I started my business, Hunk-O-Mania, before the era of social media and during the early days of internet marketing. While building my company, I neglected my own personal brand — and in the last few years, I’ve aimed to make up for it by embracing social media platforms as a way to build my brand outside of my business.
Crafting a strong personal brand on social media can take time, but it can also yield significant benefits. Based on my own experience, here are a few tips on how to build your own authentic brand on social media.
Know that you’re only limited by your imagination.
Compared to the promotional methods of the past few decades, social media is truly transformative. Imagine building a name for yourself before Instagram. You could take out magazine ads, write a personal blog or run TV commercials. For TV opportunities, you were constrained by a producer; there were limits to what you could say and limits on the content you put out. With social, there are essentially no limits. You can showcase photos of your hike one week to give people a way to connect with you personally, then share posts about the fruit smoothie stand in your neighborhood the next week so your followers feel they’re along for the ride as far as your day-to-day routine.
Remember that your personal brand can transcend your industry.
Building your personal brand allows you to freely explore different avenues and open more doors. This is especially important for entrepreneurs, since they often must be willing to embrace failure and try new things. As an entrepreneur, you may eventually decide to change the direction of your company and career. As the face of your company, it’s a good idea to be a spokesperson for your product or service while also presenting yourself as an innovator, an authority and a unique personality. As your career progresses, you might be under consideration for board seats or other advisory roles, and a strong personal brand can give you a leg up on the competition. Since the future of any sector is uncertain, it’s important to build a personal brand that transcends your industry — that way, you can go from, say, running a software firm to managing a restaurant chain. It’s your brand that inspires confidence, competence and trust, which are all crucial for success in business and with people.
Communicate with followers one-on-one to drive meaningful engagement.
Talking directly to followers is one of the best ways to form relationships. You of course need interesting content and great pictures, but the one-on-one communication is vital, especially when you’re starting out on social. Engagement with followers shows you’re an authentic person and care about establishing a rapport with people, not just building your follower count.