Sally Smith and Samantha Doe are two current (hypothetical) local titleholders competing for a state title. Both of these titleholders are active in their use of social media, but neither have very strong titleholder branding. Although fancy “branding” with personal fonts and a custom color scheme and logo are not necessary, it is important for titleholders to strengthen their use of social media as they transition from social use and public figure use.
A recent graduate of High School, Sally Smith is ready to take on the world. She has been dancing since grade school, but her senior recital was last week and she doesn’t know where she’ll be able to dance again. She is only going to community college, but it is still expensive, and she plans to transfer. Sally was president of her High School’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Club, and wonders if there will be leadership opportunities and community service clubs at her college.
Sally sees a flyer for Miss Local Title and decides to sign up. What can it hurt? She’ll be able to dance, potentially win scholarship, and gain a community service network. Plus, she paid way too much for that slinky black prom dress to stay retired in the back of her closet.
Sally competes, and to her surprise she wins! She now has just a few shot months to prepare for Miss State. Once the initial shock wears off, and Sally finishes “liking” all 106 “Congratulations” posts on her feed, she decides to start a public Facebook page. It’s a great idea. She can share updates with her preparations and appearances, invite the community to her events, solicit advertisements and sponsors… There is no adverse reason not to!
Sally competes at Miss State. She doesn’t win, but the pageant bug has bitten hard. The following year, Sally competes again. She may not win her first pageant of the season, but she secures a title. The year after that, Sally wins a third title. She is improving, gaining credibility and recognition in the community, and taking strides with her platform. But what Sally is failing to do is maintain a strong social brand.
Each year she wins a local title, Sally makes a new Facebook public page and invites her fans to like it. Many transfer over, but some do not. All posts, updates, sponsor shoutouts, and pictures stay behind in the Facebook from the year before. When Sally approaches a designer to potentially sponsor her evening gown, the designer does not know “Miss City”, and when she looks at Sally’s Miss City Facebook page and there are only 208 followers, she may not be interested in sponsoring.
But this designer, and other sponsors, may have heard of Sally Smith, local titleholder. Even without connecting herself to a specific title, Sally would have been able to market herself as a community leader.
Samantha Doe is ecstatic to have won the title of Miss Heart of State. She can’t wait to put her feet to the pavement and promote her personal platform. She already has multiple social media accounts set up for her personal use, and doesn’t want to lose any followers by starting a new one.
She starts a public Facebook name with the title “Miss Heart of State 2015”
She starts a blog to follow her journey to Miss State. She calls this Sam’s Journey to Miss State, and chooses a url to reflect that.
She changes her twitter handle to reflect her new title @SamDoeHofS, but her Instagram handle remains @SamDoeSelfies
Her email is SammyDoe@Email.com
When designing her business cards, Samantha types all of these social media accounts out across the back with a “Follow Me to Miss State” banner.
Both Sally and Samantha have good intentions. They want to use social media to promote their titles. But based on the scenarios above, neither will get the best use of social media!
Five Tips for Titleholder Branding – Strengthening Social Media
- There is no such thing as a “Personal Account”
- Even if you add security settings, you are now a public figure. Clean up your personal accounts. Delete compromising photos, use proper spelling and grammar. If a judge saw your personal account, would they still choose you?
- Create a Public Figure Facebook page, to representYOU- Not your Title
- First and foremost, you are promoting you. Your local organization probably has a page already to promote the organization. Set up a page that can grow with you, during different titles and after you age out.
- Consistent Handles
- Don’t feel limited by your @FirstNameLastName. You still have freedom to be creative, and integrate your job, state or hometown, Platform, etc. Also: If you go by a nickname, don’t use your full name. That’s not who you are.
- Alternatives: MissFirstnameLastname, Firstname321 (AreaCode or zip code), FirstnameMLT (MLT= MissLocalTitle)
- Avoid: TheRealFirstnameLastname (Do you have imitators?)
- Use Hashtags
- Develop 3 consistent hashtags to use in every post. Consider a generic hashtag for every post (#MissTitle), one for every platform post (#Platform), a hashtag for state prep (#RoadToMissState), and a hashtag for community service (#MissTitleServes). You don’t have to follow these templates, but make sure you use the same hashtags consistently! #MissTitle and #MissTitle2015 will not pull up the same page, and therefore is not strong branding.
- Give credit where credit is due
- This is more than “shouting out” sponsors. Take pictures with these sponsors. Take pictures at events, and mention the organizer. Thank everyone who helps you along your way, and be sure to tag their official page. Not only will this increase your interaction in the community, but by tagging these other groups you are driving traffic between pages. Pictures are easily shared, and if shared by a group with a larger fan base, your page can benefit as well.