How Do You Grow and Measure the Success of Your Personal Brand on Social?
Depending on whom you ask, the Internet is both an easy and difficult place to create your own personal brand. There will always be someone standing in front of a pile of cash and a rented yacht telling you how they made millions from home — but that’s neither real nor realistic.
I grew up the middlest of middle class in Michigan. Two great parents, who still support me every day — and I had my very own Sega Genesis. But I didn’t start with connections, and I had a non-existent network when I exited college.
I don’t say that to tell you how remarkable my achievements are. They aren’t. Building a successful personal brand isn’t complex, and anyone who tells you otherwise is being disingenuous. Gary Vaynerchuk is right: you do need a skill. But, beyond that, the one thing you need is persistence.
It’s easy to say someone is doing it wrong or post a “You’re doing it wrong” meme, but how do you know if you’re “doing it right”?
“It” starts with a plan. Building a personal brand is a lot of trial and error, but you have to know where you fit, how you can differentiate yourself, and what’s going to help you stand out in an ever-increasing crowd.
Start With Your Competition
Don’t tell me you don’t have competition. You do. Identify what they are doing well, and where the weak points may be for you to succeed in that space.
This research and measurement piece is the hardest part, but it’s vital. Be honest when you’re doing this. It’s okay to admit when the competition is doing something right. You can learn from any of these observations.
From this analysis, start to form a plan. Find a sweet spot where you are different enough to get noticed and be clearly defined.
Also, make sure it fits your personality. You’re not going to stick to the plan if the plan isn’t made for you.
You can’t measure these results in days or months, and they are not linear. It’s a slow build. Don’t worry about engagement scores or following. Pay attention to overall metrics like ROI and business value. You can now use Simply Measured to find these way-more-valuable answers.
From a PR perspective, you’ll know you’re doing it right when more doors open for you this month than the month before. Can you leverage your network to get where you ultimately want to be? That’s what you are really looking to do.
You create a personal brand to get noticed and gain recognition as being excellent at what you do. But the real result is that a strong personal brand opens doors for you and makes the business you do or aspire to do easier. That’s the bigger picture.
And that takes time. It takes years. Have patience. Know there will be down moments, and times when you think your wheels are just spinning over and over again like a MacBook that’s seen better days.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed
2016 Social Marketing Planning Guide
It’s easy to get distracted with so many outlets, social networks, pieces of content, and ways to achieve what you want to achieve. That’s why you create a plan in the beginning and stick to it. Sure, you’ll adjust. Social media always adjusts. But your core positioning, content voice and overall thought leadership angle won’t. So simplify it.
Ask yourself one simple question every month: Am I in a better place today to achieve my goals than I was a month ago?
Answer this question with social analytics and, eventually, a solid attribution program. How are your mentions increasing? How is social traffic to your site (or sales) improving? Are you hitting the micro-goals you have set for yourself?
If the answer to these questions is yes, great!
If the answer is no, put more time in, don’t get discouraged, and keep learning from your research and analysis until you start seeing the momentum you are looking for. This is a marathon. You have a lifetime to get where you need to be.
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Jeff Barrett is Business Insider's #1 Ad Executive on Twitter, a Forbes Top 50 Social Media Influencer, a PRNewswire Earnie Award winner for Best Use of Video In Social Media, and a 2015 Shorty Award Best Business Blogger. He believes that, in PR, you are only as good as the relationships you develop and the dots you can connect.