Using Social Media to Build Your Personal Brand Just Got a Lot More Personal

Whether you want to or not, each time you post something under your or your company’s name, you are leaving a footprint in the sand. Think of all of the imprints you have left, do you want to be known by them?

In the age of digital footprints and constant online information, everything you put out on the internet contributes to your personal brand. You may have been told to “keep it classy” by past employers, or even signed a contract outlining proper social media etiquette. A distasteful or unprofessional post circulating cyberspace can cost potential connections, partnerships and even income. 

While social media can tarnish reputations, it also presents business professionals with ever growing opportunities to build a name and overall brand. With 90% of B2B customers finding brands by quickly Googling them, and B2B customers being twice as likely  to look into brands emphasizing personal values, personal branding remains vital to success.

What is a Personal Brand?

A personal brand combines your words and your actions into an overall presence. A lot of thought and strategy goes into forming an effective personal brand, similar to marketing goods or services. 

YOU are the product here, and your goal is to shape how others see you while maintaining your personal values. Branding yourself does not mean changing who you are to fit societal standards, but making decisions and communicating in line with your brand. 

Think of some of the most iconic public figures and how they made a name for themselves. Oprah Winfrey, for example, can omit her last name and simply be known by her first name, welcoming presence and giving heart. Oprah has used her brand to uplift others and promote authenticity.

Some icons show that professionalism does not have to equate to polished, as the world is constantly redefining this term. Gordon Ramsey has built an empire from yelling profanity, but that does not take away from his world-class experience in the kitchen. Here, Ramsey defies what some may view as “professional” and builds success while doing it.

Keep it Cohesive

Maintaining a personal brand requires asking yourself guiding questions. “How do I describe myself to others, and why?” “How do others describe me, and do I want that to change?” 

Once you know yourself, then you can start strategizing how to communicate across different social channels. Every platform provides different means of presenting yourself depending on the nature of the network. 

Across your profiles, keep your content true to your identity and think of who could find you online. Having a well-articulated bio and a recognizable headshot across all platforms will help establish your presence.  

Keep It Genuine

Your profile can serve as a space for meaningful conversation. By asking questions to your followers, you can increase engagement within your network. Questions can regard your specific industry, or even be more general in nature talking about teamwork, leadership and workplace trends. 

During the height of COVID-19, the workforce turned to social media to discuss digital office trends and the ever changing work landscape. With 65% of white-collar workers shifting to work from home in 2020, this steep change elicited dialogue from individuals willing to express themselves online.

Keep It Mindful

With research to prove the positive impact of storytelling on audiences, online leaders must stay authentic and strategic in their stories. You have the undeniable power to connect people through emotions and share your knowledge through experience.

By communicating content that inspires your network to think, act and learn, you can build a reputation as a thought leader. Stories also help bring humanity to your brand, rather than a robotic corporate face. 

Having a sense of vulnerability, as delved into by researcher-storyteller Brené Brown in her TED Talk, provides your audience a chance to build a deeper connection with you. However, it remains important to make sure your stories do not come off as strong self-promotion or self-hatred. Staying humble and true to your strengths and weaknesses helps establish a strong personal brand. 

Keep it Values-Based

If you aren’t happy with where you’re starting from, reconsider your social media presence and revamp to where you want to be. Take a moment to deep clean your feeds, making sure everything you post is in line with your morals.
Renovating your profiles comes with a newfound knowledge of how the internet can increase your presence to your target audience. 

Are you Confident in Your Brand?

With online access and time to strategize, you have the opportunity to build your online image through engaging multimedia, storytelling and staying genuine.

Before a complete revamp of your brand, consider who you are, and how you want to be perceived. Believe in your brand, and stay persistent. At the end of the day, nobody’s perfect, but you can use social media to show the version of yourself you want and market yourself effectively.

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