. He regularly posts on Twitter and Facebook, but it’s Google+ that’s offered him the best results for his time, and he knows it.
Guy’s brand revolves around G+. He’s a constant curator of interesting, thoughtful content and, in his own words, aims to ‘entertain, enlighten, and inspire people 365 days a year’. Each of his photos and posts receive tens, if not hundreds of comments and shares. He’s a go-to source for inspiring and educational content. He follows the same strategy on all of his social networks, but on G+ he gets 10 times the results. Why?
Google+ is the love child of Facebook and LinkedIn, it offers personal connections with a more corporate vibe. People are happier to connect with strangers and there’s less of the trolling associated with social media. Guy is not only a G+ success story; he teaches others how to be one, too. His book What the Plus! Social Media for the Rest of Us has made Guy not just a popular man on Google+, but an expert. People listen to him because he lives what he preaches.
What can businesses learn from Guy?
Find one social media strategy, and stick with it. Guy aims to provide one service. He doesn’t deviate from it and try to be everything to everyone. He’s useful. He prefers to help people and find useful content,rather than appearing to promote himself, and really, this is the ultimate in self-promotion. And lastly, find success on your own terms. Guy didn’t listen to the ‘experts’ who declared G+ to be a waste of time. If something unconventional works for you, use it.
Pinterest, Lauren Conrad
You may sneer at a reality TV star making this list, but the former ‘The Hills’ star has steadily built a fashion and style empire since the end of the show, and social media has been a huge part of her marketing strategy. While she has an active blog, and updates her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts regularly, it’s Pinterest that’s proved to be the pinnacle of her online brand.
Lauren is unashamedly girly, uses pastel pinks in most of her branding, and is ladylike at all times. This approach is why she’s scored hundreds of thousands of Pinterest followers. And she’s consistent. Each of her Pinterest boards follows the same styling, eye-catching and carefully selected cover photos offer a little glimpse of what’s inside; and the chosen board names are short, elegant, and lacking capital letters. She pins whatever she likes, and intermingles this with her own photos and blog posts, guaranteeing her a steady stream of visitors to her site.
So what can you take away from this?
Well, Lauren knows where her potential audience hangs out online. Women from the US make up the largest demographic on Pinterest, and while Lauren’s approach won’t work on all, she has managed to capture her fair share of followers. Additionally, it’s the perfect platform for new people to discover her, in the land of how-to tips, beauty tutorials, and diet plans, Lauren’s content thrives. Your potential audience is looking for content just like yours, you just have to connect them on the right platform.
Twitter, Lady Gaga
You may say, ‘Lady Gaga? She can do what she likes, and she’ll still be talked about in every Starbucks’. True. But while you may groan at the blatant Gaga domination of media, her Twitter strategy has transformed her personal brand from bizarre star to approachable idol. Gaga uses Twitter to connect with her fans on a personal level, she’s famous for her close relationship with them. She constantly re-tweets and replies to her fans, and makes them feel like they’re her friends, she shares her feelings and asks for their opinions on tattoos. She tweets about the things she believes in, especially tolerance, and her fans feel as though she’s their personal champion.
What could Gaga possibly teach a business about social media strategy?
The first Gaga lesson is to sell your personality, not your products. Gaga’s approach shows she’s a person just like the rest of us, and this is what your business needs to aim for. Don’t be a business online, don’t sound corporate; sound like a human with feelings and emotions, be accessible. Secondly, Gaga realises that maintaining a current fan base is a priority above gaining new connections. She works hard to make her current fans feel valued. The quality of your fan base rules over the quantity. Don’t forget your current followers while you search for new ones.
The one thing that all three of these people have in common is that, although they use a variety of social media platforms, they narrow their focus on one. They each found one platform that works for them the best, and used it to build their online brand.