Paul Nazareth is a philanthropic adviser with The Bank of Nova Scotia by day and a networking and social media expert by night. His latter identity has been established as a result of his efforts over the past several years to build a personal brand that includes a blog and significant presence on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Mr. Nazareth regularly speaks – on his own time – at conferences across the country on networking and social media. Scotiabank sees that as a plus and encourages his side passion so he can apply what he learns at work. He has even been asked to present internally at the bank's staff gatherings and educational sessions.
Gone are the days when your personal brand is defined by what you do for a living. Whether you're looking to position yourself as a subject matter expert in a particular area or you're a full-time employee with a side passion, building a personal brand today is at your fingertips, thanks to social media.
Here are four tips to help you manage your personal brand while keeping a nine-to-five job.
1. Focus on a niche
Pick your niche and build your online presence around it. For example, if you're a fundraiser, blog and post about challenges and best practices in the non-profit sector. Sure, you can still tweet about what you've had for lunch, but keep most of your postings relevant to your area of expertise. Consistency across all social media platforms is key in order to position yourself as a thought leader and attract a targeted audience.
2. Learn the art of writing for the Web
From blog postings to tweets, writing is key to generating good content. Draw on your personal experience as material for your postings. Organize your articles into concise segments and stick to short paragraphs and sentences. Start with questions to grab the readers' attention, include teasers and share your two cents. Contribute articles to high-traffic sites to quickly earn credibility and increase your number of social media followers.
3. Have a conversation with your boss
Be clear with your employer about your online persona. Your company might see it as a benefit to their business as Scotiabank did with Mr. Nazareth. But, be respectful of company time and attend to your online activities outside work hours.
As well, get acquainted with your company's social media policy and make sure you're not breaking any rules. Keep in mind that you represent your company at all times, even when you include the 'opinions are my own' disclaimer on your Twitter profile. A quick search on LinkedIn or Google will immediately identify your employer.
4. Work smart, not hard
Make a small but regular time commitment to maintain your personal brand. Fifteen minutes a day goes a long way on social media. Take advantage of any down time – get on Twitter while taking transit to work or check LinkedIn on your lunch break.
Use social media management tools, such as Hootsuite or Buffer (and there are many others), to schedule your postings to appear during peak traffic times to maximize exposure. On Twitter, traffic is highest at 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday through Thursday; on LinkedIn high traffic times are 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday. Mr. Nazareth, for example, allocates time every night to schedule postings for the next day. He uses an egg timer to control his time online. When the timer goes off, he knows his social media time for the day is up.