4 tips to help you build your personal brand

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In last week’s Diary of a Junior Marketer, we decoded what it means to have a personal brand and addressed the benefits of having one - things like becoming a thought leader in your field, drawing in more clients and expanding your network.

We also talked about the limitations, how it can take a while to see any return on your efforts, the high costs of career coaches and the blurred lines between your professional and personal life that can happen when you begin to implement personal branding. 

If you’ve decided that having a personal brand is the next step in your marketing journey, here are some tips and tricks that you can use to build one yourself. 

Figure out what story you’re telling right now. 

In my opinion, the very first step to establishing a good personal brand is figuring out how you’re coming across right at this very moment. That way, you can either build from this or tear it down and put a new story in its place. 

The best way to do this is by googling yourself and taking a long hard look at your social media accounts. 

Take note of what comes up. Is it your LinkedIn profile? What pictures of you show up first and do they put you in the light you’d like to be seen in? Maybe nothing shows up at all! At least you have a clean slate to work off of. 

When it comes to your social media accounts, try and look at yourself and your profile from the third person perspective. If you happened to stumble upon your Instagram or LinkedIn, what would your first impression be? 

Be brutally honest with yourself here! Would you decide to follow you based on how you’re presenting yourself online? Would you buy into the story you’re telling through your socials? 

If you don’t have a story, write one. 

The biggest key to personal branding, as we’ve mentioned previously, is having a story to tell that underpins why you do what you do and why other people should jump on the bandwagon. 

In my experience, the easiest way to do this is to bring everything back to the beginning. Why does your startup exist in the first place? What is your ultimate purpose and goal with your brand? 

Are you trying to change the landscape of your industry? Do you simply want to help others? And what experiences brought you to the point of wanting to do this anyway? Get a piece of paper and write every little detail down. What events in your life led you to this career path? What have you seen growing up that brought you to the conclusion that eventually led to the birth of your brand? 

You might think that all of the above is waffle, but at the end of the day this is what people are going to connect with. 

Consumers in this day and age want to know this stuff because it shows that you’re genuine. You’re here because of your very real, lived experiences that a lot of people would have probably gone through. 

If you want to know my philosophy on personal branding, it’s this - If they can see themselves in you, they’ll buy from you. 

It’s that simple.

Content and consistency 

Being consistent in both what you post, how much you post and what you post about are key elements of a good personal brand. 

Consistency also relates to having somewhat of a narrow focus. It’s just like having a business. You pick a niche, dedicate yourself to it and build a reputation. 

People will get confused if you say you’re on a mission to do one thing and then you post content about something else entirely unrelated. Pick one topic or subject like you would when creating a business and build a brand voice around it. Leave no room for confusion! 

Regarding content, it’s important to keep your visuals consistent so that people have something that they can associate with your brand. Something more than just a logo! You could use specific colours, or  a catchphrase or a certain form of content. 

Post regularly! In a way, building a personal brand that people will connect with is like building a relationship with a new friend. If you don’t see them enough you’ll never feel that invested. Make sure you’re constantly popping up with some sound advice or a helpful resource. 

With the way the internet works now, the phrase out of sight out of mind could not be more relevant. 

Lastly, maintain consistency between your online and offline personality. You should not be a completely different person online in comparison to who you are in real life. As slick as you think you are, I promise, you’re not that great of an actor - and the general public will see through you so quickly you’ll think you’re made of glass. 

The worst thing you could do is make people fall in love with a version of your brand that doesn’t even exist! 

Which brings us to our last tip. 

Be authentic always! 

At the end of the day, authenticity is the backbone of a personal brand. 

None of these tips or tricks will work if you’ve fabricated a fake story behind why you decided to start your company and if you’re presenting yourself to be a completely different person to who you actually are. 

Not only is it cringey to watch, it’s painfully obvious when someone is doing this. You’ll also burn out incredibly quickly trying to keep up with all your lies! 

It feels much better to just be yourself and to let that lead you through your journey! 

Good luck out there and make sure to sign up to Rbbl to learn more from founders just like you offering resources, advice, Q&A panels and events to meet like minded people in the startup industry.