How to Build a Personal Brand (and Why You Need One)
A couple of years ago, social media sites were a great source of entertainment and a means of connecting with friends.
In recent years, however, social media has become a haven for marketing, sales, and networking (i.e. making connections with like-minded people).
If your work is in any way related to digital marketing, your presence on social media sites is a necessity.
In a previous post, I wrote about the social media sites on which an online marketer should have a presence.
Today I will be sharing tips that will help you to improve your personal brand on these sites.
One of the most common statements I hear from fellow bloggers or young entrepreneurs is:
- “I want my brand to be visible… not me”.
In other words, they want to enhance their company’s visibility rather than their own personal visibility.
Here is my take on that idea:
- You are your company. If you are growing, your company is growing. If your company is growing, you are growing as well.
- Moreover, social media sites are all about networking – making real connections rather than just having thousands of people on your friend’s list or in your circle.
If you are among those who are leery of going public, or if you are an introvert who is afraid of having a strong online presence, you have to release that mindset.
Accept and understand the significance of your social media presence.
If you fall into the other category of online users who have profiles on all major social media networks, but those profiles are idle and of no useful consequence for your business, this post will help you to understand how you can:
- Improve your personal brand.
- Make those sites work for you.
Even if you don’t like to publish updates or tweet countless time a day, this article will help.
How To Begin With Personal Branding On Social Media Platforms:
Before I share my list, here is one thing that you should know:
- Not having a profile at all is better than having an incomplete profile or a profile containing misinformation.
Your profile is the beginning of your personal branding process. Take time to create that profile in such a way that it will serve you well for a long time to come.
Here are a few ideas to get you started with the task of creating your profile:
- First, take out a notepad and write a seductive introduction telling readers who you are.
Try to keep it short and concise. Ensure that people can understand you, see your personality through your words, and clearly understand what you have to offer.
- Passionate about adventure sports
- Occasional motivational speaker
- Loves internet marketing
- Full-time blogger
Here are some example bios/profiles from some of the users I enjoy on Twitter:
The intros/profiles above are great for Twitter profiles, but when you are writing your “About” section on another platform like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google Plus, you have more space and you should spice it up with more details.
You can keep it personal or make it professional, depending on your personality and your goals.
Ultimately you should do two things:
- Show your best and most interesting side.
- Leave an impression that causes people to remember you.
- Would you remember the same kind of bio that you are used to seeing on hundreds of other profiles?
Be remarkable and be unique!
Let’s get started building your own personal brand:
If you have not yet picked the right image for your profile picture, let’s begin there.
Work on getting the best “mug-shot” type picture of yourself and keep it handy on your desktop with a name like “profile photo” so that you can access it to use as necessary.
One reason for using a good strong image of yourself (or your brand) is the fact that people have greater recollection based on images. This is instant brand recognition when they see an update from someone on their social media timeline.
A rule of thumb here is to use the same image across all platforms in an effort to strengthen and enhance your personal brand and presence.
If you are using various different images, it will be much harder (and much less likely) for you and your brand to be remembered.
- Imagine that you have spoken to me on Facebook. I then speak to you on Twitter, but I am using some other image. You’ve already associated me and/or my brand with the first image. When you see the second, different image, are you likely to know that this is the same brand? Are you likely to associate me with the brand you saw on Facebook?
Remember: Most people who work online talk to and connect with many people on any given day. Your goal is to leave them with such a clear visual impression that they can instantly recall you at a later time.
Now that you have your bio and images ready, it’s time to follow the tips below to get the most out of your social media presence.
Make a list of social-media sites where you need to be
There are endless sites where you can establish an online presence, but there are only a few sites where you need to be active at least once a day.
For example, I have my profile on sites such as:
But I am not active on those sites.
However, I am very active on sites like:
- Google Plus
It is best to have your presence available, updated, and active on all major sites.
Establish a unique handle for use across all platforms
Just as it is important to have a unique and memorable image across all platforms, it is equally important to have a unique handle across all social media platforms that you use.
For instance, you can find me with the handle @UCQQPQYnu2iGrkU48aOYcLKw or @MetroVideos.Net on every major social media platform.
You can use an online tool called KnowEm to check the availability of usernames you might like to use. This tool will check the availability of that username on all major social media platforms. (This process will also help you to discover a long list of social media and bookmarking sites where you can create your online profile.)
If you are a busy person with no time to do this yourself, you can hire a freelancer or simply use the KnowEm Pro service to create your social media profile.
- My suggestion is to do it yourself. In 1-2 hours, you will be creating your (and your brand’s) digital presence for the rest of your life. You know best what kind of impression you want to leave and what kind of presence you want to maintain for the long term.
Here is a list of sites where I suggest you establish a username and build your presence. (If you are a blogger, some of these sites will help you to grab some good links, too!)
Social Media Sites:
- Google Plus
There are many more, and depending upon the niche you are in, you may wish to choose a few more from this extensive list.
Recap: Your first steps for personal branding are:
- Complete your profile.
- Reflect your personality with your bio.
- Establish your image.
- Establish your username.
- Begin building your presence on the major social media sites.
People you should follow
Indeed, this strategy works great when you want to see big numbers on your social media profile, but in my opinion, it is not worth your time.
All of these social media profiles offer a way for others to follow your work.
For example, on Facebook, there is a “subscribe” feature that is remarkable and way more useful than just adding random people you don’t even know and might never meet in real life.
Adding too many people with whom you have no kinship and no relationship will only serve to make your timeline overcrowded. You will miss out on making real connections with like-minded people, which of course is the goal of your social media presence in the first place!
I am guilty of having made this mistake in the past, and based on my experience:
- I highly recommend you avoid it.
Quality checks start from day one, and if you continue to maintain the quality of your presence with consistent monitoring, you will have a far better and cleaner online footprint in the future.
Don’t make the same mistake I made and the same mistake many social media experts are making. If your work is remarkable, people will automatically follow you.
Two things to do:
- Put the right subscription buttons in the right places.
- Maintain the quality of your online presence.
That said, if you are a blogger and a regular reader wants to connect with you, you can make an exception.
Do remember that entrepreneurship is all about doing what you believe is right, and living what you are preaching.
Here is an eye-opening quote from Warren buffet, which you should read and apply:
So — you have built your online presence and you are ready to create a personal brand.
Now it’s time to spice up your branding.
Tips to help you take your personal brand to the next level:
Talk about trending topics in your niche
Whatever niche you are in, always talk about the trending topics in that niche.
Give your personal voice to articles you are sharing.
Add more value with your expert opinion (and/or the expert opinions of others). If you consistently write about a particular topic over the long term, you will come to be seen as an expert in that area. And since you are one of the people who is seen to have expertise where that topic is concerned, your opinion and insight will matter.
Self-promotion vs. care for others
One of the most common mistakes most young bloggers and entrepreneurs make is obsessive self-promotion.
Your social media profile is the best way to set yourself apart as an industry expert, but that will only happen when you help others.
If you constantly promote your articles and never promote the work of others by sharing their articles, you are likely to be left out when other social media experts have the opportunity to share your work.
Remember, your social media profile is all about creating meaningful connections.
When sharing anything on social media:
- Maintain a ratio of 30:70
- 30: promoting others
Talk about your achievements
When you do something new or achieve something special (such as receiving an award, an endorsement, a special mention, etc.) share that on your social media platforms.
People who are connected to you will hear about your achievements and this will have a ripple effect as they pass the good word of your achievements along.
Don’t be shy about sharing your achievements or your good fortune, but take care in how you share this type of information. If you come across like some egocentric jerk, you will not be well received.
However, a humble person’s achievements provoke joy, congratulations, and encouragement.
Have a personal blog
If you are a blogger, ensure that you have a personal blog where you can talk about anything that interests you. Most of the time, we limit ourselves to the niche of our professional blog.
But having a personal blog gives you the space for whatever you want to write about. This is one tried-and-tested method which works very well for most of the popular infopreneurs I know. It is something you should focus on as well as part of the brand you are building.
You can check out my personal blog: UCQQPQYnu2iGrkU48aOYcLKw.com. Here I write my thoughts on a variety of topics.
A few more tips
- Remember that personal branding is not a one-shot deal – it’s a continuous process.
- With time, your strategy and ideas will evolve and change, so modify and enhance accordingly.
- Pay special attention to people who care about you on social media and especially in your personal life.
- Take advantage of social media tools like Bufferapp and Hootsuite to help in achieving your personal branding goals.
- Always remember that your ideas are unique, so don’t be shy about sharing them with others who may benefit from hearing or reading them.
- Stay away from social media conflicts. This is very important. Do not waste your precious time inserting yourself where you don’t belong.
- When sharing status updates on any social media platform, take advantage of hashtags. This will help other like-minded people to discover and connect with you.
The future of marketing is changing, and brands are looking to reach out to customers via influential people in the field. This is the right time for you to become an influential person in your industry, and to enjoy the benefits of that status.
If you have any other tips for personal online branding, do let me know via the comment section below.
Don’t forget to share this article with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus!