The Four Things You Need to Know Before Building Your Personal Brand
Yesterday I was looking through some of my old journals that I had pulled down from the top of my bookshelf. I ran my fingers across the words and tried to imagine what I would have been doing while I wrote them. I am always wary of getting sucked into my own self-curiosity because it fascinates me into distraction; it’s funny, the way we were isn’t always who we’ve become, and yet, to some degree it is. As you move forward into one season or another it’s easy to forget the parts of yourself that preceded who you’ve worked so hard to become.
Anyway, as I was skimming the pages of my journals, I gasped when I saw an entire section dedicated to personal branding! I had written a vivid description of how I wanted my brand to feel, what I wanted it to accomplish for me, and how I was going to make it happen. This excerpt was dated at a time when I knew very little about business and marketing. So what intrigued me the most about this was my desire to have a meaningful online presence. Even then, years before I write this to you now, I had an inclination that our personal social media presence would be important. I knew it would have the ability to generate opportunities, shape perception, and ultimately define how we want to be known by the world.
I stumbled into my career as a personal brand strategist and I learned how to build my personal brand through trial and error. My strategy is something I have had to develop carefully over time. However, given the chance to do it all again, here are the four things I would’ve nailed down before I started building my personal brand:
The first thing I ask prospective clients is, “what’s the vision you have for your personal brand?” think carefully about the kind of person you imagine yourself to be in five years.
What do you see?
What are you wearing?
Where are you working?
Who are your people?
Your personal brand has the ability to impact and change the trajectory of both your personal and professional life.
So try to visualize the best version of yourself. At times, it may be difficult to put this vision into words, that’s okay, use your imagination. Dream up realistic scenarios that could, in fact, come true with the right strategy and plan in place.
This is arguably the most important step you must take before building your personal brand. Your vision MUST be rooted in a purpose. If your goal is to reach 20k followers by the end of the year, but you have no real reason for why people would follow you, you won’t get very far. People have a hard time connecting with others who don’t seem to have a clearly defined purpose for their online presence.
It’s extremely important to ask yourself these tough questions first:
WHY do I want to build my personal brand?
What’s my WHY for posting on Instagram?
WHY would people want to pay attention to my posts on LinkedIn?
Your “why” is a lot like your mission statement. A mission statement can act as a pillar for your personal brand; it will ground your work in purpose, attract the right audience, and give you a sense of meaning and significance. It can also act as your guiding light when you’re having difficulty determining your next steps.
If you find yourself in moments of doubt, confusion, or disarray, you can always revert back to your why. This will keep you on course and help you make smart decisions for your brand and business.
Once you have established where you want to go and why you want to go there, it becomes much easier to share a clear and concise message. What will you share with people? The most important thing to remember is that whatever your message may be, it must be consistent. Stick to one important centralized theme and key message. and With the right strategy, your message will spread like wildfire.
Now, keep in mind, you may sound differently on Facebook and Instagram then you do on LinkedIn. Each platform requires a different style of content. However, that doesn’t mean your message has to change, it just means your delivery does.
For example, I may share a picture of myself on Instagram that feels casual and reveals what my lifestyle is like; it will probably have a caption that details my latest thoughts on entrepreneurship and personal branding. But I’d still like to repurpose this content for other channels like LinkedIn. So, before posting to LinkedIn, I’ll select a different photo, clean up some of the language that feels a bit too casual, remove the emojis 🤪, and tailor the SAME message for a more professional audience on LinkedIn. My message is always the same, it’s just important to adapt to whatever social environment you are posting content in.
Okay, now you’ve got your vision, you know your “why,” and you understand the importance of sticking to a centralized theme and message. Now, it’s time to develop a strategy.
The first thing you must consider when forming a strategy is which style of content you want to produce. Will you write articles? Will you film videos? Will you record podcasts? Will you do all of the above? If you can do all of the above, my hat is off to you and I encourage you to move forward in this approach! Do EVERYTHING in your power to share your message and build a solid community!
If you’re not sure where to begin, start small. I want you to play up to your strengths! If you’re an excellent writer, then you should start sharing your expertise through blog posts. If you’re funny and charismatic, then I recommend putting yourself in front of the video camera. Have you got a good eye? Share gorgeous photos with thoughtful captions.
Great personal branding requires a good level of self-awareness, it asks us to look inward and identify our strengths and weaknesses. Your strategy will be a direct reflection of who you are, what you like to do, and what you’re exceptionally good it.
If you found this article helpful, be sure to share it with your friends! Are we friends on LinkedIn yet? Say hello!