8 Ways to Boost Your Personal Brand
In the past, if you wanted to get publicity, you needed an agent. You had to schmooze, climb the ladder of fame, and find ways to get your name in the news.
Today in 2021, growing your influence is completely reversed. The ability to get attention and grow your online influence is available to everyone via social media. And it’s about a lot more than a fancy elevator pitch at a networking event.
The problem is that (almost) everyone is trying to get the same attention. There is a lot more competition when it comes to growing your influence. Just like a professional brand, you have to think strategically and appeal to your target audience.
In our experience working with brands during the past ten years, we have learned a lot about helping people grow their exposure. In this article, we will look at eight ways that you can create a personal branding strategy and influence using some of the same tactics.
1) Have an Interest, Cause, or Purpose
There’s a reason this tip is the first on the list. Any person who wants to be influential in the world needs an interest, a cause, or a specific purpose that drives them. This is at the core of all strong personal branding and influencer marketing.
It’s not enough to hope that people will just follow you because of who you are (at least in the beginning). You need to have some depth to your personal brand.
You are more likely to attract people to follow you if you are known for something specific.
If you aren’t sure where to start, then think about:
- Your hobbies and passions in life
- People you admire (and what it is about them you admire)
- Goals that you want to achieve
Any of these will help you find what you want to talk about and share. Your interests can evolve, but if you’re going to grow a following, you have to start with one.
For example, Melissa Coyle of Melissa’s Healthy Kitchen built a strong online following around her passion for healthy, affordable meals. Today she shares her recipes and daily cooking experiences with her followers on Instagram and her website.
Even if you feel like you are copying somebody else’s interests to begin, at least you are making a start. Begin sharing your interests, and talking about them. You can help others to learn more or to further a cause in some way.
2) Upgrade to Professional Photos
Images are a huge part of how people relate to you. Having high-quality professional-grade images helps your brand to stand out.
Everyone today has a cellphone with a decent camera. And although you can get away with using your cellphone for stories and some images, it’s good to look at upgrading to a higher level.
Purchasing a DSLR camera is a great first step to improving the quality of your images. You can also get an Adobe Lightroom subscription or use tools like VSCO to help do basic editing.
Here are three tips to better images:
- Try to find decent lighting – natural diffused light is best
- Use the right angles – always put the camera up higher
- Avoid too many preset filters – they are hard to nuance the photos with
High-quality photography is both an art and a science. You need to invest both money and time into building your skills and creating better quality images. In the beginning, you might need to hire somebody to do your first photoshoots, and then you can slowly
3) Create a Look and Feel for your Brand
The best brands in the world are extremely strict about what they put out into the world.
Businesses have a brand book that tells the company which colors, fonts, and logos to use when publishing. Some brands, like Mailchimp, even have a specific way of writing their content that is congruent with its brand.
If you are unsure what colors and fonts might be right for your brand, you can always hire a graphic designer to help. They can create a logo, a color palette, and even match specific imagery to your brand.
Of course, you can vary the colors and feel of what you post, but it’s good to have some parameters.
4) Document and Share Experiences
A big part of growing a personal brand is the experiences that you have day-to-day. Through social media, you can share them and build a following.
Not every single part of your daily life needs to be shared. But there will be highlights that you can curate. You can add pieces of content you create to your content calendar for posting at a later date.
It’s a good idea to document your thoughts and experiences even if you don’t end up using them immediately.
You can always go back and delete videos or thoughts in your phone notes later, but at the time, it’s worth recording them.
5) Learn to Write and Speak on Camera
Writing and speaking are two skills we all learn in school, but we don’t think about improving them once we graduate.
Learning to write your blog posts, and to speak well on video are two essential skills if you want to grow your influence online.
Yes, of course, you can outsource these two tasks, but learning to do them yourself has some benefits.
Writing is critical because it helps you to clarify your thinking. Also, written content that is on your blog has a better chance of appearing in Google results.
When it comes to video, being a fluent speaker on video helps to grow your influence. You can practice by just doing some daily vlogs or sharing something you have learned. The more often you speak on camera, the easier it will become.
6) Test Different Platforms
Every person has their favorite social media platform, but it’s a mistake to just stick to one.
Why? Because social media is always changing.
No matter how many followers you have, you do not own any account on social media. Therefore, if the platform changes, deletes your account, or starts to become less popular, you are the one who loses.
The solution is to learn different social media platforms and the nuances of each. Whether is on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other platform, you must have a clear brand identity in mind when you use them. Learn who the primary audience is for each and how your content can work on each separate channel.
You might not like or understand a particular platform, but you can start to get a feel by posting on it a few times. See how your social media post has a different impact depending on the platform. Part of successful personal branding is to match your style to the right platform.
Many of the same people who follow you on one platform will begin to migrate and will likely follow you on another channel.
Even if you love a specific social media app, and have had success with it, make sure to keep trying new ones and expanding your knowledge and reach.
7) Create a Schedule (and Stick to It)
One of the biggest secrets to growing a social media following is consistency. By posting a few days a week, every week, year after year, you will build an audience.
If that sounds a little tedious, it’s because it is.
Taking the time to create new written content, pictures, videos, and audios requires discipline. You have to plan ahead and then stick to your plan.
The best way to do this is to create a content calendar that you know you can follow. Doing this in advance helps when you have a creative block and don’t know what to post about.
There are a lot of content calendar templates available online, and something as simple as Google Spreadsheet with dates, content titles, and a brief overview will do.
Remember: if you want to grow, you have to post consistently. Not only do your followers grow if you post a lot, but so will your Google rankings.
You can do more in one to two years posting consistently than you will in five years posting occasionally.
8) Connect and Be Social
The final tip is one many people miss when they want to grow their influence. When you begin trying to build a personal brand, the best thing to do is to connect with others who share the same interests.
This doesn’t mean you are only trying to connect to get something, but rather to give something. You should be genuinely interested in the posts of others and make an effort to follow, share, and comment.
If you come across someone who shares your same values or interests, they can often be a partner in growing your influence.
The more people you make an effort to connect with, the more you will see your influence grow. It might seem a counterintuitive way to do it, but over time you will see a benefit.
Build Your Brand Slowly
Remember that there is no ‘right’ way to grow your personal brand, as every person is unique. These tips will help you refine your unique approach and keep adapting over time. A strong personal brand is something that is built over time, and evolves as you change and improve your online presence.
A personal brand takes time to develop, and you will likely start out copying what other people do. Over time you will find your voice and begin to grow your influence in your own way.