Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram are critical to personal branding. They offer the perfect means to showcase your unique qualities, skills, and values to a global audience. Simply put, if you don’t have an online presence, you risk losing market share to company leaders who do.
First impressions are particularly impactful in the professional world. Developing a strong executive profile on social media can be a game changer for leaders looking to build their reputations and make a lasting impact. It will also add credibility to their thought leadership claims.
Also, people want to do business with those they feel they know, like and trust – building a solid social media presence based on personal connection can help to achieve this. Showcasing your values and personality demonstrates a human side, driving appeal among potential customers. Execs with an interesting, values-driven profile can drive business benefit via social media, while those posting rehashed or canned content – like motivational quotes – often pull up short.
Personal branding should be ongoing and consistent. Leveraging social media – and other communication platforms such as blogging, speaking engagements or interviews – can help increase recognition for yourself or your company. This can ultimately lead to increased trust, more partnerships, and better customer engagement.
Google promotes experience, expertise, authority, and trust (EEAT) as important things to consider if you want your content to rank in its index.
These are concepts that Google introduced via its search quality rater guidelines: authors earn trust by demonstrating experience, expertise, and authority.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what each term means:
Experience: when evaluating content, Google takes the writer’s first-hand experience on the topic at hand.
Expertise: refers to a content creator or website’s knowledge of and skill in a particular subject matter.
Authority: relates to the content creator or website’s credibility and influence in its niche or industry.
Trustworthiness: this relates to the content creator or website’s overall reliability and integrity, comprising qualities such as accuracy, transparency, and moral code.
A well-maintained social profile is a great way of demonstrating EEAT – especially if you’re using a network like LinkedIn which gives you lots of ways to demonstrate experience and expertise via dedicated sections for qualifications, certifications, work experience, recommendation etc.
Not all social media platforms are created equal. Each serves a different purpose, with some better suited for certain goals than others. Pick one that aligns with your target audience –where do the people you want to build a profile with hang out?
For example, for B2B executives, LinkedIn offers an excellent platform for sharing long-form content and establishing connections with potential partners and customers. It’s also not as fast-paced and time-intensive as Twitter. Find out all you need to know about building a solid profile in our rundown B2B LinkedIn: the essential guide.
However, since mobile usage continues to dominate, your LinkedIn content strategy shouldn’t just comprise 1,000-word thought leadership pieces. It must also make provision for mobile-friendly formats like images and videos. The latter, in particular, plays a crucial role in the B2B sales funnel, as 70% of buyers watch at least one video before purchasing a product or service.
Variety is key – a LinkedIn feed needs both long-form content and quick, easy-to-digest pieces to serve your niche audience.
It’s also important to note what you shouldn’t post. Since mid-2022, LinkedIn started giving users the option to see less political content, so it’s best to avoid this. The platform is also actively reducing low-quality content on the network, such as the excessive use of polls and posts that encourage users to engage via the like/reaction button to boost reach.
Twitter used to be a dark horse in the B2B marketing race. It followed closely behind LinkedIn as the second-largest social media platform for B2B marketing and appeals to a significant number of business decision-makers. Users of this platform are also older, more educated, and higher earners, which could well be the people you want to reach.
Unlike LinkedIn or Facebook, tweets must be short and sweet – traditionally 180 characters, but with a Twitter Blue account, you can write up to 10,000 characters to build an online presence.
However, there are limits: you can upload a maximum of four images per tweet and videos not exceeding two minutes and twenty seconds. Again, Twitter Blue premium subscribers have different limits, but the offering is continually being tweaked.
The other vital component of Twitter you need to be aware of is the hashtag. As the original home of the hashtag, Twitter is still one of the most effective platforms for generating hashtag traffic.
Hashtags help people find related content, making them a great tool to project expertise on trending topics or brand a specific campaign across channels. Yet, despite hashtags being a top B2B Twitter best practice, it’s easy to #overcook it. Check your selected hashtags to ensure they’re appropriate and relevant, then use them sparingly.
Remember, social media audiences want community, connection and authenticity. So, use straightforward language in your content that acknowledges their challenges and offers ways to tackle them.
Think from the outset about the tone of voice you want to have – authoritative, humorous, or challenging – and stick to it. Whatever you decide, be authentic. People can spot a fake from a mile away. Feel free to use emojis if they help communicate your message, and don’t be afraid to share personal stories and experiences. Be transparent about the obstacles you’ve faced and share the solutions that worked for you.
Establishing an authentic, respected online presence comes down to creating great B2B social content and is essential for building your executive profile and authority. It’s a long-term effort that requires consistency, especially to build trust, recognition, and influence.
Content that connects with your followers doesn’t have to be all bells and whistles – you don’t have to spend loads of time creating expertly designed guides, videos or images. But one key requirement to establish credibility is that the content must be genuine and insightful. Posts that help people understand a complex issue or solve a problem work really well, and content shot with a phone – either photographic or video – is excellent for demonstrating authenticity.
You’ll know which trends are making waves in your sector. It could be a new piece of landmark legislation being passed or something that’s been in the news. What does it mean for you and your clients? What advice or support do you have? How can you add to the story? Effective B2B social media content can simply be you expressing an expert opinion – filmed or written up – and publishing it on your social channels.
Being on social media is being part of a network of individuals with similar challenges, issues, and markets. Take inspiration from them, have conversations, and build useful content from your experience and expertise. Frequently asked questions are also a great source from which to generate content ideas.
How to stay active
One of the best ways to build your executive brand on social media is to be active. Your social media pages aren’t meant to be static – share content regularly and engage with your followers through comments, likes and shares.
Furthermore, identify and connect with other key industry thought leaders and influencers, including journalists. Explore opportunities for collaboration by reaching out to these individuals, sharing content, or even featuring/tagging them in your content. Engaging with them and sharing/expanding on their opinions is a great way to strengthen your reputation as a thought leader.
The more active you are, the more people will see and learn about you, and the more it will help build those all-important EEAT signals! The most important thing is regularity.
Building on research by LinkedIn expert Richard van der Blom, the Creativity and Innovation Network published some new recommendations concerning the LinkedIn algorithm.
Based on an analysis of 2,000 posts published in the app between February and March 2023, the advice is to post one to three posts per week with a minimum of 18 hours between posts.
Other key recommendations include:
Generate engagement within the first 90 minutes
Use a maximum of ten emojis per post, and no more than four per line
Text should be between 1,200 and 1,800 characters
Answer comments within 12 hours
Don’t change your post during the first ten minutes following publication
It is essential to measure your results so that you can track your progress and make necessary adjustments. LinkedIn offers a rich selection of analytics – sifting through them and adopting a trial-and-error approach will produce good results.
Start by using the data to review your posts at least once a month, both those that landed and those that didn’t. Try to log variables like format, type of information, time of day and day of the week that gets the most engagement on your page. This regular review will form the basis of your strategy.
Valuable LinkedIn stats to look at are average post engagement (reactions, shares and comments) and the number of site and direction clicks.
Be mindful that this process is ongoing, so don’t expect results overnight. Building momentum on social media takes time. Just keep a close eye on progress towards your end goals and the results will start rolling in.
Call on the experts
We live in a world where personal brands are starting to make a bigger difference in sales and marketing than company brands. But creating a social media presence that drives business results is daunting, so many businesses opt to call in the cavalry.
If you need help building your executive profile, get in touch. Our team can manage your online profile, develop your content, and coach you to make sure you’re recognised as an expert in your industry.
Our leadership branding programme, The Brand You, is tailored to help high-calibre business leaders, entrepreneurs, and directors create and leverage a brand to achieve their goals. Although it’s a standalone offering, we can integrate it into our B2B social media services.