The topic of personal branding seems to have caught fire over the last year. About 12 months ago I started being pretty intentional about mine. I saw it as an opportunity to learn more about the ins and outs of social media marketing on a granular level while driving traffic to my marketing agency. I have a strict policy against using my agency's resources for my personal brand, forcing myself to do the nitty gritty work myself.
I started with blogging on medium.com, creating inspirational graphics on my Instagram, creating stories and updated my LinkedIn profile to 96 percent complete. Recently, I started doing a weekly Facebook Live on my personal account which is my main focus right now but I haven't forgotten to get back to my social media roots. I became much more active on Twitter again.
Being intentional about my brand has taught me a lot. I've seen some successes and I've realized some pitfalls as well. Here's what I learned:
Building a personal brand isn't just for travel bloggers.
There are a lot of benefits to consistently posting content around your career or personality. Sharing my Snapchat and Instagram stories has lead to dozens of conversations around 7twelve Media. I've even had the opportunity to close a couple deals within Snapchat direct messages. A few speaking engagements (some paid, some unpaid) have come my way not just based around marketing, but around my life-hack strategies as well.
Regular blogging has helped my SEO. I'm really confident in what comes up when you Google my name. This is a great opportunity for individuals who need to be found among thousands who have a similar name or reputation management.
Building a personal brand can get you to do more IRL.
I'd be lying if I tried to tell you that a handful of the things I do wasn't 'for the gram'. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm going out of my way to do things just to get more likes, but creating content and documenting my journey means I actually have to get out and do something. I've since re-discovered my passion for music, spent more time networking (in real life) through the community I've been developing on social media, explored more of my home state of California and have even taken more time to evaluate myself both in my career and personal life. Because of all of this, I'm exponentially happier than I was a year ago.
Building a personal brand can make you more resourceful.
Confession: I'm not a tetchie. For whatever reason people believe that since I've co-founded a social marketing agency that I must know how to code a website or know everything about my Mac. That's definitely not the case. With that said, the last year of developing my personal brand has forced me to research equipment, applications and tactics to make my content more compelling. I believe that as we move closer and closer to a mobile-only Internet ecosystem it's crucial to know what your phone can really do for you. Most of the content produced for my personal brand has been done on my iPhone, outside of these blogs.
Building a personal brand definitely helps expand your professional network.
It's funny what happens when you produce content around your career and your beliefs. It attracts an audience that's like minded and interested in what you have to say. When I say that it helps expand your professional network, I mean in a way that's more than regular comments on your Instagram posts or retweets. For example, I was luckily enough to meet Sabba Quidwai through Instagram and Snapchat which has lead to numerous speaking engagements, which led to meeting some of her professional network on and offline. Working with her has led to referrals and great collaborative content on Facebook Live, webinars and live events.
Building a personal brand can help you develop thicker skin.
Taking selfie videos about your beliefs and your career will naturally lead to a lot of support and positive feedback from family, friends and those close to you in your professional life. To be honest, nothing gets me more pumped than reading the comments from old friends discovering what I'm up to for the first time. With that will come a lot of naysayers, trolls and realizing that some people you thought had your best interest in mind really don't.
If you decide to start developing your brand, be aware that the high from 100 supportive followers can quickly be demolished by a few negative jabs. Building your brand will not always be pretty but getting through rough patches will get you to double down on what you really believe in and build character if you choose to rise above them.
I'm very excited to see where the development of my brand and essentially myself take my career. The most important point to remember while developing your brand is that it's not about creating a persona to satisfy an audience, but highlighting your strengths and interests to build building a network around them.