How to build your leadership brand through social media

2 minute read

Your personal brand enhances your value but don't fall into the trap of making it all about you and your career. It should be about adding value to others, and social media is your engine


MS Rao

Create your personal brand through social media

"Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room" 

Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon

Several leaders have built their leadership brands within a short span by leveraging social media. Their sole objective is to add value to others by sharing their expertise, ideas and insights. Brand building is their by-product. Adding value to others through knowledge sharing is their end product. They work for satisfaction, not for recognition. 

The power of social media

You can build your leadership brand on social media cost-effectively. You can sit at home in front of your laptop or desktop or smartphone to post what you strongly believe in. It only takes your time and energy to add value and brand yourself.

When you post something on social media, people are judging you. There must be congruence between your words and deeds. Hence, be careful about what you post on social media. It is okay to share what you stand for. But it is advisable not to post on religion and politics to avoid controversies.

There is no shortcut to success on social media. It requires lots of passion, patience and perseverance to impact and influence others. You cannot make your presence felt overnight. You must become a farmer rather than a hunter to build trust and create goodwill in your audiences. You must have a sound strategy and effective execution to succeed. There must be consistency between your vision and mission and your words and deeds. When you follow these basic principles, you can build your leadership brand on social media successfully.

Six steps to consider before building your leadership brand

Leadership brand is outward focused. In this high-tech world, social media has become mandatory to build your leadership brand. Here are some steps to consider before building your brand:

  1. Identify your core strengths, skills and abilities
  2. Identify out your core values
  3. Ask your trusted people to identify your competencies and capabilities
  4. Decide what you would like to be remembered for
  5. Be consistent and add value regularly
  6. Take feedback to modify your leadership brand but don’t dilute your brand at the core.

Five steps to build your leadership brand according to Dave Ulrich

Leading HR academics Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood suggest five steps to building your personal leadership brand:

  1. Determine the results you want to achieve in the next year
  2. Decide what you wish to be known for;
  3. Define your identity
  4. Construct your leadership brand statement and test it
  5. Make your brand identity real.

Tools and techniques to build your leadership brand

Here are some tools and techniques to build your leadership brand on social media successfully:

  1. Ensure you have the professional profile picture that is used across your social networks
  2. Join relevant professional communities and influencers
  3. Concentrate on one or two appropriate social media platforms and spread to other platforms gradually
  4. Stick to a proper posting frequency for your social media platforms
  5. Create an engaging content. Don’t post crappy and boring content
  6. Include visual images in your posts, as a picture is worth one thousand words
  7. Stand out from others by posting a unique, interesting and inspiring content. Don’t post for the sake of posting to avoid losing your existing connections
  8. Adopt the four-step formula of strategising, optimising, socialising and monetising social media

Seven-fold methodology to strengthen your brand

Focus on your core areas and share your expertise. Don’t enter unknown areas. Be a domain expert and improve your area by adding value regularly and sharing knowledge with others. 

  1. Be clear about your branding objectives and craft them accordingly.
  2. List the marketing objectives.
  3. Design a viable and feasible marketing strategy.
  4. Craft your content objectives.
  5. Create your own content strategy.
  6. Adopt the proper content tactics. Follow the road less travelled to stand out from others.
  7. Be aware of content metrics. Remember, what is measured will be tangible

People can easily identify whether you are a hunter or a farmer. Build your image on social media as a farmer and planter of ideas. To grow on social media, plant seeds and keep adding value regularly. It is rightly said that knowing and not doing is equal to not knowing. Don’t be a reading junky. Take action to make your presence felt on social media to build your leadership brand and add value to others.

Social media is the engine while your content is the fuel to run the engine. Hence, pump quality fuel by posting quality content to run the engine to reach the destination of building your leadership brand. Enjoy the journey of your leadership than the destination of your leadership branding.


Professor MS Rao is an international leadership guru and father of ‘Soft Leadership. His new book Soft Leadership: An Innovative Leadership Style is out in 2018

There is no shortcut to success on social media. It requires lots of passion, patience and perseverance to impact and influence others

Enjoyed this story?
Sign up for our newsletter here.