National Review’s Ericka Andersen shared her advice on using social media to create a personal brand.
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Ericka Andersen, a social media and communications guru, is the digital director for National Review. A mother of one currently living just outside the Washington, D.C., area, she also runs a popular lifestyle, running, and food blog. Andersen spoke to journalism students Tuesday, March 1 about having a social media presence and creating a personal brand online.
Why is social media branding important?
Social media branding is important because it distinguishes you from others in your field. It helps you gain a reputation for your work. It’s great for networking and creating foundational relationships for whatever it is you want to do in the future.
How do you get more followers, and how does that change across different platforms?
There are different strategies to get more followers, depending on what platform you’re talking about. The way you get valuable followers is to start engaging in the community. You can’t look at social media as a chore or something to check off your list. You have to start loving social media as something you really actually enjoy doing; you actually get to know people for who they are — it’s not just part of a business plan.
How do you stay consistent across platforms without simply repackaging the same content for different outlets?
Well, you do repackage the same content in different ways. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel for every separate thing, but there’s going to be different ways to promote on different mediums.
What is the best way to compose a tweet to get maximum feedback?
Don’t make it too long. You want to keep it so that it’s something that someone can read very quickly. Obviously, people are speeding through people, and the minute that it seems like it’s too complicated to read or understand, they’re just going to skip it. So something that is simple, something quick, and something with an image attached to it. You want to use a hashtag. Depending on what you’re tweeting about, make sure you’re using the appropriate hashtag. Sometimes it’s appropriate to say “retweet if you agree.” Giving someone a call to action is always a good practice because sometimes people are just waiting to do something. They won’t do it on their own, but if they see you ask for it, they will.
How important are photos for posts?
I try not to put up anything without a photo. Most of my tweets for National Review have a photo. Tweets with photos get way more engagement, just because they catch your eye. You have to pick out a good photo, a relevant photo, and you have to think about what’s going to capture someone’s attention. Having a photo is really important.
Why is it important to engage with your audience?
People want to know that you’re listening. People are going to respond to you much better when they know that you’re there, when they know that you care what they’re saying, when they know that you’re taking them seriously. If you’re just tweeting away without awareness of who else is there, you’re not personable.
What are some ways that you can engage in your community?
Just responding. Responding to tweets, responding to comments, responding to questions. On a daily basis, make sure that you’re going through and answering any questions. I need to do a better job of that on Instagram because I always forget about comments. Another way is to make sure you’re asking people questions, make sure you’re actually getting their feedback. Take a poll. Sometime you don’t even realize you’re missing something or that there’s a big demand for something unless you ask. Asking those questions and just paying attention to what your demographic is doing online.
What are three tips for someone trying to build their personal brand?
Make sure you have your foundational social media profiles and they’re branded the same across all. Have a website, preferably something with your name in it. Make a list of people that are doing a good job of their own branding in the field that you’re wanting to be branded in and just study them and emulate some of the things that they’re doing.