IT influencers use their credibility to promote themselves, boost their careers and inspire others to engage with technology. If you’re looking to stand out in the tech industry, branding yourself as an IT influencer via social media is a powerful way to do it.
Here’s how you can get started.
Start by getting social.
If you want to be an online IT influencer, you'll first need to set up your social media accounts. Consider LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as your primary platforms, but if you don’t have time to manage five (or more) social media accounts, focus on one or two. LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as YouTube if you plan to produce videos, are platforms that lend themselves to more professional and technical content and thought leadership. Unite your social media brand by creating similar usernames or handles on each platforms. Reference your other accounts in every bio, so followers can add you.
Take a step back.
Once you’ve set up your accounts, figure out what you want to be known for and then adapt your skills, experience and interests to fit it. Do you want to be an expert on an emerging technology? The IT pro with the largest professional network? People do their research before they become commit to your feeds. Build credibility and a firm digital footprint to convince them that you're worth following.
In addition, look at your social media accounts through the eyes of employers and peers. Would they want to follow you? Would they be comfortable with the information you’re sharing and the image you're projecting? Are you adding value to the tech conversations that are happening? Make sure your brand image is current, yet professional, so that it appeals to a variety of people in the IT industry and doesn’t jeopardize your career or put the company you work for in an uncomfortable position.
Plan your next moves.
Consistency is key when building a social media presence, which is why it’s important to create an editorial calendar. Preparing posts for every platform before publishing ensures professionalism and a consistent brand image. Using a calendar helps keep track of what you’re promoting on each social media platform.
Not sure how to start a calendar? You can either find products that provide editorial calendar services or simply use an Excel spreadsheet. Insert a "Platform" column, a “Photo” column, “Date to Post” column, and a “Caption” column, so you’re prepped for easy postings. Remember: Followers expect different things from different social media platforms so plan your content to cater to the correct crowd. Try to plan two weeks in advance, so you never feel stressed to make a deadline. Keep in mind: Not every social media platform needs to be updated seven days a week. A LinkedIn post could take place twice a week, a YouTube video only once, and Twitter once a day. That is why the editorial calendar comes in handy to provide professional, timely content for your followers.
Set Yourself Apart.
To gain (and keep) your social media following, it is crucial to show your knowledge of the industry. If people see that you are intelligent, then they will want to learn from you. Broaden your audience and boost your credibility by taking your knowledge offline: Volunteer to speak at IT vendor fairs demonstrates your authority on the subject. Post photos of yourself on stage and include snippets of your speech. If public speaking scares you, try writing, podcasting or vlogging. These also demonstrate your subject matter expertise without having to stand on a stage.
Join the conversation.
After you’ve created your editorial calendar, it’s time to follow through. Join conversations on different platforms that allow you to share your advice. Be sure to stay current with trends in the IT industry so you’re prepared with insight. Use hashtags relevant to the conversation and your brand. Creating your own hashtag and adding it to every post makes something unique to you and provides a way for followers to find your content across platforms. And no matter what, always publish. You’ve made a promise to your followers that you will give them genuine, timely content. Follow through on that deadline because even if you only have five followers because those five followers still have the power to share your name with their own following.
As you grow your online following, you should grow your offline professional network, too. Find your local CompTIA AITP chapter, attend the meetings and events, and get involved. While you’re at the CompTIA AITP events, capture those moments for future social media posts and real-time stories. Getting out and about in the world will also allow your brand to get exposure and help you build credibility. As you meet and mingle with other industry experts, take pictures with them and ask the questions you know your followers would like the answers to. Tag them on social and give them a shout out to continue strengthening those relationships. The more people you meet, the more connections you make for the future.