In my last post, I talked about the biggest benefits of using social media for your business. This post coincided, rather ironically, with my finding a Man Repeller article called “Is Building a ‘Personal Brand’ Embarrassing?”.
The article discussed an important question: if social media is the new resume, is using social media self-promotion attention-seeking and embarrassing? The consensus from those surveyed for the article seemed to be “no”. In fact, Max Stein, founder and managing director of Brigade brought up an excellent point: building a personal brand is not a new trend.
“Before social media, it was just called your reputation,” [Stein] said. “It was about making and managing good relationships.”
Social media is the new reputation – the new way to get noticed, get references, and get our feet in figurative doors. So what is the best way to go about building a personal brand that attracts all of these things? Let me give you a few suggestions...
Share Your Work
The best (and easiest) way to build your personal brand is to showcase your work.
For service-based skills showcase your designs, photographs, style, etc. Share your excitement when you finish a project you’re proud of. Let your audience know when you post a new blog post. Share any relevant milestones and accomplishments. And, if you have them, share testimonials – this is a great chance to let others do the complimenting for you (which is great for those who might be hesitant to self-promote).
For brands with physical products, you can definitely do all of the above. But you also have an added benefit: you can share pictures of your products in use. Take your own stock photos to use in promotional posts or (if you ask permission) use photos sourced from people using your products.
This is a chance for your successes to shine, so take advantage of it!
Share Your Personality
Your aesthetic is important, but your unique value is even more so. Think about what sets you apart from the crowd. Do you specialize in working with certain types of clients? Do you have a particular aesthetic that resonates with you? Do you have a favorite color you can show off? Do you have a catchphrase you like to use? Are you particularly passionate about certain topics?
When I interviewed Lauren Hooker (of Elle & Company fame) earlier this year, she discussed a time where she attended a conference and met someone who gave her the highest praise she felt she could ever receive: “you are exactly like I thought you would be”.
Your personal brand is a way for people to get to know you before they ever have an actual conversation with you. Ideally, you want people to get the same impression from your online presence as they would from meeting you in person.
If that means pink sparkles and flowery language, go for it. If you swear like a sailor, own it (but make it purposeful not mindless). Remember, this is your chance to be you-nique.
Share Without Shame
Going back to the Man Repeller article, I feel like Natalie Zfat said it best:
“We’re taught from an early age that it’s not natural to toot our own horns,” [Zfat] explained. We’re taught that it’s not polite to focus too heavily on ourselves or speak to our strengths in a way that might be viewed as self-centered. But personal branding is not a bad thing. There’s a lot of value in it […] You want to reach a wide audience to get your name out there.”
There will be people who won’t want to jump on your bandwagon, but that’s okay. Not everyone will want to sign up for your email list. Not everyone will want to stay on your email list. That’s okay.
I’m going to say it louder for the people in the back: it’s okay if people don’t like you.
The people who relate to you will stick around and happily consume/interact with your content, while the people who don’t will move on to someone else. That means having a more engaged following (which is way better than a big number with nothing to back it up).
Be proud of who you are and be proud of what you do. Share it like you’re shouting your successes from the mountain tops; don’t let anyone take your voice from you.
At the end of the day, personal branding is meant to be your form of self-expression. Let your star shine, let your freak flag fly, and most importantly, have fun!
How can you showcase your unique personal brand online? What sets you apart from the crowd? Let me know in the comments!