Written by Jacci Pinson
“Why focusing on your personal brand can help you grow your business, connect with your customers, create a more genuine network, and make all of your dreams come true.”
Those are the words I would love to use as a title for this article. But ultimately, it’s too long, not at all specific, and I am not sure if I can promise that your dreams will come true (although, I’d like nothing more for you!)
However, I CAN tell you that focusing on building your personal brand through social media can help you build a network of genuine people that share your vision and have the potential to become loyal customers for your business. That’s fairly close to making your dreams come true, right?
I thought so.
It all starts with being consistent and confident in who you are and what your brand is trying to communicate.
So what is branding? And how do I create a personal brand?
Seth Godin, serial entrepreneur and well-known author, said, “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
So, taking Seth Godin’s definition and applying it personally, we are left with an answer that says that a personal brand is simply, you.
Your personal brand is a combination of your expectations, memories, stories, and relationships. These factors communicate something to the world about who you are and characteristics of your personal brand.
Everyone has a personal brand and everyone is given a choice: to embrace the fact that you have a personal brand and use it to your competitive advantage or to be passive about personal branding. You see, we are all contributing to our personal brand subconsciously, so when we take the concept of our personality, influence, and impression on people and put purpose behind it, our personal brand has the potential to become really powerful.
If you are still reading, I can assume you chose the first option and are looking to take initiative in your life and use your personal brand to grow yourself, your business, and your network.
And I think you’ve made a great choice.
So now that we’ve decided you have a personal brand. How can you use it effectively?
Social Media. Consistency. Grace.
Social media is the ultimate tool to help us create a powerful personal brand. It should be used to reflect who you are and help you visualize who you want to be. One simple way to begin this process is by pausing before you post. Pause, and ask yourself “Is this contributing positively to my personal brand?” When we do this, we are exercising thoughtfulness in media and in our responses. This simple question allows you to stand out in a world that is quick and often thoughtless in their responses. Instead, you are creating meaningful content that has the potential to create a lasting network full of genuine people. If they like you on social media, make sure it lines up with who you are in real life. If these are consistent, social media can be a friend rather than foe in contributing to your personal brand.
Consistency is one of the most important aspects of growing and developing your personal brand. People are going to look to see if you are consistent in what you post and what your business looks like. That’s not to say you should always be uptight and consumed with whether you are doing everything to promote your brand from the moment you wake up. No one likes that person that is wearing their company t-shirt at any casual social gathering, night out, or coffee date.
A great example of personal and business brand consistency is our Former First Lady and activist, Michelle Obama. As First Lady of the United States, Michelle was almost always on display. Her words, clothes, and actions were looked at under a microscope for many years. However, in her book Becoming, Michelle discussed how she this used spotlight responsibly, “If people flipped through a magazine primarily to see the clothes I was wearing, I hoped they’d also see the military spouse standing next to me or read what I had to say about children’s health,”
Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy
Another example of brand and business consistency is Jen Gotch, founder of Ban.do. Gotch, is a frequent Instagram activist for mental health and continues to fight to destigmatize mental health issues. Along with her extremely honest instagram posts, she created “Feel Better” on Ban.do, a mission to start the conversation to destigmatize mental health through fashion, necklaces, “Letters to Jen”, fundraising, and support resources. Gotch’s consistency with her mission in her personal life and her business contribute positively to her personal brand as a human, entrepreneur, creative, and inspiration.
Working on your personal brand can be difficult and it is important to give yourself grace throughout the process. When discussing personal branding, we need to remember that consistency is incredibly important, but it is equally as important to leave room for ourselves. We are humans that are always (hopefully) evolving and changing in the most innovative and creative ways. That should be celebrated on this journey to developing strategic and consistent personal branding in media.
Ultimately, who you are is your personal brand. And who you are is INCREDIBLE. Additionally, you get the opportunity to be proactive in presenting yourself to the world through social media and personal connections. When you are genuine about who you are, people are going to want to connect and build networks of trust with you. These connections can help build your business or give you a competitive advantage in your job and positively impact your life.
I am excited to see your dreams come true! Take initiative in refining your personal brand, because you have an abundance of beauty to offer people, media, and the world.