Creating a Weekly Social Media Plan in Support of Your Personal Brand

Create a Weekly Social Media Tactical Plan(updated October 2017)

It can be easy to get sucked into a social media time sink when you’re getting started building out your personal branding social media strategy. That’s why it’s important to identify your top objectives for your social media usage, then draft a social media plan to define the activities you’ll do on a regular basis.

For instance, as a solopreneur or small business owner, your objectives might look like this:

  • Expand word-of-mouth about my services
  • Connect with 12 new industry influencers
  • Identify and become active in 2-3 online groups/communities related to my services
  • Drive 20% of all new business inquiries from social media channels by the end of the year

So how do you translate your positioning and focus areas into your social media plan?

First, set aside a couple of hours to draft your social media plan.

You’ll want to start by taking a close look at your bios on each of your active social networks. Does your bio consistently reflect your messaging?

Before you dive into tactics, you want to ensure you are presenting yourself with the same photo and/or graphics across your channels, and using the same language to reflect your value proposition, regardless of channel.

Moving into the planning process, you’ll need to identify:

  • Your primary keywords. Pick at least 3 and no more than 5 to focus on. Examples: digital marketing, financial services marketing, financial planning, social media.
  •  Key thought leaders and content sources for your keywords, starting with what you’ve already been reading/sharing via social. Aim for 10-20 total.
  •  Your weekly goal for posting content. Content can be something new that you share and microblog about (i.e. add your own perspective to a link), or can be something you RT from the folks you follow.
  • Your weekly goal for 1:1 interactions. This can include replying to an update someone posts, responding to a question with info or a resource, or just sharing something interesting 1:1 with a key person.

Now that you’ve defined your activities, and aligned your profile content to your objectives and value proposition, go ahead and block off 15 or 20 minutes per day, every day, on your calendar to focus on your social media activities. This time should be spent on your 1:1 interactions with influencers and followers, and tee’ing up content in Hootsuite or another scheduling tool, to be shared with your audience over the course of the upcoming week.

Documenting Your Social Media Plan

Social Media Calendar
Given a 15 minutes per day budget, you can aim for 1 Twitter post and 1 Facebook post per day, and a couple of LinkedIn posts of interest to your network per week. This time budget should also allow for 2-3 Twitter interactions and 2 Facebook interactions with influencers each week, and commenting on a couple of LinkedIn status updates or community posts per week.

To make sure you use your time wisely each day, add the related To Do’s to your daily calendar reminder.  This should include both interactions and content sharing activities.

By setting your goals and having them part of your daily To Do list, you’re on your way to improving your brand through regular use of social media.

5 Key Ingredients for a Successful LinkedIn Recommendation Request

.LinkedIn Recommendation Request(Updated October 2017)

Recommendations for your past work are one of the most powerful inclusions to have on your LinkedIn profile. But it’s not enough to do great work and wait for the recommendations and endorsements to flow in. Typically, you are going to need to ask for them. But just making a general request using the LinkedIn recommendation boilerplate copy is not enough. What you ask, and how you ask it, will determine how likely you are to get a reply — and a useful recommendation for your profile.

LinkedIn Recommendations

5 steps to follow when asking for LinkedIn recommendations

Step 1: Decide on one project or role to target

Although it may be tempting to send out dozens of requests, covering every position listed on your LinkedIn profile, resist that temptation! You’ll get better recommendations if you keep focused. Start with the role or project that you are most proud of, and that exemplifies the kind of work you’d like to do more of. Now, break down that role into the core competencies you demonstrated, and your key accomplishments. WIth this list in hand, you’re ready for the next step.

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How to Identify and Assess Your Core Competencies

How to Identify Your Core CompetenciesWhen starting out in your portfolio career, it’s tempting to take every opportunity that comes your way, just to ensure a steady income stream.

But is that really the best use of your time and efforts? Chances are, if you take on every project that comes your way, you’ll inevitably end up taking on  projects that don’t make the most of your skills and interests. Given that your most recent projects are what is most likely to lead to your next opportunity, it’s important to ensure you keep focused on work that makes the most of your key competencies.

By defining your core competencies and actively going after projects and roles that make the most of them, you will:

  • develop expertise in the areas that matter the most to your customers.
  • have a path for developing your skills in support of reaching your business goals

Identifying your core competencies

Core Competencies ExampleWhat are core competencies?

Let’s start by defining what a core competency is in a business setting. A core competency is a specific factor that is central to the way a company and its employees work. It must fulfill three key criteria:

  1. It is difficult for competitors to imitate.
  2. It can be applied widely across many products and markets.
  3. It contributes to the end consumer’s experienced benefits.

Taking this into a real-life example, if you are a social media consultant, your core competencies might look like the above illustration. You’ll note that these competencies fall into three buckets: functional (which includes unique technical expertise), personal (the areas in which you excel), and leadership (how your competencies interact with managing others.)

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How Much Social Media is Too Much of a Distraction From Your Career Mission?

2017 Conversation PrismUpdated October 2017 to include the latest visualization of the many social media conversation channels by Brian Solis and Jess3 via http://www.theconversationprism.com/.

Take a few minutes to look at the above visualization of the many social media channels in the Conversation Prism above, grouped by type. If you’re active on social, you probably see a few missing, which makes sense, as the illustration is over a year old. Now, take a moment to think about the social networks you use the most. For me, that would be LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Sure there are others I have logins for, but they’re not places I visit daily as part of my personal and professional social media use.

You could spend all of your spare time trying to keep up on reading and interacting with all the social networks relevant to your personal and career interests. Which is why you need to budget your time and set up a plan for making the most of your time. But before you dive into that part, first you need to define your objectives and identify the best channels to reach your audience.

Step 1: Identify your social media goals and objectives

Are you using social media to build your personal brand in your career field? Or are you more directly using it to market your professional services or small business? If you are trying to chase after more than 1 goal in any one social media channel, chances are you’re not going to be able to use it effectively— and you may burn yourself out in the process.

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Finding Your Voice: How to Stay True to Yourself While Maintaining a Polished Professional Persona

Finding Your Voice
One of the more difficult tasks as a solopreneur—or anyone who works in a corporate setting for that matter—is identifying the appropriate “voice” for your written communications and online interactions.

You may be tempted to try to keep your work life and private life separate when it comes to voice, but inevitably, especially thanks to social media’s proliferation, those outside of work comments and photos and activities become part of your professional brand—whether you like it or not.

On the one hand, you don’t want to try to maintain an artificially inflated version of yourself that won’t hold up under pressure but you also want to craft a polished, professional public persona that will help you meet your career goals.

So how do you balance it out?

I’ve definitely struggled with this balancing act throughout my portfolio career. The answer for me was to be transparent and consistent across my disparate activities.

For example, I was a regular arts and entertainment writer, covering all sorts of special events and concerts for a fairly hip and irreverent online publication, while working in communications for a large publicly traded corporation.

Rather than keeping my dual life a secret, I made sure to incorporate the cultural events journalist into my corporate persona. And I was always aware that anything I wrote in my off work time could possibly be read by my colleagues or even my boss. So I made sure not to step over any cultural lines, or make any comments that could be construed as not being supportive of my workplace.

How did that play out in real life? It meant I didn’t write copy that slammed big business, or that made fun of my industry, or that would be offensive to my company’s clients. That didn’t mean selling out or writing blandly either. It just meant keeping my copy positive and resisting the urge to snark. Which at the end of the day probably improved my writing—and my personal brand.

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