You don’t need to be a celebrity, athlete or world-performing artist to build an online following. If you have a passion or expertise in a given subject, you can build a following of like-minded fans thanks to the power of social media. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast, a career coach or an expert in caring for houseplants, you can find your community online through the right networks.
Here’s your guide to building a personal brand on social media:
- Determine the right social media platforms for you. Think about your personal branding goals and the types of communities you hope to engage in. If you’re an interior designer, visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest can be very powerful for promoting your brand. If you’re an established business leader and aiming to support the next generation of professionals, logging into LinkedIn and all its networking and blogging features will be useful.
Take for example, LearnByDoing.club. Just as their name suggests, Learn By Doing is a website that’s devoted to giving individuals everyday life skills – like Logo Design, Computer Basics, and Graphic Design – to help subscribers learn and turn their newfound skills into a side hustle. In order to grow their page, Learn By Doing created a variety of social media pages, like Facebook and YouTube, to show off their expertise.
- Secure your social media accounts. Pick a social media name that matches your name or business brand and aim to secure the same handles/profile names across all platforms. This makes it easier for followers to find you across social media networks. Make sure you save all your login information and have the right privacy settings to keep your information safe. Also check your user settings–is it set to private or public? If you want to grow a following, then it’s best to set it to public so that anyone can view your content and learn what you have to offer. Make sure your followers can contact you in the appropriate way, be it through direct messages or by commenting on your photos.
- What’s your value add? Social media has billions of users. What kind of value do you bring to the crowded landscape? While you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to sharing content, be sure you’re bringing some type of value to your followers, be it personal finance tips, recipes, tutorials, blogs, or a friendly dose of daily motivation.
In a market with lots of competitors, SupremePetFoods.us stands out as an award-winning experts of small pets food. While one could argue that the adorable pictures of bunnies and guinea pigs are value-add enough for their Instagram page, Supreme Pet Foods also provides important nutrition information to their followers – like how many treats is too many treats for your tiny pet.
- Think about imagery. If you set up an account for a visual platform like Instagram, think about the aesthetic and look of the types of photos you want to share. If you’re a fashion influencer, you want to aim for stylish photos in beautiful settings. If you’re a realtor, have polished and professional photos of all your listings. While it’s okay to change it up from time to time, don’t veer off-brand from your personal branding goals. For example, it would be odd or off-putting for a realtor who claims to be a friendly operator to start publishing trolling remarks about another real estate agency.
Envision.us is all about imagery on their Instagram page. Envision is a creative studio who works with companies and organizations to help with their creative strategy and branding. This is shown throughout their Insta feed with examples of past work, as well artistic photographs the founder, Mark, has taken on his journey – which also shows that creativity is top of mind for their employees!
- Think about messaging. Words matter. Think about striking the right tone and voice for your audience, and what kind of content will engage them most. If you’re a food critic, using a fun and descriptive way to describe the food you eat will definitely draw interest among other foodies. If you’re a DIY craftsman, a clear and instructional voice can empower your followers to learn the best hacks for home fixer-uppers.
Singular.design is a software design group who uses low- or no-code tools to help their clients create apps and digital products. Having worked with large companies like Disney, National Geographic, and Lego, Singular Design created a variety of different social pages to help them spread their informative-yet-modern message through creative design.
- Leverage the power of hashtags. Social media users use the hashtag symbol (which is the pound sign #) in a Tweet or Instagram or Facebook post to categorize their posts. If any other user clocks or taps a hashtag it will generate other posts and users who have used that hashtag. For example, if you publish a post and video of you doing the #perfectpushup on Twitter– anyone who types that in the Twitter search field will find your post, and anyone else who published similar content with that hashtag. Including relevant hashtags in your posts can help your target audience find you, and perhaps help you grow your following.
- Be consistent with output. Once you decide on the appropriate aesthetics and messaging for your personal brand, think about developing a social media content schedule. Will you publish daily or weekly? Do you have the capacity to publish multiple times a day? The more the better as long as it’s delivering value to your followers.
HawaiianStyleCafe.us, a local restaurant in Hilo, Hawaii, posts on their Facebook page regularly to keep their followers updated on their specials and customer favorites – like their famous oxtail soup or onion ring tower. Hawaiian Style Café’s posts are simple and straight to the point – making it easy for customers to get the information they need to make that easy decision to cook dinner another night.
- Be receptive. Be interactive. If people are commenting on your images or engaging with your content, be sure to acknowledge them, even if it’s with a simple and sweet emoji 😊. Of course, it’s better to be more interactive and start a conversation with them when appropriate. For example, if you posted about an amazing trip to Paris and a follower asks you a question about your favorite tourist site, be responsive and informative. They took time to engage with your content, so show them the same courtesy.
- Be real. While social media is a wonderful place to share aspirational content, it’s also okay to be real and share a moment of vulnerability. Don’t be afraid to share an obstacle you’ve faced, and how you went about navigating a difficult time. In the saturated world of social media where so many strive for picture perfect, your followers might find your honesty refreshing and authentic, and further strengthen their interest in your personal brand.
Being real doesn’t mean you just have to share the negatives – you can share the positives, too! Hafsas.garden is a Swedish gardener who not only maintains her own garden, but helps others create the lawns of their dreams. And while most of Hafsa’s Instagram posts include the beautiful bouquets she puts together from her own garden, Hafsa also includes pictures of her children helping her in the garden, showing she’s a mother as well as a gardener.
- Have a website and link to it. While social media is a powerful tool, you want to absolutely have a customized website for your personal brand. Your web domain should match your name, and it should be easy to spell and memorable. Your customized website can reveal more about your passion and expertise, more in-depth blogs and a more direct way to contact you. Make sure your website links to all your social media accounts to cross-promote you on other platforms.
No matter your business or passion, there’s a place for you online with an audience waiting to hear what you have to say. And with alternative domains like .us, .club, .design, and .garden, you don’t have to sacrifice your brand name for a great website URL. Get started today!