How to Market Your Personal Brand
This is part 2 of a series about how to build your personal brand. Part 1 can be found here.
In the first part of this two-part series, we looked at what you need to start your personal brand. In this second part, we will look at how to grow your following. Much of the advice given here can also be applied to a business brand. However, here we will focus a little more on social media. People usually fair better on social media than companies, even despite the difference in resources. So with all this considered, what do we need to do to market our personal brand effectively?
Offer different types of content on your social media
The first thing to remember is that with social media, offering different types of content for each is key. If you produce the same message on each platform then people are only incentivised to follow you on one. Furthermore, you must offer either information, incentives, entertainment or convenience, a different social media channel for each, in order to incentivise people to follow them all. This, of course, is quite demanding and rather time-consuming. However, even just offering one or two gives people a reason to follow you on different platforms.
Promote each channel
Promoting your social media accounts using each social media platform that you’re on is one of the easiest things you can do. However, there are a few things to remember before you begin. Over promotion of your social media can, of course, dilute your offering and put people off. Furthermore, remember that you can choose a particular time of day to maximise the amount of people who see your post. This can vary for different demographics and different channels, so it’s also worth taking this into account.
How to get it off the ground using social media
Getting your personal brand off the ground is the first step. These next tips can be applied at any stage, whether you have virtually no following or a large following. However they are particularly effective at the beginning. Of course, you may have already amassed a small following already, and we will also consider how to utilise this in this article.
At the beginning, following people who may be interested in your content and what you have to offer can be very effective. Choose people who have an even follow to following ratio, regardless of how many people they follow or have following them. Look for people with less followers who may be interested in your content to have a better chance of them following you back. Furthermore, state somewhere in your profile that you follow back. Choose a number of followers to continue to do this up to and keep your follow to following number equal. It could be 100, 1000 or more. Once you have gained a certain amount of followers, you can stop this practice. However, this is up to you.
Using hashtags is a great way to get your content out there. This can be used on many social media platforms. It’s particularly effective on Twitter but very effective on Instagram. With Twitter, research your hashtags. Look out for hashtags where the tweets have a lot of engagement in the form of likes, comments and retweets. Alternatively, use trending hashtags. But be wary that until you have a large following your tweet may get lost. That said, it costs nothing to send a tweet, so feel free to experiment. With Instagram, use as many relevant hashtags as possible. The main attraction to your posts are of course the image, and so the caption has less relevance than with Twitter. On Twitter, stuffing your tweets with a lot of hashtags can turn people off instantly. With Instagram, the attraction is your image or photo, so don’t worry about how many hashtags you use. Many of the fastest growing Instagram accounts gained their following primarily through their use of hashtags, which emphasises their effectiveness. Also, add your location and hashtag any locations that are relevant to your posts. People often find new posts on Instagram based on their location.
So, now you have a small following…
Once you have a small following, you can start to use this to your advantage and generate word of mouth. There are a few tools with social media that you can now take advantage of, and a few types of content that are becoming very popular.
On social media, more and more people are using polls. These have been introduced fairly recently on social media, most recently on Instagram stories. Engagement rates are very high because they are so easy to engage with. It takes one click, and people love to give their opinion. Furthermore, people can vote in these polls anonymously. Use this to generate discussion and debate among your following. On Twitter, combine this with relevant hashtags.
Another way to generate discussion is simple, ask a question. Once you have a following, this is a great way to encourage engagement. It’s a great way to elevate those who previously just had a passive interest to a higher level of involvement. Doing this regularly can great a nice community feel among your followers. Any engagement with your posts on any social channel is good, even if it’s just comments.
Live tools are great for growing your personal brand. If people are interested in you and your personal brand, they will be interested in what you are up to in the moment. You can go live spontaneously, however, it can be much more effective if you set a specific time. This way, you can promote it beforehand. Let people know which channel you are going live on and when in advance. You can research what time most of your follower demographic will be online on your chosen channel and schedule it for the optimum time. Use your other social channels to promote it. It’s also worth considering what will happen to your live video once it’s finished. Twitter uses Periscope, which keeps your video online for 1 day after it has finished. With Facebook and YouTube, your video stays on your page indefinitely. With Instagram Live your followers can only see your stream while it is live and not after. However, you can create short Instagram stories instead which stay on your profile for 1 day.
With an interested following, one of the best ways you can capitalise is by creating a podcast. It seems that there are tons of podcasts out there at the moment, and so it may seem that the podcasting world is saturated. However, in reality, it’s only just getting started. You can turn a podcast into virtually whatever you want and express your style of content easily. You can do a podcast either on your own or with someone you know or get guests. It can also be virtually any length you like. Make it available on Spotify and iTunes at least, maybe even other platforms like Soundcloud. These will act as other channels to promote yourself on and increase your reach. A podcast can be easily tailored to you and your schedule.
Your website: how to get it ranked
SEO can be very time consuming, and for that reason, you may want to avoid guest posting for links. Content curation for your own blog gives you a solid platform for your offering. But first, research keywords that bring some traffic but are easy to rank for, then curate some content based on this. Use that as a platform to get links from other websites. You don’t necessarily need to create posts for them, but you can contact people to ask to include links in already written articles. You can search for articles that relate to yours for this. Again, this can be very time consuming, and so it isn’t essential. It may just be worth getting a few posts on your site in the beginning as a platform. Try to get some links to them to boost website ranking in Google. Then, as mentioned, use social media to promote it. It could be that people offer to write for you in the future after you have a few posts and have built your brand.
It is also worth mentioning that you may only want a website for when people search your name in Google and want to find out who you are, as such you may not require an extensive blog. Having a website just to advertise who you are is also cheaper, however, you may feel that the extra cost for a blog page is worth it. To find out how much more it would cost to have a blog on your website, you can use a website cost calculator. Then, once you have decided what you need for your website, you can outsource its development.
The great thing about personal branding is that everything is done on your terms. Fit it around your schedule and get creative with it. Ask yourself, how do I want to be perceived? Do you want to be considered a thought leader in your industry? Or do you simply want to entertain a large number of people and become an internet celebrity. All of these and more are possible. Your viral moment may be just around the corner.
Gareth Lillis is a Digital Marketing Executive and Writer at Yeeply, the development platform for your app or website Idea.