Today I attended a luncheon focused on developing ones personal brand through social media. I am often asked some basic questions like "which networks should I join?", "who should I connect with?", "how can I stand out in my industry?", "how much time should I dedicate to social media each day or week?" and "how can my business use social media to grow?"
Networks: The big ones are Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn and YouTube, you can also have or contribute to a blog, utilize networks like Slideshare or create your own network on Ning. My advice is to think about your goals. If you're trying to market a consumer-oriented business usually Facebook is best, Twitter may also work. If you're trying to promote yourself and or a B2B product or service, LinkedIn, blogs and Twitter will likely be most effective.
Who to Connect With: Customers, potential customers, friends, family, colleagues, groups. Many people use LinkedIn for professional and Facebook for personal. I connect to all my people on all of my networks so they really get a true sense of who I am as a person because in the marketing business relationships are important.
How to Stand Out: Mostly just commit to being engaged. Post relevant and also fun information. Always be yourself but maintain a level of professionalism on all of your networks. Position yourself as an expert in your field.
How Much Time: As much as you can afford. Minimum of once or twice a day for social networks and once every week or so for blogs.
How Can it Help Your Business: create or strengthen your online brand, connect you to people so you can create relationships, promote your expertise and your products or services.
Hopefully this helps. It is very important to complete your profiles on all of your networks and to be actively engaged in conversations. If you have questions feel free to comment or contact me.