Evolving your personal brand on Facebook

Post up

As I write this, my son is taking his nap, my living room is epically covered in toys (can you say, toddlernado), I’m wearing a two-day-old tank top, and the idea of putting on makeup just makes me laugh. However, I wasn’t always a stay-at-home-mom (I guess I’m technically a work-at-home-mom, but anyway). I am also an entrepreneur.

For the past five years I’ve been doing social media for small businesses and marketing companies.

But before I put on my entrepreneur pants, I shared my ups and downs — dealing with the 2007 economic crash, struggling to find work as a college grad with an art degree, moving back in with my parents — on my Facebook page. My thoughts and experiences unfolded, one post at time, on Facebook. From bad grammar, to what I was having for breakfast, to life-changing moments — I’ve shared them all with the digital world I have created.

I’ve worked really hard to shape my online perception to be an accurate representation of my real world. While there are a few things I keep private, I try to be honest and fun without being narcissistic (which is harder than you think when you’re talking about yourself and your life.)

My online life is my brand. My job. My life. It is important for it to be honest, accurate and set up for success. I have used my profile to get business, grow my business, accomplish things and share milestones.

I can honestly say my Facebook Profile is the cornerstone of my business.

So, how did I do it? Lemme ‘splain.

Use your profile like a marketing campaign

Yep, you are a product and your timeline is your launching platform. Think about big brands, like Starbucks. They post regularly to share with their followers to stay relevant and interesting. Then, when it comes time to share a big announcement, everyone will be watching and engaging.

Share strategically (and with killer graphics). Here are some posting pointers for common scenarios:

You have some big news to share.

A few years ago I was looking to do more with my social media career. I’d been seeking the right opportunity for months before landing a job as a social media producer for the local CBS affiliate. I didn’t post about interviews and ask for prayers during my search. Why? It’s a risk to tease your audience with potential news that could go bust. They want to cheer for your victories, not pat you on the back along the way.

Share when the time is right — when you actually have something to share, not a maybe something will happen.

You want to share big news, without fielding a bunch of questions.

I shared milestones in my relationship with my husband — from our first date to planning our wedding — all over Facebook. But when a family dilemma made us alter our Pinterest-perfect wedding plans at the last minute, I hesitated to share the news. I knew that if I posted to my audience too far ahead of time they would bombard me with questions. Instead, I posted about our wedding date change the day before the big event. The sudden announcement of the change didn’t give time for people to ask a lot of questions, just to wish us congratulations.

You don’t have to post everything the moment something happens. Step back to think through what could happen when you post, so you can be strategic and give the best responses.

Your sharing priorities are changing.

For years I spent my time posting about networking, social media, my favorite activities and my love life. But in April 2014 my priorities did a 180 when I became a mother. My husband and I decided I would cut back on my social media business and focus on taking care of our son and our household. I made sure to tell my Facebook followers about this change, so they could make the decision to hide, unfriend or follow along for the ride.

Part of being “on brand” is being honest with your following and making sure they know what is up. Being honest (but tactful) will always win over your followers and keep you in a positive light.

Staying on brand

I’m known for being a geek. (Case in point: I met my husband at the N.E.R.D.S. Meetup group I started with my best friend, and we had a Disneyland engagement and a Mario Kart-themed wedding.) My geekiness is the heart of my personal brand and a consistent thread in posts that cover topics as far-ranging as social media marketing and mommyhood. It’s a very important part of who I am, how I relate to people, and what I post about.

Staying on brand lets your followers know both what to expect from you and how to interact with you. Be authentic and transparent — it will be your greatest asset in the Facebook world.

What not to do

Unless it fits with your work and your brand, I highly recommend you avoid doing these things on Facebook:

Get into debates. Whether it’s about inappropriate clothes on kids, politics or whatever, don’t debate. All you will be doing is feeding the trolls. Save the debates for your friends and family when you talk in person.

Post emotionally. We’ve all been there. You had a bad day, your boss was a jerk, your baby won’t stop crying. If you’re feeling too emotional to post professionally, don’t. It’s not a good idea to share your dirty laundry with the world.

Badmouth. While this activity also falls under posting emotionally, it also happens way more than it should. Just call your bestie and vent over a glass of wine — it will be way less damaging in the long run, and at least you got to drink.

Share first on Facebook. Every time something amazing happens, text or call the people who love you most first to share with them. At the end of the day, those people will always be there, not your Facebook friends.

Post stuff that makes you look bad. Would you want your grandmother to see this post? How about your boss? If the answer is no, then you probably want to put your phone down and make sure your privacy settings are set so people can’t tag you in those pictures or posts. Nothing will get you in more trouble than looking like a fool on your timeline.

Be a good Friend

Just like in real life, you need to cultivate relationships with your following. Pay attention to what others are posting, comment, like and share items you think will interest your followers. Doing so shows that you care about those online friendship and helps to ensure that your posts are getting viewed (you know Facebook algorithms and all).

A little tip for you mobile Facebook users: To see everything that is going on in your news feed, click the Profile tab on the right side, scroll down to Feeds, and click Most Recent. You’ll be able to see every post from every person and page you follow. This helps you be more engaging with your following and gives you more variety in your feed.

Growing your personal brand and business on Facebook doesn’t mean you have to be void of personality and fun. I have found that my unique flairs and shares make building my brand on Facebook more enjoyable for me and more entertaining for my followers. Just remember to keep it consistent, authentic and kind — and you’ll be well on your way to building your brand, one Facebook post at a time.