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.

Watch Pattie’s interview with BNN’s The Street.

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 to 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 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


The power of Twitter as a true broadcast media channel

I originally wrote this post for Jaffe PR (blog). Jaffe PR is a complete public reputation resource, devoted primarily to law firms and legal associations. This content (message), however, goes across the board–from the Legal industry and beyond.

As a publicist who has worked in the evolving social and Web media industry for close to 10 years now, I have witnessed many industries that were once “afraid of new media” slowly embrace its reach and broadcast power. Little by little, organizations from financial services to politics continue to dip a toe into the unfamiliar waters of social media. A recent study by a British PR firm showed that some 264 world leaders now have Twitter accounts, and the researchers believe that 30 of them do their own tweeting. Altogether, world leaders have sent more than 350,000 tweets to almost 52 million followers – more proof that Twitter is a true (new) media channel (and, in case you haven’t heard, self-production is not a requirement).

While 16 of the G-20 leaders are actively using Twitter for public diplomacy, many heads of state and government leaders in China, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Italy still do not choose to broadcast on the social media channel.

As you probably have surmised by now, quite a few industries have just started to explore communicating in “the Twitterverse,” including the legal industry. Legal marketers, mostly on the agency side, are naturally very involved in social media, but it’s interesting to me that there are still so many legal professionals who cannot understand why we even need to bother with Twitter. Perhaps referring to this new media channel as the Twitterverse might be a deterrent? I’m not sure why the public relations firm that conducted the study even uses that term. Like it or not, Twitter is a real media channel, not another universe. I wonder if television was treated in the same manner back in the day – I have no doubt it was. Let’s not forget that Twitter was the “media channel” that actually broke the Japan earthquake news. I think that was the turning point.

Regardless, much like traditional media, most professionals in any industry who are not public-relations savvy should not self-produce or broadcast on Twitter at will. There is a difference between professional social media broadcasting on Twitter and the kind of broadcasting a teenager might engage in when talking to friends about a new boyfriend or the school dance.

How do we, as a public relations firm and legal marketers, support legal professionals (from partners and lawyers to vendors) in embracing the power of Twitter as a true broadcast media channel? Or should I say as “a broadcast channel that embraces brand journalism”? As a public relations firm, our job is to show our clients in the legal industry how to build a relevant and appealing content strategy, and how to broadcast resulting content in a tactical way that will support online reputation and build an approachable online persona that people will trust.

I believe that, if produced and managed correctly, social (or new) media is a great way for lawyers and firms to build “good public reputation,” as well as better publicity, via best online thought leadership practices, including broadcasting interesting and important (“good”) news about one’s firm, practice, clients or business or the industry overall. Building a better online persona via a broadcast channel like Twitter, as well as in other networks such as LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube, among others, is more important than ever before. In this age of new media, a corporate brand – and especially a personal professional business profile – that simply sits dormant as a directory listing does not do much for any organization or individual, unless perhaps you’re the president of the United States. But even then, what is the use of a stagnant social media profile in a highly active broadcast channel?

As social media continues to evolve as a legitimate broadcast media channel, those who do not use it as such (within reason and produced in a “human and lifelike manner”) will not reach the kind of PR or marketing goals they are looking to obtain on the Internet. There are ways to hold back confidential information, as well as ways to pull in the right audience by sharing interesting ideas, facts and news.

Designing effective content and engagement that will continue to attract moving and ever-evolving audiences is a key component to being successful on Twitter and beyond. Delivery and presentation of content must also rely on knowledge about the audience. We help our clients with both sides of the process.