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Personal branding trends to tap into on social media

Having a personal brand, whether you’re job hunting, running your own business or at any stage in your career, is essential. It’s what separates you from the rest of the pack and helps build important connections that boost your growth and development.

One of the best ways to enhance your personal brand is through social media. Just as social has given rise to the likes of influencer marketing, there are opportunities across a wide variety of networks in which to build and enhance your personal brand.

However, before you get too carried away, you should be aware of the following social media trends (and to some degree, expectations) — they’ll greatly impact how you’ll want to launch and run your personal brand campaign.

1. Embrace authenticity

How important is authenticity on social media? Look no further than the aforementioned influencer industry, which has embraced genuine perspectives. If you really want to connect with your audience, you, too, have to consistently be 100% yourself.

“A great personal brand is one that is authentic and intrinsically connected to who you are as a person. It magnifies your talents and knowledge in a way that makes them appealing to a specific audience — in this case, your coworkers, clients, and extended network.”

Ed Keller, CEO of Navient

Taking it a step further by honing in on the data, Sprout Social’s #BrandsGetReal report on “Social media & the evolution of transparency” was able to put numbers behind the ever-growing authenticity trend.

Authenticity is now a standard expectation on social media from brandsWhile the study itself may have been centered around businesses, there is much to be gained when it comes to adopting the same social media trends and expectations for your personal brand. And this is especially true if you’re well-known not just as an individual, but as a public-facing representative of a company as well.
Consider what the report found in regards to CEOs:
CEOs have the unique power to bolster transparency efforts on social and bring out the best in others. One third of consumers say they would purchase more from brands whose CEOs demonstrate transparency on social. By setting an example of transparency, CEOs can lead the charge in empowering their employees to share and advocate authentically for the brand on social.
#BrandsGetReal: Social media & the evolution of transparency
So, what does authenticity on social media look like in action?
Famed entrepreneur and businessman Gary Vaynerchuk suggests that you “Document. Don’t create.” This could be sharing your successes and failures, discussing a journey, giving your opinion or letting people see what your daily life is like, both inside and outside work.

You also could use Sprout’s 2018 Index for inspiration. For example, the type of posts most likely to earn engagement and shares from brands are those that entertain, followed by posts that inspire and posts that tell a story. All of which translate well when considering content for your personal brand strategy.

2. Keep organized

What does calendar management have to do with social media and personal branding? Broadly speaking, it ensures that you’re able to maintain and map out the content you’ll be sharing across your social media accounts. Because you’re going to need to create and share multiple types of content — including video, podcasts, selfies, and mobile-friendly articles — a calendar will guide your efforts.

For example, a calendar will make sure that you block out time in your schedule to brainstorm and devise content. After it’s been created, you’ll then use your calendar to determine when that content will go live. It enables you to group like-minded content and themes in campaigns to keep engagement high. In short, it provides some much-needed structure to your social media strategy.

Additionally, it provides an overview of your content schedule so you can keep tabs on what’s been published and track how it’s performing. And, most importantly, it encourages accountability — which is important, considering that around half of marketers are making up their social media plans on the fly.

Once your content is off and running, reap the benefits of planning while also saving time by using Sprout to automatically schedule posts during the most optimal times. But for now, learn more about the best times to post on social media to get a feel for when users are most engaged across various networks, or learn how to easily create your social media calendar.

3. Stories aren’t going anywhere

In 2013, Snapchat introduced the world to Stories. Since then, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp and YouTube have joined in on the fun and for good reason. As noted in Fast Company, research shows that “Stories are growing 15 times faster than newsfeeds. More than one billion users are already hooked on the format.”

While the look of Stories is all relatively similar across each platform, the biggest consideration you’ll want to make is determining the type of content that fits each network’s audience.

For those on Facebook and Instagram, you may be able to double dip using a tool like Sprout rather than spending time going into each account, while the likes of WhatsApp and YouTube may demand something a little different. This will also vary depending on what you’ve established for your personal brand.

Bottom line: If you haven’t adopted Stories yet, it’s time to incorporate the format into your strategy to take your personal brand to the next level.

4. Don’t limit yourself to just Facebook

Around 69% of U.S. adults use Facebook, so there’s plenty of reasons to make sure you’ve staked out your social presence on the platform. However, there are plenty of other opportunities to expand the reach of your personal brand across other networks. You don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to establish your voice on Twitter and LinkedIn as well.

Twitter, as Dakota Shane, co-founder of Copy Buffs, explains in Inc., is ideal for developing thought leadership by sharing the content you’ve created, as well as your thoughts on current events. t’s a great platform for sharing brief, easily digested updates that can quickly grab an audiences’ attention.

LinkedIn, on the other hand, can help you establish meaningful professional connections through narrative-style posts, such as telling the story of how you overcame a challenge in your career. On LinkedIn, you can repurpose some of the longer-form content you might have shared on Facebook and gain the readership of a more targeted professional audience.

5. Embrace social media automation on your profiles

Artificial intelligence is changing the way we conduct business across all types of industries. We’re seeing this with the increased use of chatbots on social media. While chatbots are an obvious answer for customer service, they’re also great for individuals who want to build stronger relationships with audience members. For instance, these bots can generate leads and revenue, by providing after-hours support and steering users in the right direction.

Let’s say that someone wants to know what services you offer or whether you have any upcoming speaking engagements. The chatbot could then send them to your “Services” or “Events” page. As a result, you’ll save crucial amounts of time and money while being able to connect with many more interested audience members.

More promising, AI can learn more about your audience and make smart suggestions. For example, as tools powered through machine learning advance, you could easily identify the content people engage with the most, as well as pinpoint when and where to share this content. Sprout’s ViralPost is one example, as it analyzes your followers’ engagement with your posts to identify a customized optimal posting time for your content.

6. Build a robust community on social media

“Building community is one of the most rewarding and wonderful ways to launch and grow a brand,” wrote Forbes contributor Goldie Chan. “After all, if your community doesn’t feel a connection to you or to each other, it’s much less likely they will engage in with your content or purchase your products.”

Private communities have been a major social media trend emerging throughout 2019. Business Pages on Facebook can now participate in Facebook Groups, giving brands a way to directly connect with their most dedicated followers.

These passionate fans are equally interested in keeping in touch with brands through more exclusive communities like Facebook and LinkedIn Groups. According to research from the Sprout Social Index 2019, 46% of consumers join private groups specifically to communicate directly with a brand or business.

Among other benefits, private groups can help your personal brand get feedback from the most passionate fans and present content without worrying about algorithm changes. This is one of the reasons some influencer accounts on platforms like Instagram have chosen to switch their accounts to private. Because FOMO has a strong psychological pull, you can use this to your advantage by creating private and exclusive accounts and groups.

Conclusion

While using social media is a given to strengthen your personal brand, it can get overwhelming. However, these trends should guide you in creating the right content, as well as assist you in engaging with your audience. They’ll also keep your efforts organized and ensure you’re not spending every waking moment on social — after all, your personal brand will be pretty boring if you’re not actually doing anything.

Personal branding trends are evolving constantly, but it’s important that you take the time to invest in yourself and make sure you are doing everything you can to build a personal brand that stands out.

This post Personal branding trends to tap into on social media originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild

Hey, friend, have you heard the good news about podcasts? 

Given the most recent stats, it’s highly likely you have. Over half of all Americans over 12 years of age have listened to at least one. Podcasts have well and truly hit the mainstream. In other words, the gold rush is on for brands looking to connect with a highly-engaged, long-attention-span audience.

However, getting a podcast up and running isn’t as simple as publishing a blog. We recently published an entire B2B podcasting webinar to walk you through the entire process, from conception to publication. This post will zero in on the choices you need to make and the steps you need to take to release your podcast into the wild.

B2B Podcasting Launch Checklist: 10 Steps

Sure, you could just upload your audio to your web server, add an RSS feed, and call it good. But if you want people to actually find and listen to your podcast, there are a few extra steps you should take. This checklist will help your podcast find an audience and start building a subscriber base.

via GIPHY

#1: Choose Your Hosting Platform

A podcast syndication platform makes it easy to publish your podcast and get listed in directories. Think of it like WordPress is for your blog — it hosts the files, makes them look pretty, and makes it so people can find them.

Most platforms will also give you embed codes for embedding episodes in blog posts or on a landing page. You’ll also get stats on how many people are downloading episodes, and on what program they’re listening.

We prefer Libsyn as our hosting platform. Podbean, buzzsprout, and Blubrry are also solid options. They all have a free tier of hosting, but you’ll want to pay a few bucks a month for bandwidth and analytics.

#2: Upload Your First Three Episodes

Podcasting is all about establishing a regular cadence (more on that later). But for launch, you’ll want to have at least three episodes ready to go. There are a few reasons for publishing multiple episodes for your debut:

  1. One episode may not be enough to convince people to subscribe. 
  2. Multiple episodes show you’re committed to keeping the content coming.
  3. Most importantly, Apple podcasts requires at least three episodes to qualify for their “New and Noteworthy” section. 

So before you publish, have at least three episodes completed, and be ready to follow up with more at your promised publishing cadence.

#3:  Register with Podcast Directories

Podcasts are peculiar in terms of content delivery. Your hosting platform makes the files available, but most people will listen to your podcast on their chosen podcast app. Each app maintains its own directory — think of it as a search engine for podcasts. 

Your podcast needs to be listed in their directory, or people won’t be able to find you. I recommend registering with at least these six:

  1. Apple Podcasts
  2. Google Podcasts
  3. Stitcher
  4. Podbean
  5. Spotify
  6. TuneIn

Each of these sites will ask for the RSS feed of your podcast, which your hosting platform will generate for you.

I created a podcast tracker to keep track of all these directories — sign up for the webinar and you can download it for free.

B2B Podcast Tracker

#4: Promote Internally

Gaining visibility on a podcast directory is tricky business. Apple and Google are where the majority of your listeners will be, and each employs an algorithm to promote podcasts in search results and feature pages.

How do you get an algorithm’s attention? Engagement! Start by promoting your podcast to all of your employees. Encourage them to subscribe on Apple or Google, give a rating, and write a brief (and honest) review. What’s more, draft some social messages and encourage everyone to promote the podcast to their networks, too.

That base level of initial engagement will help your podcast start finding its audience.

#5: Activate Your Influencers

Most podcasts are Q&A-style interviews with influential guests. If your podcast includes influencers in your industry, make sure they know as soon as their episode goes live. Give them the tools to promote the podcast easily:

  • Sample social messages
  • Social media images in the correct sizes
  • Embed codes

If your podcast doesn’t feature influencers, it’s worth re-evaluating your strategy for your next season. Influencer content not only is more valuable to your audience, it’s an indispensable channel for promotion.

#6: Publish Blog Posts

The one downside of audio content: It’s not super crawlable for SEO purposes. Granted, Google has started to auto-transcribe episodes and add them to search results, but the technology is still in the early stages.

To truly get some SEO juice from your podcast, we recommend embedding each podcast in a blog post. This example from the Tech Unknown Podcast by SAP* shows how simple it can be. All you need is an introduction, a few pull quotes, some key takeaways, and a transcript.

#7: Add Paid Promotion

As with any content, you want to use every tactic available to make sure it gets seen by your target audience. That’s especially true with podcasts, since podcast search engines are incredibly competitive.

Targeted, paid social promotion can help establish your subscriber base and get your new podcast some much-needed visibility.

It’s also worth considering cross-promotion on other podcasts. Consider both paid advertising and trading guest spots with a podcast that shares your target audience. 

#8: Solicit Listener Feedback

Ratings and reviews are essential to your podcast’s success. They’ll help provide social proof for new listeners and boost your search visibility in podcast directories. 

The best way to get ratings and reviews? Ask for them. Make it part of each episode’s sign-off. You can even encourage thoughtful reviews by reading the best ones on future episodes. You will engage your listeners and solicit more reviews at the same time.

#9: Keep Up Your Cadence

As with blog content, there’s no single “right” frequency to publish a podcast. Some of my favorite podcasts publish weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. The best cadence for your podcast is “However frequently you can reliably, regularly publish quality content.”

Choose your cadence with an eye to long-term sustainability, and tell your listeners explicitly how frequently you’ll publish. Whether it’s “See you next week,” or “PodcastTitle is a monthly podcast that…” listeners will find it easier to make your podcast a habit if you stick to a schedule.

#10: Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose

In my last post on the content marketing benefits of B2B podcasting, I mentioned that podcasts are a content machine, and I’ll say it again. It’s easy to finish an episode, publish it, then forget it and move on to the next thing. But don’t do that! 

Pull snippets of audio content for social media. Turn them into short videos, too: Add a still image or a simple looping GIF for visual interest.

Use your transcriptions as fodder for future blog posts, quotes for influencer marketing, or even a stand-alone asset. 

Any way you can reuse that content can help bring more listeners to your podcast. What’s more, putting the content in a different medium can reach an audience who might not be into podcasts (yet). 

Check, Check, One Two

Launching a podcast is a little trickier than launching a new blog, especially if you’re new to the format. But if you follow this checklist, you can make sure your podcast is available on all the right channels and is ready to start attracting an audience.

Need more podcasting help? Check out our B2B Podcasting Webinar. In addition to learning the Four P’s of podcasting success, you’ll see me make this face:

B2B Podcasting Face

*Disclosure: SAP is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post 10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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