Welcome to the second installment in our 3-Step Course on Staying Weird Online! In step one, we encouraged you to embrace your unique self and share it with the world. Now, we want to help you actually do it – take over your public image and make the real you seen and heard. It’s best to start with what already have and invest time in, i.e. your social media accounts!
Consider social media the first touch point with your (personal) brand. It’s highly likely that people you’ve met at SXSW will come in touch with you and your creations, whatever they are in form of music, books, design or a shoutout for a work well done, through social media. That is why that is where we are turning first.
In order to truly understand why we are starting this exploration adventure here, I want you to take a look at your social media profiles as they are at the moment and tell me – is that the true YOU? I don’t know you, but if I only had 15 minutes to go through your social media accounts and make conclusions about your character, skills, and values based on what I find there… would I see you?
If the answer is “No”, don’t despair, it only means we have work to do. 🙂 If the answer is “Yes” – good job! Continue reading to get some new tips on managing your social persona, or skip to Step 3.
Embracing the Crazy
Before you even start to create your profile, you need to identify your unique brand of weird. What is your area of expertise? What are you passionate about? What is that unique value you can provide?
For someone just starting out, my advice would be to try to be the truest you possible online. It’s so easy to get caught up in copying what other successful people do that a lot of times people forget that nobody can do YOU better than you online (and that’s what makes personal branding powerful in the first place).John Meese, writer, speaker, and coach
After you know the answer to these questions, the rest will come easy. Every action on your social media account should demonstrate your expertise, give a glimpse into your values and passion, provide value to your network and be quintessentially you.
Make all your social media profiles equally awesome.
Use the same name, photo, and imagery for all your accounts so people can recognize and follow you easier:
- Reserve your name on all social channels. You can use KnowEm to check for availability of your ideal username on over 500 social networks.
- Make photo professional – high-quality and let your face be seen – but don’t make it sterile. If you are a painter, add some traces of paint. If you are an accountant, don’t lose the calculator – make it your signature thing. Even if you work in a corporate environment, a little of bit of color can’t hurt. It can only make it more personal, and that is what you should be striving for.
- As a cherry on top, pay attention to your bio. Add some personality there too. Are you an OCD freak? Own it!
Next up, HomeBase!
And first, there was Facebook.
Many people cherish their Facebook identities and use them to promote their personal brands. While making a brand out of a regular unusual person can be challenging, many before have done it, and you can too. By following my advice your page will be verified in a flash, and before you know it, you’ll be using the Facebook mentions app to make your voice heard, and spread your message. You can even hold live video chats with your followers!
Popularized by Twitter, but slightly different on Facebook, followers are people you don’t have on your friend list, but can see the things you post nevertheless. Gaining followers is one of the first steps in spreading your uniqueness and making yourself known on Facebook. Granted, if you are interested in reaching people you don’t already know, you should always make your content public, so more people can access it.
Plan ahead. Research and make sure your brand name is available as a twitter username, a Facebook page, and a domain name. Keep everything consistent. Have a strong logo/banner design that you use across all platforms so your brand is easily recognizable across all channels – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram.Ben Farrell, Founder of RoadLessTravelled.Me
To get started, just start posting content on what you want your personal brand to be about. It can be a link to an article you wrote or that cover news in your field, or original photos and long, witty comments. The most important thing, whatever content you put on Facebook, is to stay – on topic!
While you can rant about politicians and put some foodie photos up on your profile, doing too much of too many kinds of content will dilute your fan base. Your personal brand needs to have focus – and so do you!
After you get your footing, shake thigs up a bit – on video! 😀 Every video you post will get a much larger reach than say, a photograph or a textual post. By recording an unusual video of you, doing YOUR thing, you can instantly reach your entire audience, without paying a single dollar. In most cases, you don’t even need a fancy setup, just a phone or decent camera and lighting. Facebook video is currently the most effective way to reach your entire audience – and it doesn’t really matter if you have a profile or page (looking forward to crossing that 6000 friends threshold!
Tweet Up Your Brand
What else? Twitter of course!
Twitter is a textual network, which means that it’s literally the thought that counts.
Think about how often you tweet. Is it a few times a day? Month? Hour? It’s important to have regular content. So if you write 20 tweets today, and then go silent for 20 days, that will not echo well with your followers. It’s usually enough to tweet 3 to 5 times a day to make your Twitter profile seem fresh and active. I recommend making use of scheduling apps that will make it easier for you to tweet those weird thoughts of yours to people who want to read them.
Next, you need to distinguish different types of tweets. “Publishing” links or random thoughts on Twitter timeline is one thing, but what you need to think about is starting conversations with your Twitter followers as well! Ask them questions, or ask for feedback, make them involved. These can’t be scheduled and will require some proactive use of Twitter on your part.
Finally, in order to make yourself a brand, you need a voice. Your tweets need to be that voice. The style of the tweets, the types of sentences, punctuation, all these things can combine to make your Twitter personal, and make you the brand that is being promoted. Try to produce an image to your followers, 140 characters at a time.
By making your personality the quintessential part of your tweets, you will project an aura of uniqueness that will drag followers onto your profile, which will, in turn, make you a successful Twitter brand.
Your Story in Pictures
More informal than Facebook and with a focus on engaging graphics, Instagram was the missing piece we needed. Here you can really let the true you shine – by sharing freely what excites you, the adventures lives and lessons learned!
The thing to pay attention here is to make pictures high-quality and choose the right hashtags. Pro tip: add hashtags as a comment after you publish your posts, to keep the post itself clean. Keep things positive and share bits of you, as your followers will appreciate it.
Use Instagram Stories for a more direct communication with your followers. Why not share this amazing experience that is SXSW with them? Jump through the rabbit hole together. Show them the 6th street, let them order a song in Pete’s Duelling Piano Bar and cheer on you during Tech.Co’s Startup Night!
There’s a lot of ways for your weirdness to be seen and heard, primarily on social networks. We hope this guide has steered you in the right direction and that you will be the next great weird thing that we will all adore and follow. 🙂
The only thing left to do? Consolidate your efforts and unite them to form one wholesome picture on a platform you own, your personal website: