Personal branding is a must these days.
With the rise of social media, and the gig economy, it has become increasingly important to establish a strong personal brand that sets you apart from the competition.
But where do you begin?
You need to start with a self-evaluation.
How do people view you now? What words would people use to describe you? If people didn’t know you, what would they think that you did for a living? What do people say after they meet you for the first time?
You also need to figure out your purpose. What is your mission? Mission statements aren’t just for businesses, they can apply to a personal brand too.
It’s not about showing how cool or interesting you are; it’s about providing value to others.
James Martin, @made.by.james on Instagram and owner of Baby Giant Design Company, emphasizes the importance of understanding your purpose and mission beyond just making money.
He said, “Ultimately, if you love it and you stick it out for long enough, the success will come. But the reason you’re getting into it in the first place is to make a difference. To achieve this, you need to reflect on why you’re doing what you’re doing and who you’re trying to help.”
You need to have a clear mission and promise that guides everything you do.
Martin said, “This mission and promise should be something that you write down and refer back to often, so that you can stay focused and motivated.”
But equally important is defining who you are speaking to. Without a clear understanding of your target audience, you will struggle to connect with them and build a meaningful relationship.
Martin said, “Who is that person? Figure that out down to the last detail and then just focus on that all the time. This means understanding their needs, values and how to communicate with them effectively.”
If you’re not sure who that audience is, then make them up. Who do you want your audience to be?
Write down who that ideal person is.
Are they male or female? Are they married or single? What kind of music do they listen to? What kind of car doe they drive? How old are they?
You want to have a crystal-clear picture of who that person is.
Once you have a strong sense of who you are, what you offer and who your audience is, then you can start to communicate that to the world.
This can take many forms: From the way you dress, to the way you speak, to what you share on social media.
The biggest mistake that I see people make is that they aren’t sending a consistent message on social media.
They want to have a polished personal brand but they’re posting articles about project management on LinkedIn, on Instagram they’re posting pictures of their cats and on TikTok they’re dancing.
Martin said, “As long as you’re trying to be consistent, you’ll get there. It’s just about building a routine. This can involve posting regularly on social media, creating a content calendar and ensuring that your messaging is aligned across all channels.”
But you need to make sure you’re on solid ground first, so make sure you do a thorough self-evaluation and have a defined audience. Otherwise, all the posting is just a waste of time. Begin with the end in mind and be well thought out.
Personal brands don’t just happen overnight. They take time, planning and work.
I never said it would be easy.
But once you get it right, it will provide more opportunities than you can imagine.