About two years ago I started to experiment with my personal Instagram account for a work project. The goal was to find key success factors that would grow following and engagement. After about one month of experimenting with various Youtube instructions I finally started to see some results – my followers base increased as did my engagement. I was happy that I could use my findings for the work project, but I also realized that all of a sudden random people started to become interested in me, in what I do and what I have to share. I also realized the power that came with an online following (alongside some jealousy 🙂 ) and so I decided to continue sharing my content and see where it would take me. Something that I soon also realized was that my following and personal brand was something that belonged only to me, and it kept developing while I was working, sleeping or just enjoying life. After 1,5 years and various projects on other platforms, I hit the 20K following mark on Instagram and decided to start a blog in order to expand my online pretense. So what have I learned along the way?
It pays off to invest in your Personal Brand
No matter who you are and what you do today – entrepreneur, specialist in a big corporation, manager of a department, CEO or a creative artist – having a personal brand will always open new doors and opportunities for you. It will give you credibility in your organization (if you work in one), it will market your business idea if you’re an entrepreneur, and it will add branded authentic value to your organization if you’re managing one. And the great paradox is that if you’re thinking “what I do is not suitable for Personal Branding” – you’re very wrong! This only means that you have an unique niche that probably not lot of people have looked in to from a branding perspective – meaning less competition!
SETTING YOUR PERSONAL BRAND STRATEGY
When you start investing in your personal brand you also start investing in yourself as an asset. By setting your personal brand’s goals and strategy you will for sure grow your brand. Research shows that 99% of society are so called “listeners”, while 1% are creators. This means that if you decide to start creating today, you already have a huge audience who are ready to listen to what you have to say
1. Your Unique Value
People are searching for free value online. This can be education, inspiration and advise of any type and in any field. Sometimes we have unique knowledge that we have never thought as being of interest to others, ask yourself these questions to find your own unique value proposition:
– What are people often asking for your advice about?
– What is your super power?/What comes “natural” to you?
– What did you enjoy doing when you were 10 years old?
– What are you inspired by?
– I like discussing/reading books about/watching shows about…?
2. Find your Target Audience
This step may seem easy, but is often not worked through thoroughly. The most common mistake is to create content for everyone since that target audience seem to be the largest, but the truth is that the more precise your specify your audience the faster and better success. An easy way to do this is to define three personas, representing your target audience. Try to visualize these personas one by one by answering these questions about each of them:
– How old is he/she?
– What does he/she do during a regular Tuesday?
– What car does she/he drive if any?
– What are the top 3 interests he/she may have and how much time will he/she spend on these?
– Where does he/she live?
– What does his/her family constellation look like?
– What are the main worries he/she may have?
By now you should have a clear image of this person, try to name him/her and give him/her a physical appearance that you can use when creating content
3. Content Plan
It may seem like people with a big online presence are just putting themselves out there when they feel like it and share great stuff that their audience adore, but the truth is that there are thorough plans and strategy behind it all
– What platforms will you use to spread your content? This will also naturally trickle down the type of content you’ll produce – text, audio, still images or video
– What will be your 4 main categories that you will stick to?
– How often will you upload your content?
– What feeling and value should each piece of content provoke? (Eg, education, inspiration, authenticity)
It’s important to stick to your content strategy and plan. Have a daily content plan one week ahead for all of your platforms, then make sure to have a monthly overview of subjects you want to cover. This will give you a good understanding of major content pieces to produce – you can plan photo and video shots, write your texts ahead and time your publications.
4. Statistics & Improvement
You will soon realize that you know quite little about your target audience and what works for them, the best way to understand them is to analyze your statistics and adapt accordingly. I have during my two years had several different niches to test what works best. I started off with a “career woman” style that didn’t seem to interest many (my target audience then primary being Russian women), followed by a healthy lifestyle theme, personal development topics, Scandinavian lifestyle theme and much more. By following up with your statistics you will see what topics works best for you and your audience. Based on my own personal mistakes, I would NOT recommend creating content about things that are not YOU, just because your target audience might like it. The whole point with a Personal Brand is that it should reflect you as a person, so make sure to stick to your true self in whatever you share. Besides, after a while it will no longer be fun to share content that is not close to your heart.
I hope these quick tips gave you an idea on how to start developing your personal brand and that it is actually possible! You don’t have to become a full time influencer in order to express yourself and build a personal brand online.