A Beginner’s Guide to Personal Branding in 2022

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Image source: Getty Images

Your personal brand is the mirror image of your personality on digital media and it can become an important asset for your business. We will explore 7 strategies to boost your brand image.

Welcome to the “era of me”. The era where social media celebrates people rather than businesses and where a business owner’s personal life becomes a business asset. For nearly 50 years, companies have focused on corporate brands, but in recent years, personal branding seems to have overtaken them.

Young YouTubers, Snapchatters and Instagrammers have shown the world that a personal brand can be built much faster than a business brand, and that social media has enabled virtually anyone to reap real benefits from personal brand.

This applies to everything from finding a job, growing your career, becoming a social media star, or starting a new business.

Overview: What is a personal brand?

A brand is not just an image, font types, logo and colors. It is increasingly seen as something its audience defines. Branding therefore becomes an exercise in guiding the public to see what values ​​the brand expresses. What is your personal brand? Or rather: “How do people see you?

When building a personal brand, you will be showcasing who you are and what you stand for. To do this, you need to establish your identity, its strengths and its style, and then build and grow its audience consistently. And you should write it all down in your own personal brand guide to keep track of it.

Things to consider when building a personal brand

Creating a personal brand identity is never something you start from scratch. Personal brands are simply the reflection in online media of who are the people. You will first need to consider what elements of personal branding pre-exist in your branding exercise.

Next, you need to structure your approach: define your identity and its attributes, determine the audience you are marketing the brand to, and finally, create the assets and content needed to address and expand that audience.

1. Find out where your starting point is

Let’s start where many internet journeys begin: Google search. We call this a “personalized search” where you type in your name and see what appears in the search results page. Already at this point, you should ask yourself if there are different ways to search for your name and if one is better than the other.

If your name is Adam Smith or Sigourney Weaver, you may consider calling yourself something else. Try to find a winning combination, then stick to it consistently across all online profiles.

Maybe it should be “Adam S.” or “the other Smith”. Maybe your middle name is Beatrice and you can introduce yourself as “SB Weaver”.

Next, you need to do a social media audit to see what your communication reach is. What is your most powerful social media channel? Is it compatible with your positioning?

Did you find your social media profiles in Google search when looking up your name? Do you have a consistent personal brand image on these networks?

2. Clearly define your identity

You need to clearly define your identity once and for all, and then stick to it. What is the correct spelling of your name? What types of photos of you should you use (professional, casual, fun)?

Establishing your identity will be a bit like doing a brand positioning exercise, just like any other brand.

  • How is your brand name spelled?
  • What values ​​does it express?
  • What’s your style ?
  • What are you advocating?
  • Can you express that in hashtags?

3. Establish your value proposition

Your audience needs to understand what they can expect from you, so you need to think about how to market yourself when building your brand.

  • Who is your audience?
  • What is your differentiation?
  • What are you planning to sell?

4. Build your wealth

Your assets are the traces you will leave on social networks. In order to express the personal brand you have identified, you will need to consider the assets you already have and those you need to acquire.

  • Need more social media profiles?
  • Do you have the right photo and video equipment?
  • Did you write the right articles?
  • Do you have other types of assets that add value to your brand?

5. Manage your branding exercise

Once you start building your brand, it will be important to maintain or accelerate your business. Social media management is key to managing both consistency and posting frequencies.

You may need social media management software in your toolkit as well as social listening tools. On top of that, you may encounter a few additional challenges:

  • Overcoming the FOLS: the fear of looking stupid
  • Live to the rhythm of social media notifications
  • Stick to your content production schedule
  • stay creative

The 7 Best Strategies for Building a Personal Brand

To create a personal brand strategy, you may need to have a very personal perspective that emphasizes things that only you can do. There are, however, a number of strategic approaches that can inspire or fuel your unique personal branding strategy, and we’ve listed them below:

Strategy #1: Semiotic impregnation

A very fanciful expression to designate the simple exercise of using accessories, symbols or concepts to stand out and make you remarkable and recognizable.

Examples of personal branding that come to mind include Arnout Hellemans, an SEO expert who brands himself using images of Oysters and the hashtag #oystertime.

Whenever he is in a new place, he makes sure to post a picture of a delicious oyster dish on social media. It’s a fun way to raise awareness, whether you like oysters or not.

Another example is search marketer Jon Myers and his #wingshot hashtag. He traveled quite frequently on business and made a habit of posting a photo of the wing of planes he flew on.

In his line of work, the hashtag is a fun and engaging way to stay in touch and is part of his personal branding. Using props or designs to stand out is a great way to create a personal brand.

Facebook posts featuring oysters and an airplane wing for personal branding.

Facebook posts using #oystertime and #wingshot Image source: Author

Strategy #2: Thought Leadership and Differentiation

Not everyone can be a thought leader, right? Certainly not on current topics. However, there is probably something you are the best at in the world.

How to define it and bring it out? It wasn’t clear that “Le Petit Mayombo” would become a social media star: he was using his very special attribute of being an adult in a young boy’s body as his differentiation.

Screenshot of the influencer's Facebook page

Facebook page of the influencer “Le Petit Mayombo”, an adult and a big personality with a young boy’s body. Image source: author

Strategy #3: Content Curation

One of the digital marketing tips you will often come across for social media content strategies is the practice of content curation. This involves finding content relevant to your audience, sharing it, and commenting on it.

This approach does not create brand value, but ensures that you can maintain the consistency and frequency of your communication.

Strategy #4: Conferences and Networking

Conference presentations are a very powerful branding mechanism. The brand value of speaking is much stronger outside of the conference than inside and can be actively used to build a brand. This approach goes hand in hand with a thought leadership strategy, but it takes a lot of work and investment.

Most speakers don’t get paid for the work they do other than the exposure they get. One thing to remember for conferences is the after-sales service: follow-up and drafting of networking emails.

Strategy #5: SERP saturation

As a starting point, you made a vanity seeking to check search engine results pages (SERPs) for appearances of your name. Building your brand is also about being found easily and dominating this page.

This is where you may need to multiply the number of social media profiles you have, to ensure that your name appears on all the web pages where you contribute, to use photos that are compatible with your style and values ​​in all the places where your personal brand appears.

Strategy #6: Audience Development

You’ve established your profiles, you’re using your strengths to establish an ongoing presence with your target audience, which can lead to organic growth in your audience.

But you also need to invest time in accelerating your audience growth. Connect with more people, build visibility partnerships with other personal brands.

This is where you need your social media timeline to track what you post, where and when. “Give to get,” as many social media experts will say: if you comment on and like other people’s pages, they’ll likely reciprocate.

Strategy #7: Fatherhood

Fatherhood is one of the biggest contributors to a personal brand. Once you’ve written a book and taken a picture of yourself with your book in your hand, you enter an exclusive club of personal branders.

It’s great compensation for all the hard work they put into the writing and editing process.

Stand out for who you are

Your personal brand is the digital mirror of who you are. You can enhance this mirror image by making it consistent and reflecting the values ​​and style that define you.

And by investing time in organizing remarkable high-profile events, continuously focusing on growing your audience and providing value to others, you will build your personal profile and become a stronger brand.

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