I’m often asked how to best pivot from a hobby or passion into building a personal brand. It’s no secret that we see an upward trend in social media, and as people grow themselves they naturally want to explore ways to help others do the same. But before you build the personal brand is sure to understand what you need to do before you can successfully launch it.
Here are ten things you should know before starting a personal brand on social media:
1) What is your story?
Put simply, who are you and why does anyone care about what you have to say? Every good entrepreneur has a side hustle and every great personal needs a strong core foundation from which to build. Think of your story as the anchor that supports everything else, building off of it naturally with each post or tweet. It may change over time as new experiences shape your worldview, but always come back to it as a touchstone for future content ideas.
2) What does success look like?
At the end of the day, all of us want to succeed. But what does success even mean? What would you consider a ‘win’? It’s very different for everyone and it’s important to have a clear path in order to properly measure your work. One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking their follower count matters when it doesn’t tell you anything about your impact or reach. You also don’t need millions of followers on social media to be successful, so pick a metric that aligns with your goals and just get started!
3) What do you stand for?
What makes you unique from everyone else out there? Are you an individual who only wants to talk about fashion trends while others are talking politics? Is more focused on one subject rather than a little bit of everything? What you stand for in your personal brand will naturally stem from what you’re already interested in, whether it is music, sports, technology, culture, etc. It’s important to know going into this so that when someone asks ‘what is your blog about?’ or ‘are you more on Twitter or Instagram?’ You can answer them with confidence and clarity.
4) Who are you following? And why?
In the early stages of building out your network, it’s important to identify who has been successful in what you want to accomplish and follow in their footsteps. Don’t just follow a bunch of big names because that’s what everyone else does or try to ‘game’ certain platforms by only following other users within a small network. This goes back to authenticity and doing what works for you. There are no shortcuts in building out a social media presence, especially when it comes to the little details (more on that below).
5) What does your website say?
Once you’ve begun to build up an audience, then it’s time to start making sure they can find everything about you online. Not everyone is going to be interested in following along with your life on Twitter or Instagram (although I do recommend having both), so give them other options like your own personal Facebook page or email address where they can stay up-to-date with news from around the web. If those elements don’t exist yet – get started as soon as possible!
6) How are you going to engage with your audience?
You’re creating a personal brand, not just throwing things online without any real direction. So what do you want to accomplish by building this platform? Do you have something specific in mind or are you simply trying to stand out amongst the sea of voices online? It’s okay if the answer is still ‘I don’t know but at least have an idea so that once people start following along it comes back around to what inspired you to create this space in the first place.
7) How often will you post?
We all know social media can eat up a good amount of time just scrolling through posts and engaging with others. But how much time are you willing to spend being active on these networks? This is a key to finding a good balance between having fun with the content you’re creating and being able to sustain it over time.
8) What are your posting guidelines?
When do you want to post things? Are there specific times that work best for you or people who follow along with what you’re doing? Maybe it’s once a day during lunch or something more fun like ~crazy~ midnight posts! Again, be realistic about how much time you have available but also make sure others are following along as closely as possible. You can always start slow and tweak, tweak, tweak depending on the response from the audience.
9) How are you going to keep track of what people are saying about you?
I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say ‘I love it when people mention my name on Twitter so I really should check that account more often’ but you never know! There are lots of ways to be notified when other users mention your username and the easier you make it for them, the better. This also makes sure that you’re seeing what’s happening across all your networks in one place without having to run through each account manually (been there, done that).
10) Who is going to help you maintain this?
This will come down to a few things: do you have someone in mind that can help or do you want to go solo? Do they need to be part of the content creation process (i.e. taking photos & videos) or just need to be on standby in case something goes wrong with the website? What are their strengths and experience?
I know it can get overwhelming but try not to take all of these questions too seriously. The point behind creating your own personal brand is to bring you closer to the content that YOU want, not what everyone else does! So start with the basics and go from there – at least now you have something solid to refer back to if things need a little tweaking. If you’re lost then try reading other people’s blogs or even asking for help because no one expects you to do this by yourself!