Through the years, personal branding has emerged as a perfect way to establish credibility and authority in the digital landscape. More than ever, people now realize that branding is no longer restricted to celebrities and businesses. Today, it has shifted to a personal level. Every individual, whether they are associated with a business or not, can work towards developing a strong personal brand image to keep their audience engaged and interested.
Regardless, many still don’t understand that personal branding is not only about creating and following marketing strategies. It is even more about knowing “who” you are, “what” you want to achieve, and “how” you do this in your own way.
If you want to uncover, convey, and manage your personal brand but it sounds like quite a large task, read this guide. By following these 7 steps, you will learn how to build a powerful personal brand that attracts the right audience and opens up opportunities that would have passed you by.
1. Stick to your identity
One of the most important steps of building up your personal brand is to uncover your personality and find a unique style. This is going to be the distinctive feature of your image, regardless of the content type you create and the social media platforms you are active on. Keep in mind that finding this style is a gradual process that won’t happen overnight.
Also, remember that once you develop your distinctive style, moving away from it is hardly ever a smart idea.
Another thing to pay attention to is not to make a mistake of trying to be someone else and sharing values that you don’t relate with. Your brand identity should really reflect your personality. Whether you are funny, revolutionist, or tender, stay true to yourself.
Let’s look at Lady Gaga, whose personal brand makes her audience feel accepted, understood, and a part of something important. With all her content and social media activity, she says to the world: “Love yourself, free yourself, be whoever you want to be.”
source: Lady Gaga’s account
When working on your brand identity, consider these three things:
- Every piece of your content should let people know exactly who you are and what you do. Ideally, they should understand immediately how you can help them achieve what they want.
- People often choose to do business with those who are similar to them on an emotional level. That’s why it is important to provide them with the reason why you do what you do and what you stand for.
- Come up with one phrase that will be associated with you and help you touch others’ hearts. For example, you are likely to recognize the phrase “Just do it!” as Nike’s slogan.
Learn more about brand identity here.
2. Focus on the right social network
Every social network has its own audience. And each user has their own expectations for the content they want to see on the platform. If you choose to post the same things in each and every network, you might be wasting a lot of time. Content that went well on Facebook may perform much worse on Instagram.
Since every social media is different, we want to cover the five most used platforms separately. So what to post on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn?
Most Instagramers are youth and teenagers that appreciate aesthetic quality in posts. So, high-resolution images and video content will be a perfect choice here. Don’t limit yourself to selfies. There are lots of other ideas to choose from. You can post product photos, show behind-the-scenes in Instagram stories, repost user-generated content, and much more. If you don’t have the time and resources to take photos yourself, you can always use photo stock websites.
Let’s look at the following example. This is an Instagram account of a top NY photographer from Ukraine.
Considering the fact that weddings are usually associated with beautiful pictures of a groom and bride, and there are many young people present on Instagram, such a choice of a social platform makes a lot of sense.
source: Ivash’s account
Basically, Facebook works well for versatile audiences. Both freelancers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, young, and older people have profiles on this platform. Here, you can share your news, updates, blog posts and repost other high-quality content from third-party pages and websites. Mix educational and entertaining posts.
Video and live video have also proven to be the best types of content on this social media platform. For instance, according to statistics, video content has a higher average engagement than pictures and links on Facebook.
In the example below, you can see a profile of an influential athlete Josef Rakich. He does have a YouTube channel too, but since he mostly focuses on short videos, Facebook works better for him (361K YouTube subscribers vs. 3.2M followers on Facebook).
source: Josef Rakich’s account
YouTube is another huge search engine. You can find here literally everything: tutorials, DIYs, breakfast ideas, opinion videos, product reviews, room tours, gameplays, recipes, Q&As, and more. If you are wondering what to upload on YouTube as a business, we have a few ideas. Consider creating brand videos showcasing your product/service and your core values, educational & how-to videos, lives with influencers and thought leaders in your niche, video testimonials from your customers, etc.
Let’s look at Sadia Badei with her brand called Pick Up Limes. Being a professional dietician with a passion for vegan cooking, she utilizes all benefits of YouTube to build her personal brand and spread the word about veganism. Currently, she has over 3M subscribers on her channel.
source: Pick Up Limes channel
Since LinkedIn is mostly used by professionals, the most suitable content for this networking platform is job listings and career information. However, there are lots of communities where people exchange their experiences and valuable information (such as research, industry news, etc.).
This is a professional platform where users talk about business, so, to get engagement, you need to help people improve something in their area. You can share methods that you used to reach something specific, tell about your favorite tools that helped you achieve something, share a story from your life (for instance, “How I grew my blog from 0 to 10K in 2 months,” and so on).
Look at Neil Patel. Every marketer knows him as a top influencer on the web. On his LinkedIn, he is continuously sharing valuable content growing his brand.
source: Neil Patel’s account
Like Instagram, Pinterest is a visual platform. So beautiful pictures are the best thing to post here. However, unlike Instagram, images on Pinterest are mostly vertical. This layout makes the platform work well for vertical images and infographics.
source: Anh Co Tran’s account
3. Optimize your profile information
Make it as easy as possible for your audience to find you and interact with your content on social media. This means choosing a recognizable username, uploading a nice profile picture (ideally, your picture on all of your social media channels should be the same), writing a clear and informative bio, and including a compelling call to action are vital.
If we look at Neil Patel’s Facebook account, we will notice that he took the time to properly organize his profile information. Neil uses his real name that is simple, recognizable, and easy to find. Along with all the important contact details, he provided an informative and intriguing bio that makes people want to follow him. On top of that, he uses the same profile picture on all social media as a part of his personal branding strategy making it easy to recognize him.
source: Neil Patel’s account
Another great example is Maddie Lymburner with her Instagram project “Madfit.” The fitness trainer filled in all the essential information such as her area of expertise, name, a link to her personal account, and a call to action “Workout with me.” Furthermore, she has an attractive profile picture and a lot of highlights such as “Inspiration,” “Home workout,” “30-day challenge,” etc. This gives Instagram users a clear idea of who she is and what they will get if they follow her.
source: Maddie Lymburner’s account
4. Create a consistent brand experience
Try to replicate the style across all of your social media channels. Use the same tone while creating your content. Furthermore, pay attention to vocabulary, punctuation, formatting style, fonts, color palette, etc. Keep them as uniform as possible throughout all your social media and different posts. This should help your followers associate this style with you and help build a consistent brand image.
When you look at the example below, you can see that the blogger chose three main colors as her brand colors. Those are pink, white, and light green. She uses these colors consistently throughout a website and all her social media platforms. On top of that, she often appears in her videos wearing these colors.
Her background images, Instagram highlights, website buttons, logos, eBook covers are all on-brand as well.
A profile photo is the same on every social media channel.
source: Madeleine Olivia’s accounts
5. Publish valuable content
Before you start creating any content, think about why anyone would want to interact with it. If you provide value, people engage easier. Bear in mind that the content you create must be worthy of being acted on. It has to resolve a particular issue, improve your reader’s life or make something better. If it can’t do any of these, no one will care about it. The value you provide could be humor, some insights, or even knowledge about what fruits are the best to buy depending on a season. It’s all up to your area of expertise and passion.
Here are several things to consider:
- Do your research. Firstly, you will be able to find out what interests your audience the most. Secondly, you probably know that people trust numbers and facts. If you don’t know where to start, check Udemy and Amazon (books section). These are the places where people go to pay for knowledge. Look at the courses and books’ contents to see what topics you can cover.
- Evoke emotion. Content that evokes emotional reactions is more likely to catch people’s attention. Such emotions include happiness, anger, wonder, anxiety, sadness, and more.
- Share practically useful tips. Content that is useful in a practical way has high chances of being acted on.
- Work on headlines. While your topic itself is super important, your headline can make or break how your content does. Use a specific number in your title (if it makes sense), add brackets, put the most important information first. For example, “25 amazing free SEO tools (updated in 2020).”
- Use visuals but not too many. Images can make your content much more compelling. However, if you feel that photos don’t match your content, you can always consider using infographics, diagrams, or screenshots. Below are examples of practically useful tips and headlines that can make your content go viral.
source: Brian Dean’s channel
6. Grow your brand awareness
Your personal brand will have little influence if you don’t gather a loyal fanbase around you. To grow faster, you can do the following:
Invest in ads
Today, it’s hard to imagine social media marketing without paid promotion. It can make more people aware of your brand, your products or services and result in generating much profit. So, you can set your budget and refine your target audience, so your ad only gets seen by a specific group of people. Start with small investments and see if you get a decent ROI (return on investment) and if conversations about your brand become more common on the web. The goal is to get people used to your personal brand image, so they remember what you do and how they can benefit from it.
Find partnership opportunities
Try to recall your high school days when relationships often solidified your place in the social hierarchy.
If you became a friend of someone in the “popular” crowd, you were in. Others started to treat you with much respect as ever before. It also works like that in business. If people see that you are associated with other famous individuals or companies, your personal brand looks stronger in their eyes. That’s why companies often put the names of their well-known customers on their websites as social proof.
You can find these partnership opportunities by attending events, being active in social media groups, speaking at niche forums & conferences, guest blogging on niche websites, getting interviewed on podcasts & videos, co-creating content with influencers in your space.
Promote via email
Although many of your customers and prospects hang out on social media, they don’t always see all your posts. When it comes to content promotion, email crushes social media. So even if you heard that email was dead, know that it isn’t. Not even close. Every time you send an email, you have an excellent opportunity to grow your brand.
When you post something new, you can send out a little plain-text newsletter to your email list to let people know that they can go already to your website or social media and enjoy your new content.
Pro tip: We recommend you to get the most out of email and benefit from your email signature. In addition to your photo, logo, and contact details, you can also incorporate social media links into your signature. But don’t just include a link; optimize the signature for clicks. Add a call to action button that compels recipients to check out what you offer. See the example of using email signatures for branding below.
Check out our Email Signature Guide to learn how to promote your personal brand through email communication.
7. Learn to love data
Six essential personal branding tips are behind. And many people stop here, but there is one vital thing you can’t ignore if you want to grow and succeed – analytics. It’s important to track and monitor social media metrics because they can show how successful your campaign is.
Every social network has its own analytics for you to dive into. For example, for Facebook, it’s the Insights tab. On YouTube, you navigate to YouTube Analytics. When it comes to Instagram and Pinterest, you will need to switch to business accounts before you can access your data.
Let’s take Instagram statistics as an example to learn how to analyze some basic metrics.
You can view insights from your profile in the Instagram app by tapping the “Insights” button.
Image 1: Accounts reached
These insights display the number of unique Instagram users that have seen your content at least once.
Note that reach is different from impressions. The last may include multiple views of your posts, stories, IGTV video by the same accounts.
Account activity measures the number of actions that took place on your account (profile visits, website taps, email/ text button taps).
Image 2: Content Interactions
This section displays the number of your post, story, and IGTV content interactions. Statistics include the number of likes, comments, saves, shares, and stories replies.
Image 3: Follower Breakdown
On this page, you can see the number of users that followed you minus the number of accounts that unfollowed you. On top of that, here you can find the age distribution of your followers, location, gender, and their most active times (days, hours).
These are just basic insights. You can dive deeper and explore statistics for individual posts or stories. For example, you can find out how many people see your content and where they find it (hashtags, homepage, etc.), how many users started following you after seeing your specific post/story, how many shared your post/story, how many tapped the sticker, and so on.
Analyze your metrics on a consistent basis and track your progress toward the goals you set previously. The goals may include brand awareness, content distribution, lead generation, and more.
So, if your goal was to increase brand awareness, then potential metrics to keep an eye on can be the reach of your social media posts to see how many users you reach each day/week/month; followers count – to find out if your content is relevant for the selected target audience; mentions and shares – to see how many users are talking about your brand or sharing your content with others.
There is no doubt that social media platforms can and do allow us to build personal brands that result in greater professional opportunities. In this guide, we share with you seven essential steps that will help.
Just to sum it all up:
Step 1: Stick to your identity. Be who you are;
Step 2: Find your platform of influence (in can be more than one platform, but you do need a dominant space);
Step 3: Optimize your profile information. People should immediately understand who you are, what you do, and how you can help;
Step 4: Replicate your style across all of your social media channels;
Step 5: Provide the kind of value that will keep your followers loyal to you;
Step 6: Grow brand awareness (paid promotions, cooperations with other influencers, etc.);
Step 7: Learn to analyze your data to be able to adjust your personal social media strategy for better results.