Today, branding yourself, “self branding,” or “personal branding” can be achieved by business professional and the average person through skillful and repeated use of social media. Ten years ago, to brand yourself, you needed to write a book, be a politician, appear on TV, or be in the news or sports. While those avenues are still valid, there is now a more accessible and, in some cases, more effective way to reach your audience with your personal brand message.
Promoting Your Brand Amidst All the Noise in Social Media
The problem with social media, or “social,” is that viewers typically watch an ever-changing newsfeed that whistles by almost as fast at the Times Square News of the World. Your post moves progressively down until it’s on the next page where very few readers will see it.
Unless your audience is following you specifically, your tweet, post, or comment is lost in a matter of hours or even minutes. This is one reason why you have to continually and repeatedly post, hoping to catch your audience when they are looking at their feed.
You want the number of your followers to grow and re-tweet your posts, which may make your message viral. Try to get popular bloggers to mention or link to you. Then you will have the opportunity to attract their followers. The number of followers is the currency of social media.
Crafting the Message for Your Personal Brand
But even if you have the time and the patience to work with the limitations of social media, or even if you are fortunate enough to get conventional coverage, you still need a message that is consistent and sustainable. Are you now, or do you want to be, a go-to person, a thought leader, or an authority on a particular subject? Whatever your message is, over time it will brand you. It will be your brand identity.
Here are a few questions that may help you determine and craft that message:
1. What do you do, have you done, or want to do? What is the specific market segment you want to address?
2. What makes you an expert in this area? How can your expertise help others? What distinguishes you, your service, your information, or your product from others?
3. How will you package your service? Do you give advice? Do you teach? Will you offer webinars, seminars, books, subscriptions, or info-products?
4. What do you stand for? What movements do you support? What are you doing in the community to demonstrate your values?
5. What are the three most compelling reasons why your subscribers should follow you, and better yet, buy what you’re selling?
6. Who are the top thought leaders in your field? How can you help them get their messages across? Will they see you as a supporter, example, or case study, or do you take a different approach altogether?
7. What are the benefits to your audience if they purchase your products or services? What features will they receive that they find desirable?
Of course, branding yourself, especially in social media, requires credibility on a personal level as well. Your audience needs to believe that you are a sincere person and that you have their best interests at heart. So be prepared to give more than you receive over and over again.
Self-branding is not a vaccination – it is a process. It only lasts as long as your last mention, post, or tweet.