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Network in progress: Building a social media brand using a well-defined strategy

May 4, 2011

In venturing into social media, it is very easy to get overwhelmed by the massive amounts of users, data and visuals that are seemingly impossible to organize or keep track of when joining a social media website such as Twitter, Facebook or Youtube.

For example, my foray into social media has taught me a few things: imagining the “what if” scenarios of what could happen while “jumping right in” to social media without a clear vision can hinder your progress. I’m a senior in college, and  I find that imagining the scenarios of career options and networking in a cut-throat economy, even online, is something that could keep me up at night- not simply because I tend to stress out about tiny things.

It’s easier to imagine in small, doable increments on the principle that I know myself, or at least an idea of myself, with a greater cause of building a helpful brand and network online which will then guide my path to success.

To avoid the hindrances of “falling down the rabbit hole” so to speak when plunging into social media, a well-defined strategy can help organize a brand to become more accessible to a future audience of followers.

This strategy should include a few things:

1.) A passion for the subject matter at hand. When linking to an article through Twitter or Facebook, I ask myself: “Why am I linking to this article? Do I enjoy this subject, or is it something I feel that I have to do in order to be noticed?” The clarity of the answer (or unclarity to be defined) will lead to a more concise vision of your brand and your audience.

2.) Knowledge of the types of audiences that your social media platform could reach. As I stated before, knowing myself or at least an idea of my personal and career goals has helped to identify my interests and what I’d like my social brand to reflect. Through identifying my social media brand with my interests in public relations, I have found that it is easier to imagine the audiences that I can reach with the content that I create through social media.

3.) Goals in establishing a social media brand. Before leaping into social media, it is also beneficial to visualize your personal goals or the goals of your client or organization that a social media brand can help. For example, my professional brand would reflect my skillsets and interests in public relations while also communicating with other like-minded individuals from whose example I can learn.

In crafting a strategy from these three concepts, some deep personal reflection might be in order. However, never fear that the original strategy might change along the way- simply adapt from it with your goals in mind to invite the growth of your brand.

Now structure your social media strategy with your goals, passions and audience in mind. This strategy should be measurable at a certain time frame, however this time frame will only reflect the success of the tactics you have tried and any changes that should be made based on the knowledge gained in the process.

To give you an idea of a comprehensive social media strategy (from someone who is currently pursuing this idea in my social media class), here is a summarized overview of my strategy in building my  brand in public relations:

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