Much like a large company, individuals can also harness the power of their personal brand. This idea is an extension of your personality, but filtered into a way that engages others. Your brand is personal and appealing, and convinces others to not only trust you, but turn to you for answers. Social media influencer is becoming a real profession. A study published by the Digital Marketing Institute found that nearly 50% of consumers rely on influencer recommendations before a purchase.
Even if you’re not selling anything, you can think critically about how you’re presenting yourself to the world. Here are some helpful tips for getting started on a personal brand.
- Find Out What Your Brand Already Looks Like
Not every aspect of your brand is completely within your control. It’s becoming quite natural to Google others and find out what information exists on them. If you’re developing your personal brand, you ought to be doing the same. Do some deep dives online and find out what information is already out there.
For instance, you might have an old social media profile or blog that you’ve since abandoned. If you can find this data, then anyone can. Be sure to scrub the web of anything unsavory or personal you’re not comfortable having people know. Remember, your brand is public-facing!
- Be Credible and Authentic
Personal branding should be about speaking from the heart. You want individuals to not only enjoy your content, but to trust it. If you’re reposting a ton of content from other personal brands or being untrue to yourself, others will notice it. In fact, you may consider asking followers and friends for some insight.
Maureen Cunningham, of Up Until Now Inc, recently said, “Others can often see your unique value better than you can. What is the truest version of the best you and of what you offer?”
Whether you’re speaking to people in public or online, be genuine. Don’t try to sell yourself too hard or pat yourself on the back. Be friendly and congenial, while also thinking about what value your brand has to offer. Are you someone who shares a more serious tone and information, such as news and political insights? Perhaps you’re more of a jokester and want to engage with others by being the life of the party. Whatever feels most honest to yourself will likely resonate with others.
- Build Up Relationships with Others Personal Brands
No person is an island. When it comes to personal branding, it’s a tremendous help to be part of a community. If you’re using social media to build a personal identity, don’t be afraid to follow and repost other similar accounts. In fact, send them a message and try to develop a relationship with them.
So often we see our activities on the web as being anonymous. But with social media, everyone has a brand and these relationships can often be quite symbiotic. Ian Cleary of RazorSocial recently said in an interview with Forbes that, “I didn’t think about what influencers could do for me; I thought about what I could do for them. I promoted their books, shared their content and commented on their blogs.”
If you’re working on branding “IRL,” approach in the same way. Go to conferences and expos, or even local meetups and focus on getting to know your peers. There’s already a common thread of you both being at the same event, so simply be yourself and work to find other similarities. Also, don’t be afraid to follow up with these individuals after you’ve met them. Fostering and developing those relationships can be a huge help to both yourself and the other person. At the very least, you may end up with a new friend in the process.
Generating a brand shouldn’t be a foreign concept. Ever since you started engaging with the world from a young age, you’ve likely been trying to carve out an identity. This process is extremely human and when we attempt to build brands for our companies or personal lives, others will recognize and empathize. Be sure to stay genuine, connect with an audience, and stay aware of what you’re saying and how you’re saying it.