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


5 Evidences that You’re Not Ready for Press

newspapersThe simplest truth for business owners to remember is that they must invest in their brand (as well as their personal professional brand) before they invest time and money into gaining media attention. 1000% Guaranteed: If your product or service is amazing, unique, better than your competitors, and your followers and clients can’t stop telling the world about you….the media will come!

5 Evidences that your Brand is Not Ready for Press…

1. You don’t have a brand

You have an idea. You have created a product or service that none or few have yet to pay you for. It may be remarkable or even breathtaking, it could even be the beginning of a multi-million dollar enterprise! Unfortunately, it has not successfully hit the market yet and credible journalists do not report on potential.

2. You do not have any followers

You do not have to become a viral sensation to be successful! However, having at least a few hundred people who consistently rave about how awesome you are will build credibility within the eyes of the media and your target customer.

3. There is no revenue

Almost every journalist loves a good rags to riches story or to be able to boast a company’s soaring financials. Since 50% of all start-ups fail, reporting on the successful ones is a joy to the media. Your product may be perfectly brilliant but without revenue the media will view it as a hobby not an enterprise.

4. Your product is mediocre

There is a saying in media, “Dog bites man is not news, man bites dog is news”. If your product is common like your competitors with the same price and similar qualities, the media will not come running. If you have a scarf company that is not news. If a single mom created hand-woven scarfs in her home, using the rarest fabric on the earth, and donates 25% of revenue to cancer research…that is news! How are you unique?

5. You have not researched the media

If you are a serial dater of the media and sending broad, mass pitches to every and any journalist you are not ready for the media! Think of the single person who goes around a club or social setting handing his or her number out to EVERYONE. How ridiculous do they look? Approaching all media gets you no where because every journalist has a specific audience. You must first research the media and find out which outlet covers products similar to yours and how your offerings can specifically benefit a journalist from that outlet.

5 Solutions to get you press ready. (You did not think we would be so cruel to just tell you what you are doing wrong did you?)

1. Build a brand

Before you hire a PR firm (GASP), spend your dollars on your brand. Make sure your logo is spectacular, your website is superb, and your customer service is unbeatable. You may be a mom and pop but make sure you look like a cooperation. Give your company a dazzling personality and do not cut corners, hire professionals and the best of the best to transform your vision to reality.

2. Build a social media following

Interact and post thoughtful content on Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook. Re-post all that you see that is awesome, follow influential people, and share your company’s updates often. Also, kindly ask every client to give you a review on Yelp, and share your testimonials on your social media outlets. Do not simply “sell” on social media. For example, if you owned a dog food store your Facebook post should not read “Dog food on sale $12.99 buy now”. Your post should be an adorable photo of a dog that says, “Like this photo if you love dogs”, this is an example of engaging VS selling.

3. Make money

Invest and make sure your product is the highest quality and if need be, spend money on advertising (not to be confused with PR). 10 years ago advertising meant having a $50,000 budget but with today’s digital platforms and solutions you can advertise effectively for hundreds of dollars. If your budget will not allow for it seek referrals, look for places to sell your product online or what ever it takes. If you fail to make any real profit after 12 months of advertising and selling, go back to the drawing board and figure out why your product is not selling itself and redefine who your target customer is.

4. Make your product better than the rest

For this it is time to stalk your competitors. Evaluate what makes their products sell and examine your own product and ask yourself how can you create the same value they have but even more. What is your man bites dog story? Where can you not cut corners but be incredibly detailed? How can you use your product to tie and uplift your community?

press5. Marry the media

You read right. If you sell an organic household cleaner find yourself a journalist who is known for following and reporting on the dangers of toxins and the importance of healthy home care. Read their editorial calendar like the Bible, follow their social media, and pitch them as someone who is able to in the future provide value to their readers. Do not do the failed, traditional “Feature me please” pitch. Instead, try a, “I am a fan, nice to e-meet you, I have tons of material that your audience will find valuable so if I can ever be a resource for you please let me know” approach.

via presswho.com
follow @PressWho


Is your social media presence hurting your job search?

You hear a lot about what you shouldn’t post on social media, but employers are starting to grow weary of hiring candidates who lack a social presence all together. Take control of your brand by balancing your personal and professional image to attract recruiters.

Is social media hurting your job search

By Sarah K. White | CIO.com

Social media can make or break your career. We’ve all heard at least one story of an employee getting fired over a Tweet or Facebook post. And when you apply to a job, most hiring managers will first turn to Google to vet your background and qualifications.

Whichever way you swing it, you can’t avoid social media anymore, and how you manage — or don’t manage — your social presence can make or break your job hunt. It’s time to take control of your image and start thinking of social media as personal branding.

Why does it matter?

Continue reading… Continue reading “Is your social media presence hurting your job search?” »


CEOs who aren’t using social media are doing their organizations a massive disservice.

What a title for a blog post – in my line of work, it better amount to some SEO for myself or else. No, I do not right a lot (these days) on my blog. Too busy running blogs and social media networks/campaigns for my clients, but I HAD to take a time out today to share this one “theme” again! This article (post) on Ragan.com, one of my regular daily go-tos for all the latest PR/Marketing news, says it all:

Study: CEOs aren’t using social media to full potential
CEO.com and analytics firm Domo found that more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 chief executives have no social media presence at all.
By Matt Wilson | Posted: September 9, 2014

CEOStudy_jpg_600x0Among Fortune 500 chief executives, only one, Mark Zuckerberg, is on all five major social networks. It probably helps that he invented one of them.

About 68 percent of the other CEOs have no social media presence at all, according to new research from CEO.com and business analytics firm Domo. Of the 162 chief execs who do have social media presences, 110 are only on one social network.

Read the rest of the study/article >here.

If you follow me on social media or this blog, you know I write about this “growing issue” a lot and have been preaching this since the dawn of social media (2003). Lots of CEOs and other C-suite professionals have heard my cry and have allowed me to help them become and remain more visible on social (and digital in general) media. In my opinion, this “push-back” so to speak is more so about having the time and the ability to do what it takes to be successful with social media. There are way too many people out there trying to push all of these fancy options for these executive leaders. It’s overwhelming! And do their corporate marketing or even outsourced PR firms handle all a CEO or any C-suiter for that matter, ON SOCIAL MEDIA. 99% OF THE TIME = NO. But, well its social media and everyone should know how to navigate it and use it right? NO!

Most CEOs leave the marketing and PR to other people in the organization they operate, but then it is assume that they have to handle their own social media outreach. Well, I am here to tell you the do not have to! Most of the guys and gals who are super active on social media DON’T handle themselves on social media (just like they don’t handle themselves on a red carpet or on a press-media junket). Social media IS media, media is media. Don’t go at it alone and especially if you run a Fortune 1000, 500 or 1 company…even a small, under 50M company. BUT a C-suite leader can’t just NOT be present online – like the article says, CEOs who aren’t are doing their organizations a massive disservice. Not to mention an under represented image as it applies to the company – in the ever-growing digital media space.

And Obviously, it’s about having a certain style out there in the biz world (as I always say, not everyone can be a Richard Branson or Bill Gates or even Donald Trump) on social media. Strong and Silent can work, as can Loud and Clear – it’s about being yourself and being real and approachable. Being active on social media is more than just about how much you say, it’s also a lot about what you do (or don’t do).

I think, I can safely say, that I know how to “lead (executives) into the light”… of being present on social (and yes, ALL of digital) media. Here are some fo the articles I’ve written “in this flavor” over the last few years:

Why your managing partners need to be on social media

Come out from behind the brand and start operating like Sir Richard Branson…

Is outsourcing social media right for you?

reputationRemember when it comes to personal or business promotion: There is no such thing as social media marketing, it’s called being able to market and promote (publicize) on social media. Further more, social media was built for humans to connect with other humans (do the math). Executive leaders will serve their organizations well if there are open to connecting and allowing others to approach and get to know them via social media. Press and media outlets also do most of their research (looking for sources, comments and so forth) online and via social media. And when a CEO is mentioned in a mainstream media article or interviewed on the air, etc. It’s important to have the online presence up and running for those instances as well. At the end of the day, all of that in combination could play out well for the organization as a whole. Putting someone in one’s corner to manage of all that on one’s behalf just may be the key to getting more CEOs (C-suite)


Social Media ROI – it takes a village

Last year, I wrote an article for Jaffe–the legal industry’s full-service PR and marketing agency, entitled Come Out from Behind the Brand. I guess you can call me a traditionalist; I am a huge proponent of staying true to what social media actually means, and how it was originally developed toconnect people with people.  If you recall (or recall hearing), “the Facebook” was developed by a Harvard student (most of us know who he is) to help students connect with students about the happenings around the university. People connecting with people and, as we all know, the rest is history. My back to basics mantra: “Social media works best when people, not the brand entities that they work for, communicate with people about what and who they like and know of, the latest news and incredible stories, etc.”

Here’s the key: the more people in “the village” (i.e. company, or really any organization of any sort) who are “talking about” various things in the social media channels that either pertain or relate directly to their organization or company (brand), in representation of that organization or company, the more likely others (people) will follow, engage and talk about these people and more importantly, about the brand (company/organization) that person and their “village” represents or leads. In doing so , all of this can and will lead to increased online visibility (digital PR and publicity!) for the brand/organization which will naturally lead to or provide new opportunities (namely new business, sales, leads, further mainstream publicity, and so forth).

>>>Read my guest post on the Jaffe Blog.


Social media network broadcasting: No sales pitch please!

twitterbroadcaster
One of the advantages of using social media networks for creating new business opportunities is the ability to share great information without having to rely solely on the traditional sales pitch approach. Absent the hard sell, “social media network broadcasting” allows for the opportunity to engage with people on a number of levels, from personal interaction to thought leadership. Broadcasting includes sharing your own original content/information, re-sharing other information and content (via your colleagues, friends or media sources), or having a conversation about a specific topic.

So, rather than looking at using your posts in social media networks as just another overt sales pitch method, try deploying a personal “broadcasting” campaign to encourage the people in your networks (LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and so forth) to look forward to hearing from you. That will only add to your new business development process. The more frequently the people in your networks (or your “audiences”) read about you and all the interesting things you have to say or share in their various social media network newsfeeds, the more “buzz” you can create for yourself and/or your law firm.

With the right strategy and a consistent tactical plan, your social and other online media (blogs, groups/forums) network audiences will eventually start to share, like and even comment on your broadcasted content (original articles, shared content, or back-and-forth conversations, etc.). During this process, audiences will also share your content with their audiences, who may also then share with their audiences and so on. It’s a viral process (and it doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time to build up) that will eventually add to your online public reputation and increase your online publicity, which in turn will support your traditional sales and business development processes.

That’s a win-win situation, no matter how you look at it. Rather than simply telling your public what you offer and how valuable it is, social media broadcasting allows you to demonstrate – over time and in a very direct way – why you and your product or service is of benefit and why people should believe the person (you) or the company behind it. Reading what is being shared by others in your social media network newsfeeds can also give you insight into what’s on the minds of your clients or potential clients: what they like, what they don’t like, and what they’re saying about you and your competitors.

Good information is the lifeblood of social media networking. While it’s important to create a robust profile in a variety of networks, these no longer can remain static. The more you broadcast (on any level), the better your reach-out to your audience will be. This generates publicity and enhances your public reputation, and develops web- or blogsite traffic, direct email inquiries or calls. Social media broadcasting success also benefits from the sharing of non-competitor information through your various channels, from featuring guest bloggers to recommending the products and/or services of others to your audiences.

You can easily measure the effectiveness of social media broadcast efforts to gauge the level of impact it’s having on your business. Here are some typical social media measures I look at:

-Number of new followers and connections, such as “new likes” on Facebook, followers on Twitter, connections on LinkedIn, etc.

-Traffic to your website or blog measurement from social media sources such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.

-Number of new email (newsletter) list or blog subscriptions compared to your old rates before ramping up your social media efforts.

-The “reach” of your social media broadcasting efforts (how many people beyond your own network channels read/see your posts).

-Level of audience engagement (number of comments, questions, etc.).

-Number of people buying your product or service as a result of a social media network referral.

-Physical sales numbers before and after starting your social media campaign.

What else?

Know your audience: Your audience cares much less about you than about themselves, so stop making your content about you. Understand what motivates your audience, and cater to that.

Entertain: If you’re asking people to invest time into your content, the least you can do is make it worthwhile. Don’t be afraid to use humor or drama to make your message that much more interesting to read. Bonus: Being entertaining helps make you memorable.

Inform: The worst reaction you can get from your audience is a collective “So what?” Write about current events, give your opinion on trending issues or add insight to popular topics. Anything you can do to educate your audience will help show your value.

Inspire: Getting people to read a piece of content is one thing, but provoking your audience to take action is something else altogether. Great content can turn your efforts into real-world results. For example, charities often find ways to tell emotionally powerful stories of their constituents as a way to inspire viewers to donate.

Engage: What’s more interesting, a lecture or a group discussion? Most people would probably agree that the latter keeps their attention longer. Think about ways you can interweave the comments and feedback of your audience into your content. Hosting guest blogs and curating third-party and social media content can be a great way to turn your one-way channel into a two-way street.

The bottom line: If you want to get results (or ROI) out of your social media participation (investment) effort, you must you engage in social media network broadcasting. Just as traditional advertising and sales approaches remain critical components of your marketing and branding toolbox, social media network broadcasting is also becoming more and more necessary. Surprisingly, even with numerous social media networking success stories and case studies there are to learn from, many attorneys and law firms are quick to brush these off as “fluff” or gratuitous. If done well, strategically and tactically – with the right mix of solid information, social media channels, audience engagement and tangible measurements – social media network broadcasting is a proven publicity and lead-generation strategy that can get and keep you in front of your target markets and set you apart from the competition. Interestingly enough, everyone who is part of this pay-it-forward process will also benefit!

Originally published for the Jaffe Blog.


Storytelling Tips to Make Your Brand More Relatable

By Richard Brownell | PR News Online 02/11/2014

The ability to tell a story is a fundamental skill that all good brand communicators should possess. Storytelling not only shares information, it makes that information relatable to the audience, humanizing complex ideas and offering fresh perspectives.

Christopher Hammond, senior vice president of corporate communications for Wells Fargo, shares some tips here on how to enhance your brand’s message through storytelling.

#1. Take it to your audience!
Read the full article here


Is outsourcing social media right for you?

Originally published on the Jaffe PR Blog on Jan 22, 2014. Jaffe PR is a complete Public Reputation resource, devoted primarily to law firms, legal associations and vendors to the legal market. Legal Brand Journalism™, including media relations and content development, is at the heart of our work for clients.

Outsource social media activities

As we all know by now, a vast majority of today’s professionals are active on a multitude of social media networks — for personal and, with increasing frequency, business purposes. What was once considered a new phenomenon in the legal industry — being present and active on social (digital) media — is fast becoming a “must-do” for attorneys (and, I’d like to add, for just about every high-profile professional, executive leader or entrepreneur).

Yes! It’s important, if not more important, for law firm attorneys (again “the above mentioned” types of business professionals) to also “show up” online.

Read the article here (click over to): Jaffe PR Blog Continue reading “Is outsourcing social media right for you?” »


Is PR the new SEO?

google-hummingbird-1380545875

PR Pros (especially those who are engrained in new digital media like me) are buzzing about the introduction of Google’s Hummingbird. Earlier this month PR Week contributor Martin Jones’ wrote a fantastic article, PR: The new SEO? that provides further and valuable insight about the potential positive effects the latest and greatest Google algorithm will have on the public relations industry.

Jones: “Google’s new approach is putting more weight on meaningful stories when deciding where different links appear in search results – and that’s a windfall for PR agencies.”

In this short, easy to read, article he explains the three “PR-friendly” assets of Hummingbird:

1. Backlinks from third-parties linking back to company sites
2. Content that is easily searchable through “search-optimized blog posts and knowledgeable contributed articles”
3. Weighted “social shares” on social media

Read >PR: The new SEO?

Jones: “The best part about these changes is that PR is just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing: telling great stories, getting media placements for clients, and building relationships.”