When you hear the word brand, what comes to mind? At a high level, it might be a company logo, or a product name. But a brand is more than that – in fact, through its name or image, a brand has the power to communicate a message about the item it represents.
What is a social brand?
Brands are no longer just for products and companies! You as a person, can also have a brand, or rather a social brand. Perhaps you are known in the office as the person who has the answers to any question, or maybe you’re the best at implementation; maybe you’re the person who brings the best desserts, or knows everything there is to know about cars. That could very well be your brand.
Your brand is painted by your own contributions to the world, as well as by references to you made by other people.
In the past, having a social brand was reserved for those who were noted industry leaders, or those who were on TV or published authors and experts.
But the prevalence of social media has now allowed all of us to craft and nurture our own social brand, both personally and professionally. Every comment that we post, every photo that we share, every contribution that we make to the web contributes to our brand.
Despite how easy it might look, brand building takes some work!
For some people, brand-building comes easily, because what they say is wildly popular with their audience, and their thoughts and words come out easily on paper and on-screen.
But for most of us, we need to do a bit of work to build our online brand among a wider, connected audience, just as we need to work to build a professional reputation among our colleagues and stakeholders.
Why even nurture a social brand?
Well, in short, having this online credibility is good for your career.
- It demonstrates to your leads, prospects, and employers that your contributions are valued and should be respected.
- It allows you to become a genuine, legitimate expert in your own domain.
- It exposes you to a wider network of like-minded individuals and
- It allows you to develop new relationships, share new ideas, and learn new things, further expanding your knowledge portfolio, network, and influence.
Use the Web and social media to build your brand
E-mails and phone calls, while useful in their own way, can’t help you with brand building:
- E-mails are now associated with task lists and nagging reminders.
- Phone calls are ignored.
- And your audience is limited to your lead lists.
The Web and social media experience is much more attractive, and these platforms are associated with enjoyment and learning.
Not only that, you’re not just communicating with people you know, but when your network shares your thoughts with those who they know your message can be broadcast around the world.
What is the process behind building your professional social brand?
So do you build your professional social brand just by posting on LinkedIn and Twitter?
No – a reputable social brand is an end-result that arises when you provide thought leadership to your network and nurture the relationships within this network.
Thought leadership and enhanced relationships arise when you repeatedly, reliably and consistently provide value to your audience, through content, communication and collaboration, that is of value to them.
If you think of any relationships that you yourself value, it’s likely because you receive some benefit from it in some way. The same goes when you are reaching out to your audience. They need to make the link between the valuable information they are receiving, and your name, face and voice.
How is your social brand doing?
So think about what your social brand might be, and specifically your professional social brand. Is it where you want it to be? What can you do to make it reflect who you really are?
Start thinking about ways you can demonstrate your thought leadership, next, focus on building your network with value-add contacts – more specifically, those individuals who will benefit from the knowledge and know-how that you have to offer them. By focusing your energy on fulfilling these two requirements, you will start to see your social brand take shape in no time!