now-what-simple-thingsYou’ve answered the first question, “Who are you?” with a website and business cards, a blog, and a handful of social media sites. You’ve defined who you are and clearly established your goals and objectives. Now what?

Now it’s time to embed the brand you’ve created into the minds of people in your (ever-growing) network. You want them to immediately associate you with certain ideas and characteristics. It’s not enough to just establish that direct connection, you’ve got to relentlessly maintain it.

Now it’s time to answer the next question, “So what?” Here are some suggestions that can extend the reach of your branding efforts.

1. Follow the people you actually know, the people you want to know, and the people you should know.

This was the best advice I was given from social media guru Sree Sreenivasan at a convention in New York City and it makes perfect sense! When it comes to who you associate with on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – before you click ‘Ignore’ on that request invite – just consider for a moment, “Even though I don’t personally know this person, can I benefit from this connection somehow?”

If you want to become a professional photographer, for example, you’ll want to see what others in your field are taking pictures of and what techniques they’re using. Find out who the experts are and follow them. Become part of that world.

2. Respond to emails, tweets and posts because – while it’s courteous – in this instance, silence is not golden.

Sometimes those emails clarify information. Sometimes the post gets shared and becomes viral. Sometimes your tweet gets favorited by someone you should know and should be following. (Ehh? See how that worked out?) But I personally think a response, whether brief or in depth, always lets the other person know that you got the message.

3. Erase all generic messages!

Specifically the automatically generated I’d-like-to-add-you-to-my-professional-network-on-LinkedIn message. The goal of branding is to breathe a little bit of personality into your social media presence. An impersonal message misses the opportunity to let that person get to know you.

4. Know when to post.

According to Social Caffeine, the best times to post are generally between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and it’s no coincidence the peak is during normal business hours. There are even optimum days to post specific information. Did you know automotive posts are more effective if posted on the weekends, but posts about clothing and fashion are better shared on Thursdays?

5. Make your life easier with apps like TweetDeck or HootSuite.

Schedule tweets, especially during those peak hours, to keep your brand alive even if you’re busy with another event. Create lists to organize the people or businesses you follow.

6. Don’t be afraid to let people know your ideas.

Pitch an idea to a place you think would feature something like it or benefit from it. You never know where it will lead you and you never know who else might find your thoughts enlightening.

7. Likes mean nothing. Comments are everything.

I personally think nothing is more redundant than a Facebook “Like” or the LinkedIn equivalent, “Endorsement.” Recommendations are more effective, just like comments.

8. Recognize good work from others and praise them for it.

By paying attention to how those in your field perform and giving them recognition, you’re reinforcing the type of effort you value, the ideas you believe and the work you produce.

9. Super-size your social media profiles with sites like Vizify.

It simplifies everything, even places you’ve lived, and puts them into eye-catching infographics.

minh-dam-vizify

10. Tweet people when they come up in conversations.

I love this little trick. For instance, when your friends or colleagues tell you about someone you should know that gave an amazing TED Talk. Tweet the speaker, tell them you’re watching, and let them know who sent you to them. It’s a great way to start a conversation.