When you Google Sarah Kunst, the first thing that appears is her Twitter handle (@sarahkunst), followed by a rolodex of well-timed, hashtag-heavy shout-outs and stir-ups that, as far as Kunst is concerned, go a long way towards building her personal and professional brand.
Founder & CEO at Proday.co, Kunst has carved her way into the largely male dominated sports media industry and, with her “no mess, no fuss, let’s just get it done and be done with it” attitude, it’s easy to see why she’s been so successful, especially when it comes to branding her business.
DEFINE YOUR BRAND
“People should be able to hire you off your Twitter bio”
What does your business do and what are its values? Building a brand means being able to state succinctly what you’re all about, in under 140 characters. This same principle applies across all other social media platforms.
“People need to know who you are and what you do, ideally in a way that connects with your identity”
Identity, in this case, means your name, which should be plastered over everything you tweet, post, hashtag, etc. Kunst recommends using your first and last name, or as close as you can get to it, so followers can find you easily.
Twitter bio: “@sarahkunst - @prodayco founder. @marieclaire contributing editor. firstname.lastname@example.org #sportsmedia.”
LEGITIMIZE YOUR BRAND
Kunst recommends getting verified on social media wherever possible. What’s the benefit of getting verified? “People [will] take you seriously.” That little blue check mark next to your name on Twitter, for example, is a valuable source of authority that can set you apart from the average user, and legitimize your brand. It’s about building your relevance in your industry through a process of outward verification.
PICK A SIDE AND GENERATE MEANINGFUL CONTENT
It’s not difficult to post timely and relevant content. But it takes time, and you have to think outside of the box. Check out Forbes “100 Killer Ideas For Your Social Media Content” for ideas. If you find an interesting article that nobody is tweeting about, publish the link. Participate in relevant hashtags. And don’t be afraid to have an opinion, or what Kunst calls a “hot take” on a topic, even if it ruffles some feathers. Take the risk. Be edgy.
Posting regularly on social media is key.
“Put the Twitter app on your phone and just consistently tweet, even if you’re mainly retweeting”
Think about it as a positive feedback loop. Posting consistently helps you become a source of interesting content for people: they follow you, begin to see you as an industry expert, start to re-tweet you, and you get more followers. It’s a win-win.
GET INVOLVED IN THE CONVERSATIONS THAT MATTER
When asked how she built her own brand, Kunst replies, “I literally never shut up”
Make sure you’re talking to the people who care. Be visible. If you’re building your personal brand, it doesn’t have to be specific to your industry all the time. Just talk about things that interest you. If that happens to be indoor farming, so be it. Don’t be afraid to be human. If you start tweeting about the things you love in an intelligent way, people will respond.
Professional accounts are more limiting. The golden rule: be candid. If people are talking about it in the lunchroom, then you should be posting it on social media. When you connect the issues that really matter to your network, you seem authentic as a brand, grow a following, and grow respect in the field.
“Figure out the tone of your [social media]. Be honest and direct, in a way that makes sense for your company.”
LATHER, RINSE, REPEAT
“Social media content is quick to consume and quick to produce”
Start a weekly Twitter chat. Experiment to see what works and what doesn’t. Whatever does work, double down on that. Whatever doesn’t, you can always delete it later. The big takeaway here is that you have to just bite the bullet and start posting. Once you have some content, you can begin to measure your progress by signing up for specific analytics tools on various platforms.
Find the thing that makes sense for you, that’s sustainable, that gives you a growing trend line, and if you completely can’t do it… think about outsourcing”