If you Google "personal branding" and filter the results by date from 2005 to 2009 - you will receive 810,000 results. If you change the date range to "past year" - you will be struck with 19,000,000! Only in the US, this search term is used 9900 times monthly!
Such impressive popularity of personal branding is not a surprise if you take a look at the headlines in major media. Let's review Business Insider as an example:
- From 2005 to 2009, there were 298 articles containing "Jeff Bezos" keyword;
- Only in 2018 (and only on Business Insider), there were more than 8000 mentions of Amazon's CEO!
Jeff Bezos is not the only, but the most obvious example. There are also Neil Patel, Gary Vaynerchuk, Simon Sinek, and Carol Tice just to name a few. Personal branding has become a worldwide B2B trend. People from different industries, countries, even social statuses are now able to establish and develop an impressive self-brand.
In this article, we will provide you with must-know facts about creating a decent personal image, as well as tools you should use to do that effectively. Although, we would need to define basics before that.
What is a Personal Branding?
Most probably, you are aware of what personal brand is. Moreover, chances are high that you are developing it on a daily basis. The main difference is that you either build it consciously or let it grow organically without your influence.
Your personal brand is the image you use to promote yourself among various groups of people. Whether during basic interpersonal communication or in a romantic relationship - you are building your self-brand constantly. Although, we would like to define your professional branding, the one you can benefit financially from.
When it comes to professional self-brand, there are some personal branding rules you have to be aware of. Analyzing different people, you can notice these may vary, but here are those you can find in pretty much every brand:
1. Clear focus. Among those, who are trying to establish their self-brand, it is a very common mistake to disperse their focus. To avoid that, you should determine one strong message you would like to promote - then stick to it. The narrower focus you have - the more chances you have to be understood and remembered.
2. Honesty. You will not be able to build a sustainable self-brand unless you are genuine. The "fake it till you make it" strategy can work, but from a long-term perspective - it is much easier to manage personal image when you are honest with your audience.
“Be a master of your craft, skillset or industry before starting a personal brand. Then your content will help amplify who you are.” - Justin Wu
3. Story. It is not only about promoting your self as a professional. You need to tell your story if you want to build a sustainable, long-lasting brand. The best way to do that is to create written content or video.
4. Positive impact. As soon as you have established your brand, you will eventually face one crucial choice you will need to make. You either hop over others, or you grow by building a community around your brand.
According to the karmic management principles, you will only grow financially if you are generous to your environment. The same thing works with reputation, by uplifting someone's personal brand - you will cultivate yours.
Is personal branding only for millionaires?
Aforementioned rules have been helping individuals to build sustainable relations with their audience. However, the ability to create and shape one's personal image was a privilege only wealthy people could have.
There are a lot of PR consultants that are able to boost your brand rapidly. Mostly, PR services are too expensive for SMB clients, so they are widely used by enterprise-level clients.
Personal Branding Agency has outlined 3 main strategies you can choose:
- DIY. This one will take the least money but would be the most expensive in terms of time. It is perfectly suitable for individuals that have no time restrictions and can accept a long-term ROI.
Your content might not look professional enough, but they definitely will look genuine, which is extremely important.
- Outsource. This option will take you much more money, without saving a lot of time. You would need to find suitable professionals to complete every task, which is extremely time-consuming process.
The most risky strategy to use, as it will be difficult to build a consistent brand when it was implemented by 10 different people. You would need to articulate your requirements as clear as possible, so this strategy is suitable for people who have experience working in creative industries.
- Agency. Hiring a full-service agency will save a whole lot of your time. This option is the best for those who would like to focus on their businesses, while delegating all the branding processes. Personal Branding Agency have stated agencies' price range from $10,000 to $40,000. We find these prices to be overgeneralized, as there are various agencies with different offers.
Despite the fact DIY strategy takes more time to get considerable ROI, social media make it much easier for one to deliver their messages to their target audience.
Moreover, social media enable your audience to track everything you do. That is why communication now tends to be much more transparent.
Considering that, your branding has to be as transparent as possible. It is now extremely difficult to have multiple different personalities. Even if your PR agency creates a perfect image of you, it will not work . Your personal brand has to correlate with who you are.
"In a world with all these social networks, everything is transparent. Everything you do is captured — with YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. Every part of your movement is on record. Anything you do will be known.
You can’t have “multiple personalities” anymore for business, family, and everything else.
You are who you are now, in this world." - Gary Vaynerchuk
How to use social media to boost your personal brand
In this paragraph we will outline several social media and show how they can be used to implement aforementioned rules.
It would be a crime if we didn't mention LinkedIn. Not only this platform is a perfect environment for B2B communication, but you are also able to generate leads for your business while promoting your brand. Basically, that means you can gain ROI while your branding strategy is on the run.
"LinkedIn has transformed so much as a platform. Years ago, it used to just be for job seekers. People would post resumes, and only connect with people they knew and no one else.
Now, it’s become more of a content platform.
People share status updates, articles, and interact with each other within a business or professional context. And because the platform is still relatively early, they’ve made the organic reach insanely high." - Gary Vaynerchuk
This platform is awesome for publishing content, while connecting with the exact target audience you need. Not only will you raise your brand awareness, but grow your network with valuable relevant connections. What's not to adore?
By posting native articles and videos on LinkedIn, you will be able to broadcast your Focus and Positive impact. If you are responsive enough, you can present your expertise, and be really useful for people, related to your industry.
Learn how to use LinkedIn for personal branding in our Case Study.
This platform hosts 330 million monthly active users, posting more than 500 million daily. With such a great active audience, you can present yourself by reacting to real-time trends and interacting with your TA directly.
When creating content for Twitter, you should answer following questions:
- Is this relevant to my followers?
- Does this piece of content promote my values or business ideals?
- Does this help your followers get to know you better?
Twitter is the best platform to build transparent communication and showcase your Honesty.
How do you provide the exact content your audience needs? Give them what they are asking for! Quora is your ability not only to show your expertise, but also to prove it. When you are answering questions people are puzzled with, you promote yourself as an expert in your field.
Thus, you are able to broadcast your Focus and tell your Story by sharing opinions. Be sure to check this guide on how to use Quora for personal branding.
As one of the most visual social media, Instagram will enable your audience to get acquainted with you more intimately. You cannot write an article on Instagram, so you need to use other mediums.
The best idea would be to publish your short videos, delivering 1 strong message at a time. Just like every piece of your content, it has to be related to the work you do, as well as demonstrate your ideas and principles.
If your content is useful, entertaining, and well-targeted - it is very likely to become viral.
To sum it up
There is a variety of strategies that can be used for establishing personal brand. Now, it is not necessary for an individual to hire the whole PR agency to communicate with target audience properly.
Although, if you have already hired someone - it is necessary for you to be as involved in the process as possible. You have to be sure that messages, delivered on your social media profiles, have to correlate with who you are in real life.
Here in Respect.Studio, we are dedicated to providing our clients with uncommon personal branding solutions. Because they are not widely used, they deliver impressive results.
Feel free to contact us if you need advice on how to boost your personal brand through social media.