Who are you? What do you stand for?
What is your message? What is your voice?
What value do you bring to your audience? How can you help?
Why should your audience trust you?
Those are some of the questions that you ask yourself when defining your personal brand.
Personal Branding is an essential part of your business strategy.
It supports you in creating and building up your business.
It helps you in establishing a brand identity and online reputation.
Personal Branding focuses on you as an individual while establishing what sets you apart, in other words, what makes you unique.
It is a methodical process of building a presence (online and/or offline) that allows you to:
- Establish your identity.
- Establish your voice and message (authentic, clear and transparent).
- Build brand authority, by demonstrating your expertise and offering consistent value to your audience.
And how do you do that? What do you need to take into consideration?
For this post I will focus on the online aspect of Personal Branding, specifically Social Media.
Here are a few key points to consider when building a strategy around your personal brand:
USP (Unique Selling Proposition or Point)
Take a deep hard look and define the following:
- ‘Who am I’?
- ‘What sets me apart from others – the competition’?
- ‘What do I want to be known for’?
Differentiation is key so you should focus on the core aspect that makes you unique.
Leverage on what sets you apart and your area of expertise.
Establish Brand Authority (in other words recognition by your audience of the expertise and leadership you bring in your niche) and focus on offering value around it.
‘What is my message’? ‘What is my voice’?
This is a key aspect of Personal Branding as a clear and transparent message and authentic voice allows you to effectively convey your USP to your audience in a way that will make you identifiable.
Research your Target Audience
Once you have worked out what your USP is and have established your message and voice, you need to research your target audience.
- Analyze who your audience is (define their profile).
- Research where they can be found online (which social media platforms, communities, etc. do they frequent most, engage in, etc.).
- Determine key problems (a.k.a. pain points) and how your target audience can benefit from your expertise. How you help and support them. How you can be of service to your audience and the solution to their problems.
Content. It is what will “make you or brake you”. It will define you.
What do I mean?
Once you have established who your target audience is you need to put forth a strategy that involves getting your message across and delivering valuable, strategic content through different online platforms (ex. website, social media platforms, etc.) that will solidify your persona around your expertise and authority in your field, but also – and here is where the magic is – keep your audience interested, invested and engaged.
Content is your gateway to getting your message delivered to the right audience and for them to ‘hear’ what you have to say. It is through your content that your target audience will get to know you and through its value you can forge trust and build a lasting relationship with them.
One way to stand out is by using visual content which can be offered in different forms such as photos, data driven visuals (ex. charts), memes, infographics, dynamic images (GIF’s), videos, live streaming, etc.
Interactive content is being adopted more and more as it offers a more unique and engaging way of delivering your message to your audience and making a lasting impression.
As stated in this “The Ultimate List of Content Marketing Statistics” article via Cision:
“84 percent of people expect brands to provide content that entertains, tells stories, provides solutions, and creates experiences and events. (Meaningful Brands, 2017)”
HubSpot’s “The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics for 2018” article identifies that:
“Articles with an image once every 75-100 words got double the number of social shares than articles with fewer images.” (Buzzsumo, 2015)(Source: HubSpot)
Scott Langdon’s article “30 Content Marketing Statistics, Trends & Data for Your 2018 Strategy” highlights among many other points, that original content is key to the effectiveness of your content strategy and also emphasizes the increasing use of Social Media as a content delivery platform:
“87 percent of marketers use social media for content delivery.” (CMI)
It is important to publish high quality, relevant, strategic and valuable content which reflects what you are about (your message and voice) on a consistent basis. It will allow you to establish your brand as an authority in your niche, be a reliable source of information as well as be recognizable and memorable.
The power of engaging directly with your target audience is undeniable.
Social Media has opened the doors for people and businesses alike to have a wide reach, which means that your message and content is delivered to an exponentially larger audience than any other traditional marketing platform.
The above can be further amplified through strategic collaborations with key people in relevant industries, known as Influencers, which can help you spread your message to the right audience by broadening your reach.
As such, having the Social Media communication channel at your disposal offers you an opportunity for distribution of content. However, if you only use this medium to broadcast to your audience but do not engage with them your message basically will not be reinforced.
By that I mean that investing in genuine engagement and online presence allows for a deeper connection with your audience.
Otherwise, you will not be able to solidify relationships or nurture trust and your efforts will fall short and so will their memory of you. Let them know you are there.
In this Sprout Social “6 Social Media Trends That Will Take Over 2018” article by Alex York, he supports the importance and impact of increased direct engagement by brands with consumers by stating that:
“Brands are suddenly realizing the impact of social media engagement and creating lasting relationships instead of just treating social as a platform to advertise their products. It’s absolutely essential to keep your followers happy by providing a network where they can reach you. According to Instagram, at least 80% of its users already follow a brand on the network.”
(Source: Sprout Social)
Analysis and Monitoring
It is imperative that you monitor the effectiveness of your campaign(s), your content and engagement. You need to recognize the trends, best performing content, platforms that are rendering best outcome and ROI, etc.
This can be done through various available data analytics (insights) sources offered within each Social Media platform to help you understand content performance, as well as Google Analytics, different social media management tools (ex. Hootsuite, Buffer and others), etc.
In conclusion, the key to building a personal brand online is your authenticity, your authority (expertise), offering value and connecting with your audience.
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” Seth Godin
Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comment section!
Good vibes only and have a great day!
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That’s an excellent post, Natasha and I can relate to it completely. I am a firm believer of the concept of Personal Brand and Online Reputation being the critical aspects in overall business strategy for any individual in today’s digital world.
Thanks for the inspiration to put my thoughts on this topic – will share with you and others in the community very soon.
Manav, thank you so much for your feedback! I truly appreciate it!
I 100% agree, these are key points to the sucess of your business strategy!
Happy to hear that you will be writing about the topic and looking forward to reading it!! 😊