These days, it’s expected that professionals have a social media presence, but what will set you apart is a thoughtful, cohesive, and platform-spanning strategy.
Personal brands are like interactive business cards; they are your first impressions. When potential employees or clients search for you online, you want to be able to have results that reflect your business personality.
To begin, we must discuss the difference between a Fan page (a business page) and a Friend page (a personal page) on Facebook. It is highly recommended that for your business purposes you create a Fan page on Facebook. This allows potential clients to ‘Like’ your page, rather than send you a Friend Request. This is considered professional, and appropriate “social media etiquette.” You can still have a Friend page, but it is best to use a Fan page (again, a page that someone can ‘Like’) for your business.
The separation of these pages is a critical step in building your social media presence. While it is encouraged to share content between the two (i.e. sharing a business achievement on your personal page and/or sharing a photo of you gardening on your professional page), the professional look of your business page, will be attractive to potential clients. Additionally, you are able to limit others from posting on your business page, so that you can monitor the content closely, and it remains a reflection of your business-self. Remember that once something is posted on the Internet, that content will always be out there. If you are unsure, it is best to “sleep on it,” or ask a close friend whose opinion you trust, for their thoughts. You never want to offend anyone on your personal or professional Facebook pages.
The benefits of a business page are numerous, including but not limited to the ability to run promotions and gain Likes through Facebook advertising. Promotions on Facebook vary from Boosted/Promoted Posts, to Like My Page Ads and ads that support click-thru’s to websites. The cost can be minimal; starting at just $25.00 for a Boosted/Promoted Post, and/or $10/day for a Like My Page campaign. Examples of appropriate advertising would be; 1) Promoting an event for your business, 2) A general ad that promotes your business offerings, 3) Using an achievement or something unique to you that will increase awareness of your business. Facebook is saturated with messaging, and the best way to stand out amongst the crowded arena is to place Facebook ads (as well as ads on Twitter and Instagram) to increase the engagement and reach of your business page.
Additionally, a business page on Facebook (but also for other accounts as well) is your outlet to sell your services. Just be aware that social media is….social! Be conscious of your messaging. It is important that it is both business and industry oriented, while remaining fun, interactive, engaging, and most importantly authentic. The goal is to create a dialogue with your audience; you want them to Like and comment on your Facebook posts, re-tweet you on Twitter, and connect with you on LinkedIn. Join the conversation by following other businesses, sharing and re-tweeting, and commenting on their content. Social media is a back-and-forth conversation – be a part of it!
Don’t forget that imagery is important too, as social media is all visual. A professional headshot is the first step to consistent imagery and a part of having a cohesive branding strategy among your accounts. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. should all have the same profile photo. See our blog post on head shots for more information!
These sites are an incredible tool and each of these accounts – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest (and many more), should be used as an effective marketing tool for your business. Remember, this may be someone’s first impression of you. What do you want it to say?