11 Ways to Elevate Your Brand Beyond Just Likes and Followers Gaining likes or followers shouldn't be the goal of your personal branding.

By Jon Michail

Key Takeaways

  • Your brand is simply your reputation — what you're known for based on the value you consistently provide over time.
  • Don't just focus on vanity metrics and social media image. Build a multi-dimensional personal brand by providing value in diverse ways over time.
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Nowadays, everyone wants to "build their brand" and grow their social media following. But authentic personal branding goes far beyond vanity metrics on Instagram or X (Twitter). At its core, your brand is simply your reputation — what you're known for based on the value you consistently provide over time.

While social platforms are tools for amplifying your message, your brand exists with or without them, like before social media. Your message will differ in strategy if you have a mass-market brand compared to a niche market brand. So, don't equate the size of your following with the strength of your brand.

You should focus on the 11 things I've highlighted instead.

1. Focus on providing real value

Gaining likes or followers shouldn't be the goal. You want to attract engaged "true fans" who eagerly consume whatever you share because it enriches their lives somehow. That comes from consistently publishing original non-AI content they can't find elsewhere.

Social media rewards quick, superficial content. But bite-sized posts alone won't build authority. You also need in-depth educational content like blogs, videos, and courses. Demonstrating deep expertise earns trust and loyalty.

2. Be multi-dimensional

The most powerful personal brands showcase diverse talents, not just one narrow identity for social media. Consider what makes you uniquely you. What are your varied interests and abilities beyond any one label? Find creative ways to showcase those multi-faceted aspects through diverse content forms.

For example, Chef Joshua Weissman is known for his fun cooking videos. But he also posts candid vlogs, music parodies, and lifestyle content to show more of his personality. Sharing broader perspectives beyond a single niche makes you more relatable.

Related: We Are Disillusioned and in an Influencer Overdrive — Here's How to Find Authentic Guidance via Social Media Influencers

3. Focus on giving, not just taking

On social platforms, it's easy to get caught up in a mindset of maximizing what you can get - followers, shares, and sales. But the most influential people focus on how they can give value to others first. When your audience feels you're invested in their interests, they'll invest in you.

Rather than trying to hook followers with self-promotional content, offer something useful for them. Teach a new skill, share hard-won lessons, and recommend helpful tools. Aim for content that improves people's lives, not just grows your metrics.

Related: 7 Creative Ways to Boost Your Social Media Strategy

4. Let your work speak for itself

There's an art to self-promotion on social media - you want to get discovered. But nothing turns people off faster than constantly bragging about yourself. Show, don't just tell. Let the quality of your evidence-based work demonstrate your talents so people spread the word for you.

5. Establish yourself offline too

While you can build a brand through digital content alone these days, having offline elements bolsters credibility. Speaking at events, getting media coverage, publishing books/courses, and other real-world achievements help take you to the next level. Look for opportunities beyond social media.

6. Stay authentic

In the quest for likes and follows, presenting an exaggerated or idealized version of yourself and life is tempting. But trying to mold your image into someone else's idea of a "personal brand" just rings hollow. The most magnetic people share their real, unfiltered selves. Don't become a caricature.

Related: Why Authenticity Is the Key to Making Great Social Media Content and Building a More Devoted Audience

7. Take a long-term view and listen first, market later

Growing an engaged audience organically takes time. Social media rewards rapid output and trends. But consistency over the years is more important than any one viral post. Your audience will stick with you when they relate to you as a real person, not just a content machine. Play the long game.

Here are more ways to build a powerful personal brand beyond just social media metrics:

Relentless self-promotion fails to make real connections. Instead, listen to your audience's needs first before deciding where you can provide value. Pay attention to comments and questions to identify pain points you can address. Let them guide your content.

8. Collaborate with those outside your niche

Partnering with complementary creators, even in other fields, helps expand your reach. Introduce your audience to someone new and vice versa. But choose collaborations strategically with those whose work has substantial value, not just because they have a big following.

9. Represent yourself professionally

How you present yourself in business contexts also contributes to your brand. Pursue speaking engagements, write guest articles for prominent publications and participate professionally on social media. Becoming an industry thought leader establishes credibility beyond just popularity.

10. Invest in original content and don't neglect non-social channels

Great photography, graphics, and other production values elevate your content and brand. However, learning new skills or hiring help requires investment. Consider the return in terms of increased audience engagement and marketplace authority.

While social platforms are great for awareness, channels like email newsletters better cultivate lasting relationships. Someone may casually scroll past your post, but subscribers who opt into your newsletter are highly engaged fans. Don't over-rely on social channel algorithms. Social media companies are deliberately changing the algorithms to keep you chasing your tail.

Related: 7 Ways to Integrate PR Into Your Daily Marketing Activity

11. Live your brand values

To attract your ideal audience, identify your core values and express them consistently through your content and conduct. Standing for something gives your work a deeper meaning. People will support brands whose beliefs align with their own. Authenticity draws the right crowd.

Owning your niche often means filling gaps others miss. Provide resources you wished you had. Interview people you're curious about. Share details no one else covers. Becoming known for addressing unmet needs makes you indispensable. The most powerful personal brands are built on passion. Let your enthusiasm for your niche fuel consistent, high-quality, original content. That passion is contagious.

Conclusion

Don't just focus on vanity metrics and social media image. Build a multi-dimensional personal brand by providing value in diverse ways over time. Your long-term aim is cultivating true fans who are enriched by your work, not just chasing engagement. Be intentional and keep on giving real value, and the right audience will keep finding you.

Jon Michail

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder and Group CEO of Image Group International

Jon Michail is the CEO and founder of Image Group International, an Australia-based corporate and personal-brand image advisory and coaching organization that conducts transformational seminars, workshops and one-on-one coaching in over four continents.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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