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Personal branding is a must for all consultants, whether working in HR, finance, business coaching… It is THE way to build trust, stand out from the competition and increase website traffic. In the blog ‘Why personal branding is important for consultants’ we discuss this in detail.
But where to start? In this blog we explain step by step how you can use social media to build your personal brand.
Define your target audience
One of the basics of any good marketing strategy is the description of buyer personas. These are (fictional) clients from the target audience, with certain interests (professionally and personally), age, gender and so on. After describing them in detail, you want to align content and images with these personas. By doing this, your ideas, blogs, offers… will appeal to the right people: existing and potential clients. And then of course it becomes more likely that these people will actually buy something, contact you or click on your links.
Furthermore, it is important to find out where your buyer personas spend their time online. Age is important, but also their day-to-day lives, interests and so on.
For consultants, LinkedIn is often the no. 1 platform, since the target audience is generally very active on this platform.
The importance of storytelling
Storytelling is about sharing relatable and captivating messages by writing them in a narrative style. You can use storytelling techniques for personal branding, with the aim to be seen - in due time - as an authority or example in your domain. Think about Oprah Winfrey, born street-poor, but now an inspiring power woman that changes lives. This is a powerful example of personal branding through storytelling!
It has been proven that storytelling works way better than uninspired advertising or simply trying to sell what you have to offer.
It also works better than merely sharing what your added value is compared to competitors, your unique selling points (USPs). For example ‘x is a family business with years of experience’.
Storytelling: how to? Some practical tips:
- Structure posts with an introduction – for example a question, idea or situation, middle part – with a solution or more explanation – and a conclusion or a question that evokes reactions. Another way to structure your content is using bulleted lists.
- Write short, powerful phrases and keep it clear and simple. An example is this post from consultant coach Richard Moore about the importance of conversions.
- Repeat words at the beginning of consecutive sentences, like in this post of coach Ali Merchant. This catches the eye!
- Incorporate your ‘why’ and USP’s. What is your particular positive contribution, why is this so important and what makes you better than the competition? Incorporate this in your brand story: a story about what you do, how it all started, why you do it and who you want to help. You can share this story in one or several social media posts.
- Spark the imagination and feelings of your target audience. In other words, evoke certain images. All the while keeping your buyer persona in mind. Use as many visual triggers as possible: movies, power words, images…
- You can make your buyer persona the protagonist in certain stories, for example in stories where you explain the problem of a former customer and your solution. Go very personal: imagine the day-to-day lives of your persona and include aspects of it (in a more or less subtle way).
With storytelling you try to connect with your buyer persona on a personal level.
Tip: check our blog page regularly for more tips. In the next blog, we will focus on storytelling.
Make a social media calendar
So what exactly will you share on social media? First of all, you want to make a content calendar. This is simply a timeline with post topics.
As mentioned before, LinkedIn is an important platform for consultants. Therefore, planning a post on LinkedIn is a great way to start.
No inspiration for your content? Let’s dive into some concrete tips.
LinkedIn post tips
To showcase your expertise and let your followers know that you are up to date with relevant news and trends, it is of the uppermost importance to share informative content. On a platform such as LinkedIn, informative content is the bulk of the content. You can do this in two ways:
- By sharing blogs, tips or news with 100% unique content. We are talking about your expertise, research results, own findings, news of your company and so on.
- Content curation: gathering existing content such as news or blogs, reworking it and adding to it. You can add your own point of view, opinion or approach to the problem. Curated content is typically included in a blog or article.
An approachable and attractive way to share informative content on social media is via carousel posts with tips. Each image contains a certain tip. The first image usually contains a question or catchy title.
You can also share your own quote(s). This can be a print screen of a Tweet or a new image with a quote and photo. In the caption you can open up a discussion: ask the opinion of your followers or their current position or situation.
Keep in mind that the more comments your posts has, the better its ranking will be. In other words, triggering comments is always a good way to go.
You can also share information or a tip and add a poll to it to trigger your target audience.
Some great examples:
- This inspiring quote with a photo, shared by B2B consultant Brooklin Nash.
- This tip from business coach Justin Welsh about upscaling.
- This post with a poll about connecting on LinkedIn, shared by LinkedIn coach Mic Adam.
Tip: follow competitors with lots of followers and post engagement and get inspired!
Reposting, connecting en commenting
The easiest way to be active on LinkedIn is reposting and commenting on other people’s posts, with or without your own input.
Connecting is also an easy trick to expand your network, and therefore your reach.
Take a look at the way financial consultant Glenn Vandamme applies this strategy effortlessly and with good results.
What you can do:
- Share a link to a (network) event you are attending.
- Share your opinion or expertise on a topic in the comment section of a post of a competitor.
- Participate in a poll and comment with a justification of your choice.
- Use simple and encouraging words, such as ‘congratulations’ and ‘well done’: you don't always have to comment with the most clever words or make it complicated.
- If you don’t have a lot of time, you can always simply like posts or connect to people who are somewhat linked to your domain.
Reposting, online networking and commenting actively will result in more connections or followers over time, without too much effort!
Content with a personal touch
A while ago it was unimaginable to share personal content on LinkedIn. But times have changed. More and more professionals, including consultants, regularly share personal content on LinkedIn.
The reason is obvious: it is THE way to share unique stories and showcase your values: storytelling!
Some top of the mind examples:
- This inspiring post by storytelling coach Ash Rathod.
- This personal story by senior consultant Loes Janssen.
Tip: make sure your content is fun and attractive for your buyer persona, use smileys and hashtags (but don’t exaggerate) and tag people from your network, when relevant.
However, don’t make it too personal. Sharing that you baked cookies today is a bridge too far and inappropriate for a platform like LinkedIn.
In addition, you should mind that your content is relevant for LinkedIn. In other words, you have to talk about something that is directly or indirectly associated to your professional activities.
Need assistance with your social media presence for personal branding? The coaches from Willow are specialized in this! You can find more information on this page.