Whether you have no following or a celebrity following, the five principles below are important to keep in mind as you build your brand online. (And they’ll make the social media algorithms like you!)
For more than a decade, I’ve been helping build some of the largest personal brands out there, including for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and many others. I’m often asked, where does one start when building their own? Here’s my answer.
You don’t brand yourself.
You are yourself, and that creates a brand. Hopefully this is something of a relief. The concept of personal branding has taken on a whole new connotation — and not one that I always agree with. Classic branding has taught us that highly-polished, consistent imagery is a must, but the truth is that humans are not companies. They’re people. We aren’t static, we’re constantly evolving and we’re messy. Rather than focusing on filtering your content to show a highlight reel, spend time showing relatable, real life.
Humanize to monetize.
Humans connect with humans, not logos. Impressions don’t always convert, but connections do. If you treat your personal brand as a one-way advertising platform, where you’re always making an ask, it will be received that way and you’ll hear crickets. What happened today in your life that was human? Start there. Join a conversation versus always trying to start a conversation. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and intentions shine through more than you may think. If you’re not connecting and converting, reevaluate your intentions. Intent is the root for connection.
Share the Who and the Why, not the What.
People actually do want to know why you started your company or why you do what you do. They want to get to know who you are, versus what you’re doing. You are your differentiating factor. There’s no room for you to build your personal brand the same way someone else is building theirs. There’s only room for you to do it your way. Own your own voice.
Identify and diversify your value.
Value can be delivered in many forms, including education, inspiration, exclusive information, entertainment, reciprocation and more. What value do you offer? The Golden Rule of building a personal brand online is to deliver value when, where, and how you audience wants to receive it. They are the hero, not you. We must give more than we ask for. When you diversify your value offering, you will reach (and resonate with) more like-minded people.
Personal branding is an inside-out job.
We must let go of who we think everyone else wants us to be and what we think they want us to share. As soon as you do that, you’ve arrived at being you. Connection will be made — and connections convert. It’s human nature for our egos to get caught up in vanity metrics. The number of followers and the number of likes don’t matter until you decide what success looks like. If you have a huge following but they’re not engaging and converting in the way you need them to, what’s the point? If you have a humble following but direct messages on Instagram are your number one lead generator, you’re doing well!
The social media space is alive, it’s real-time, and it moves quickly. The shelf life for your content is short-lived in the feeds, so don’t take it too seriously! If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong, and you’ll likely give up before you even get started.
If this resonates with you and you want to learn more, check out my Renegade Brand Bootcamp program. We are announcing Fall 2019 dates soon!