Seven Steps For Maximizing Your Personal Brand
You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
Dedicating time for your social media can be a hassle. Publishing content, sharing posts, coming up with quick, witty sentences, finding amazing pictures: it feels like this strange downtime activity you’re forced to incorporate into your business.
Yet, statistics show hundreds of millions of people -including your best clients and prospects- pay close attention to these platforms every single day.
And while using your last drip of mental energy to find the right caption can be as riveting as a trip to the dentist- you need to appreciate its hidden value: free marketing for your business.
While even the most committed owners may focus solely on their business profiles, do not be deceived: there is untapped gold in your personal brand.
Personal brands nowadays aren’t just for pictures of the kids and baklava you ate on Tuesday. The perceptive entrepreneur sees the opportunity in using their personal brand to draw people into their business.
Throughout the ages, the “Skilled Salesman” has always said: “You don’t sell the product, you sell yourself.” Yet, in the digital age, we’ve turned a blind eye to this quote and its wisdom, wasting the opportunity to use yourself as a sales funnel for your business.
Today it stops. No longer will we leave thousands of qualified potential leads on the table.
In seven simple steps, I’ll help you develop your personal brand for real business growth:
1. Pick your niche Select something you’re genuinely passionate about: reading, comedy, film, history, quotes from famous people, politics, faith, fitness, photography, seafood, shisha! Whatever your hobby, interest or belief there are thriving social communities with people ready to follow you.
Do 100% of your posts have to be about your niche? Nope. But, the bulk of your content should fit. This means at a glance, people should be able to gather what your personal brand is about. Select your niche. Post within it.
Can’t find amazing content? Then move on to step 2.
2. Follow the influencers The quickest way to understand what makes great content is to see examples of what’s already working. Follow the accounts with a high number of likes, follows and comments within your niche. Like their page and make sure your notifications are switched on for their posts. This will enlist them as unwitting teachers for how to build your personal network.
You don’t need to commit a week to reading their book or paying for their online class. Study what your ‘mentors’ are doing: what do they post, when they post, their word choice, posted photos, hashtags, what grabbed attention, and what didn’t?
Get some mentors, study their ways and let them coach you on how to build a personal brand.
3. Share relevant content Picasso reportedly said, “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” So you have no time to create? Steal then.
Not “steal-steal” in the traditional sense though- you’re going to give the source credit. In fact, you’re going to tag this person and let them know you stole it. In the social media-verse, stealing is sharing, and this person will be happy you took their content. Why? Because now their content is being shared with a larger audience and you both get the chance to grow your brand (win-win!).
And, amongst thieves there is but one rule: steal stuff worth stealing. Be picky and try to only steal relevant, valuable, engaging content which fits your niche.
[Disclaimer: Stealing in the real world may not be met with a heart emoji.]
Okay! I’ve nabbed the content! Now what?
4. Use related hashtags After you’ve finished #creatingcontent or #stealingsomeone’s, you must make it easy for people to find. Using hashtags on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is the best way to categorize your post so when people search for “puppies,” there you are in the results, cheek-to-cheek with your confused-looking pug. Then, when they click on your name, what will they find?
Your pug/pet/animal-filled page (*cough* niche) flowing with great content you’ve learned to curate by following your influencers! Niche onlookers will fall in like and deem you a kindred spirit. Someone who truly gets what life is all about. Then:
Notification: You Have 1 New Follower
5. Create the posts you wish to see Produce the type of quality you wish to see. I can’t stress this enough. That blurry photo of your lunch with your thumb partly visible is not what people want to see. Quality content and adding what your niche perceives as valuable is the best -and possibly only- way to build a flourishing and sustainable personal brand following.
Give people life-changing perspective, memes that make them burst out laughing, quotes that cause them to stare off and think deeply, videos which make them (seem) smarter to their friends, mouth-watering pictures of food from places they do or would love, etc. Provide this service and they’ll be eating out of the palm of your hand.
Soon, they’ll be subscribing to your personal account -not for you- but the value you provide.
6. Interact Don’t be that person at the networking event only talking about themselves.
Take two minutes out of your day and like some pictures within your niche. Search one of your “related hashtags” and like some pictures. Like random pictures within your niche, like pictures of people who have liked yours, follow some people back, add a comment to a post you agree with- the more the merrier!
For now I’d recommend just trying to like 10 a day in your niche. When you do, not only do you feel like a giver and more at peace with the universe, but it taps the person on the receiving end with a notification that you’ve interacted with them, and usually they’re curious to see who this is that just liked their post.
Even if they don’t, you’re building familiarity with your name and personal brand, simply by having it appear on their screen. And several marketing studies have proven that, if given a choice, people often go with the option that is most familiar. You want to be very familiar, so they trust you when you come to mention your product or service.
7. Be a tenth of the salesman you are This is probably the absolute golden rule for entrepreneurs in personal branding.
I know you’re giddy to grow your business. I know the whole reason you’re doing this is to add more revenue. But this is chess not checkers. If people sense they’re being sold, and you’re using these poor pugs as a way to sell your protein bars they may abandon you right there in cyberspace. The key term in this sentence is: sense.
So heed these words: discuss your business sparingly.
Your official business page is the place to post 600 different ways about your falafel shop. (Headline: “How this local man lost 10 pounds on the veggie falafel diet!”)
Within your personal brand, you are, above all, a person.
A person who occasionally mentions the business they love and is thankful for. And occasionally mentions the people in it, whom they also love and are thankful for. But this will be roughly 10% of your posts. No more. Don’t chase people away with digital sales breath.
Follow these steps, and in quick order, people will be copying your page to see what you’ve done that’s working so well.
At which point, you might choose to share this article with them.