After all, your LinkedIn profile is where practically everyone goes to check you out if they’re considering doing business with you in any way, shape or form.
If you have a few presentations uploaded to SlideShare, a few dozen posts published on a blog and a few hundred followers on Twitter, even better.
Using social media to showcase your background, skills, talent and expertise is a no-brainer.
But the benefits of personal branding on social media aren’t limited to the owner of that brand only.
Everyone around those who are prevalent and popular online, the “corporate all-stars” of the business world, as Edelman’s Steve Rubel so astutely labelled them in 2009, enjoys the fruits of their labor, from direct reports to supervisors, colleagues to clients, partners to employers.
How? Here’s how. Here are 10 ways a personal brand on social media works to the advantage of the corporate brand behind it and is a win-win for everyone involved.
1. ReachA small company may not have a big audience on social media, but it may have a handful of people among its ranks with their own extensive networks.
Riding employees’ coattails makes sense if they can help get the word out to a broader, perhaps even better, audience. Like a good ripple effect, the more help brands can get from the people who work for them, the further and faster their messages will travel.
2. Thought LeadershipSocial media makes it possible for almost anyone to establish themselves as a renowned expert. All you need is the time, talent and tenacity. Write a blog post. Record a video. Comment here, there and everywhere.
Leaders within an organization should be leaders in their industry. From a selfish standpoint, that may be how to ascend the corporate ladder, but that’s also how to generously increase the visibility and credibility of the corporate brand behind you.
3. EducationAnyone who spends more than a modicum of time on social media knows what a treasure trove of educational resources can be found there.
Never mind attending conferences and signing up for webinars. Log in to this channel or that one and boom, you’re privy to all the news and information that’s fit to share. Social media is a living, breathing education on demand, and more often than not it’s on the house.
4. CamaraderieImagine having access to a circle of like-minded professionals, connections you can count on to keep you up to date and in the know, wherever you are, whenever you want. That’s social media.
People may not pick up the phone when you call or respond to your email, but if you mention them in a tweet or tag them on Facebook, suddenly you have their attention.
That’s influence. That’s clout. That’s a big benefit to both personal and corporate brands.
5. Social proofPeople are more likely to trust and support other like-minded people, not distant, impersonal corporate logos and brands.
When you earn likes, shares and comments as an employee, not only does it go a long way toward establishing a great reputation for your own personal brand, it benefits the corporate brand behind you.
Your influence and authority on social media reflects positively on the products and services you represent and can be used by those who employ you.
6. InspirationWe all know the importance of keeping team members properly inspired. While often employers can’t afford to send their people to conferences and industry events, they can easily permit, if not encourage, employees to spend time on social media, listening, learning, reading and writing.
Regular exposure to such resources goes a long way toward enabling and empowering people to go above and beyond in their work on behalf of the brands they represent.
7. ScalabilityIf practice makes perfect, social media is the place to go to hone your skills in the areas of writing, networking, research, thought leadership and branding.
For the individual practitioner, work done with these tools and technologies can lead to something more valuable to the brand he or she represents.
Status updates can result in potential new customers and clients. Blog posts can be turned into white papers. Time spent on Twitter can yield new findings, data, insights and connections that are ripe to be taken advantage of at an enterprise level.
8. AccountabilityThose who are active on social media for business reasons are invariably those who are passionate about their jobs, careers and professions. They are bold, brave, outgoing and engaging, people who are blessed with the qualities associated with leaders, accountable to their respective roles and responsibilities.
After all, like speakers, writers, artists, athletes, performers and entertainers, they’re putting their reputations on the line every time they share something with others.
Their activities are both public and permanent, so they had better know what they’re doing or else they’re subject to criticism.
9. NetworkingThey don’t call it social media for nothing. The more active you are on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and the like, the more connections you’ll amass.
Yes, those so-called “corporate all-stars” Steve Rubel referred to have legions of followers, people who can help not just themselves, but the brands they represent.
Unless a corporate brand is a household name or a celebrity of some type, it takes a lot of time to build a large, engaged audience. Those with strong personal brands can help their employers get there more quickly by providing access to their own networks and triggering engagement among their constituencies.
10. AuthenticityEven if you are well-known for one reason or another, a corporate logo will only get you so far along the path to long-standing, mutually beneficial relationships with your audience members. The trust factor looms large on social media.
That’s where a good personal brand enters the picture. Employers can draft behind their employee ambassadors in order to win over new followers and fans, people who will give them much more attention if only due to their confidence in their friends.
The bottom line is that it takes a village to come out ahead on social media. Both personal and corporate brands should take great pains to work together and to realize that we’re talking about a collaborative activity, not one that exists in a silo.
It pays for employers to not just activate their employees on these channels, but to join them in the conversation.
by Bob Cargill, Director of Social Media at Overdrive Interactive