As a leader, the strength of your profile is critical. It can impact the level of trust in your ability, new opportunities for your organisation and also your future career prospects.

In the past it was possible to let your track record speak for itself but in today’s noisy landscape many leaders are recognising they need to let their voices to be heard and have a strong profile.

One area where your profile is starting to weigh heavily is online, particularly in channels like social media. We’ve seen many leaders use social media effectively to promote their brands, views and profiles. However, there are still many in the business community who fail to see the relevance of this prevalent, powerful and personal medium.

Consumer expectations are changing. People now expect brands to not just be present on social media but be actively listening. The same goes for CEOs and leaders. There is considerable opportunity for leaders to use this platform to build their online profile in ways that can greatly benefit their organisation, their views and their career.

Here are 4 ways you can be better using social media to build a strong online profile.

  1. Develop a robust social media strategy

    Developing a comprehensive social media strategy will help you manage your online profile effectively, as well as ensure you are using the right platforms, engaging with your target audience and monitoring your accounts appropriately.

    No matter what social media platform you use, following these rules in your strategy will help you succeed:

    • Be focused

      It is important to define your niche and focus your social media activity there. Understand your target audience by looking into their demographics, behaviours and interests.

    • Be authentic

      Don’t view social media as a marketing platform, imagine you are talking to someone in real life. What would you say to them?

    • Be meaningful

      The content you publish must be useful and meaningful to your target audience or they will not read or engage with it.

    • Be aware

      Listen to the conversations happening on social media about your business and your industry. You will be amazed at the insights it will bring.

  2. Pick the right social media platforms

    When starting out on social media, select one platform that is the most appropriate for your business. As you become more familiar with social media, start integrating other platforms.

    Major platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can be an excellent place to start. However, the most important thing to consider is which social networks your target audience is using. LinkedIn for example, is an excellent platform for B2B leaders wishing to build contacts and generate sales leads.

  3. Create conversations

    Social media allows you to exchange ideas and form relationships with your target audience. Posting unique and interesting content, instead of blasting promotional messages to users, will establish a strong reputation for you and your business.

    If you are running out of ideas for content, some helpful tips include:

    • Put your followers first

      People love posts they can identify with, such as the approaching weekend or holiday plans.

    • Tell your success stories

      Success stories are interesting to read, and clearly demonstrate the value you can offer. Also ask your customers for feedback and testimonials.

    • Share news and events updates

      Sharing current industry news and events will demonstrate you are a leader in your field.

    • Behind the scenes

      Let your audience see what happens behind the scenes of your business to showcase your brand and let people know you.

  4. Start blogging

    Having a blog will build your profile as an industry expert and leader. Blogs are all about sharing useful information with your clients and customers, which will also attract more traffic to your site.

    Blogs are extremely easy to start up and use, making them an ideal platform for your business to publish quality and interesting content.

    What you write is up to you, but try to spark discussion and share experiences, ideas and relevant information. To build traffic, read other blogs and comment on them so that it links back to your own blog.

Social media has become part of the fabric of society and offers many opportunities for savvy leaders to build profile, create a platform, and have a voice in the wider business community. Dismissing social media as a fad for young people or those with too much time on their hands could be a dangerous move, especially if your competition is already using it to win over your audience.