Last month, as a keynote speaker at CSC’s 2015 Conference, I spoke to an audience of teachers on how to harness the power of social media to build their own personal brand. Although their students are active on social, they had yet to really maximize their own potential to expand and share their knowledge. With Facebook now reaching 1.4 billion users worldwide, Twitter 288 million and LinkedIn 347 million the possibilities are endless no matter your age or profession. Below are a few tips to help you harness the power of social media:

Start by defining your area of expertise. Many find this one difficult. Start with your profession and work from there. You may have many interests. The goal is to try to narrow it down to one thing first and expand from there.

Choose what social platforms you will focus your energies on. Determine who your audience is. Is it fellow teachers or professors or maybe researchers? Discover where your potential audience spends their time on social and establish your presence there. Do not try to be on every social platform. It will dilute your efforts and leave you stressed out trying to manage all your profiles. Start with one or two.

Create new profiles or update your existing profiles. Reinvention is the name of the game here. If you already have profiles, re-engineer them to focus on your expertise. You can do that by updating your profile or by sharing content. If you are just starting out, explore the social landscape within your industry first. Follow influencers to learn how they interact, how often they share and what types of content they share.

Start by sharing content. Share content in your industry that you find interesting. If you find it interesting, others will as well. Get into the habit of doing so daily or every other day until you feel comfortable with it.

Spot trends and start trends. Look for interesting conversations, challenges or solutions that you can share on social from your everyday experiences related to your area of focus. That’s trend spotting. Overtime, this will create buzz. Eventually, you will want to also share your own points of views and experiences either through blogging, publishing on LinkedIn, Medium or in industry publications.

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