Who should have a personal brand? The chief executive officer of a global business? Should a small mom-and-pop café owner have a personal brand? How about a stay-at-home mother? The truth is that they all should think about sculpting their own personal brands. Some people have started to develop their own social media brands without realizing it. If you are on social media, you have a personal brand. Period. The faster people accept this the faster they can enhance the power of social media to build a strong following that supports their work and goals. The images, videos and words you publish on social media platforms are your online persona, and it is one large part of the way you present yourself to the world. Have you taken an inventory of your online social media persona lately? There are a number of ways that you can enhance your online presence today:
First, the best way to build your brand is to become more intentional with the actions you take on your social media platforms. Social media has given thought leaders unbelievable opportunities to grow and develop loyal followers that can support their projects, businesses and brands. Unfortunately, social media also gives people opportunities to over-share and make fools of themselves if they are not careful. Decide today to become more intentional about the content you share online. Understand that all of the posts, updates, videos, livestreams, off-color jokes, retweets are reflections of your values and interests. You have to also be conscious of the personalities, companies and influencers you follow or like online, since your online behavior may be tracked by your own followers.
Second, another great way to build your brand is to decide to define your niche audience and competitors. What is it that you know better than everyone else? Perhaps you are a business owner who knows one local market very well. Make it your goal to communicate your niche knowledge on your personal and business social media channels. Share posts related to your niche. Also, take the time to complete an assessment of your competition, if you are a business owner. What kinds of posts, videos or photos are your competitors sharing online? What are they doing differently that you can adopt?
Third, get organized and do some spring cleaning on social media! Conduct a scan of all of your social media, website profiles and search results to make sure that your online personas align appropriately. Go back through previously-posted items to see if they align with your brand. Check to make sure that the messaging you use is consistent. If you are presenting yourself as a thought leader in the education industry, for example, it may hurt your brand in some way to have online photos of yourself drinking alcohol at an after-hours event.
To build a personal brand, of course, you need to have a strong sense of your values and goals, but you also need to have one additional component: you must be a little bit brave. By building a brand, you are sharing your values with the public and making yourself visible and accessible to the public. It is not an easy task. However, with persistence and regular posting online, you can build a following of brand evangelists who support your work.