How To Grow Your Personal Brand Online
Guest Blogger Mate Borka: “Mate spent the last three years working marketing part-time and ran his own agency for 6 months. He specialises in Social Media, Branding and Facebook Ads and also does photography mainly focusing on food and landscape imagery.”
What is a personal brand?
Personal branding is the idea of marketing yourself as an individual so that people in your community, whether offline or online, build a specific image of you, ultimately leading to the establishment of an audience.
The main advantage of having a personal brand is the opportunity to harness the power of this group or audience to achieve certain goals: Do you want a new job? Would you like to be promoted? Do you want to establish yourself as a successful business person?
Often entrepreneurs and professionals do not realise the importance of their online presence. The images, articles and about you pages tell your story, and you should pay attention to what you publish and how you publish them.
A personal brand is the foundation of a long-term relationship between you and your audience. Whether they are your customers, students, colleagues or even potential employers, it is essential to have an established image that gives an authentic representation of yourself from a professional standpoint. It is also one of the best ways to connect with people if you are trying to put your message out there.
Everyone has a personal brand even if you don’t know it.
People know certain facts and hold certain opinions and about you, and these all make up your personal brand. Breaking this down, there are three layers to anyone’s personal brand:
- Who you are and what you do
- Things that you are known for (great at football, the one that is the always competing)
- What feelings or ideas you are associated with (Goofy or professional, laid-back or serious, formal or informal)
Your goal is to shape and form this brand so people will perceive you the way you would like to be seen.
Who Is Your Audience?
Understanding who you want to target is the difference between delivering your message successfully and failing to do so.
Once you have decided what your goal is, you can start reverse engineering the type of people you are trying to reach. Are they business owners, athletes or even something specific like single mums in their early thirties? Knowing who these people are and what they like, where they work and what they are doing in their free time are crucially important.
Content, Content, Content
After researching your potential followers, you need to create content for them. This is something that you need to take care with and approach with a serious and professional attitude.
There is no way to work around this; you need to keep it consistent otherwise people will go elsewhere. There are some personal brands which have six people on the content team, and they post four times a day only on Instagram! That is not necessarily something that you can keep up with if you are doing the creative on your own, but try to publish as much content as you can as frequently as possible.
There are three types of content:
Are you great in front of a camera? Video is your way to go!
You have the best radio voice on Earth, and you are dying to speak to the world? Consider the idea of a podcast!
Your writings skills are competing with J. K Rowling? Start a blog or write a book!
Find the platform most suited to you or mix it up and use more than one.
Which Online Platforms Should You Use To Create And Grow A Personal Brand?
Now you are asking how you can do all this, and the internet is your best friend in this scenario. In today’s digital world, where everyone is using their smart devices, everything comes down to the attention you can grab and the engagement you can get from your audience. Distribution is the third fundamental element of growing a personal brand.
To break down what we have covered so far:
Audience -> Content -> Distribution
So Where Do You Distribute?
Social media is the best place to start. However, keep in mind that every platform has a unique style and framework and your content will have to be native to them. Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn may all be great options for your brand if you understand the distribution guidelines of these channels. You could even sign up for a digital skills course to help improve your digital knowledge.
Having a great website can also come in handy if you are trying to display your portfolio or tell your audience more about yourself in a professional manner.
If you were thinking about producing some audio content, I would recommend starting a podcast. More and more people have begun to listen to podcasts, and you definitely do not want to miss out if you know how to put a show on!
Dos & Don’ts Of Having A Personal Brand
Don’t forget that the content that you are posting is for your audience and not for you. I implore you not to treat likes and views as vanity metrics. You should care more about what your audience has to say about you and your content instead of the number of followers you have.
If you have a business or you are an influencer, you should never hard sell. We are in 2018 and customers are smart, do not try to talk them into anything. Provide some value first, and after you have delivered, you can go back and ask them to do something for you.
Keep your content consistent and maintain quality. You should never get into the habit of posting for the sake of posting!
Finally, never neglect your audience. Keep the engagement up by responding to their messages and reply to their comments!
Now that you’ve learned a little bit about what personal branding is and how you can grow it online, it is time to explore the avenues of content and reach out to people. Doing is the first step!