An Easy Guide to Personal Branding Using Social Media
What is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is the conscious and intentional effort to create and influence public perception of an individual by positioning them as an authority in their industry, elevating their credibility, and differentiating themselves from the competition, to ultimately advance their career, increase their circle of influence, and have a larger impact. (Wikipedia)
Branding guru Tom Peters (1997) launched the Personal Branding movement with an essay published in Fast Company under the title “The Brand Called You. He wrote: “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are the CEOs of our own companies: Me, Inc…. To be in business today, our most important job is to be the head marketer for the brand called “You”…… You are a brand. You are in charge of your brand… You need to think of yourself differently. You’re not an “employee”, you don’t “belong to” any company for life, you’re not defined by your job title and you’re not confined by your job description……. Being CEO of Me Inc. requires you to grow yourself, to promote yourself, to get the market to reward yourself.”
At its best, “Personal branding represents a self-centred and highly individualistic approach to self-marketing. (Shepherd, 2010)”
“Dan Schwabel, one of the famous expert on personal branding, describes it as “the process by which individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leveraging it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal”(Vitberg, 2009).”
Typically, a personal brand will be built from an individual’s identity, but it should be relevant to the job market they are trying to break into.
Importance of Personal Branding:
Having a strong personal brand is an important asset in today’s online, virtual, and individual age. It is becoming increasingly essential and is the key to personal success.
In their article “Marketing and the Recasting of the Professional Self,” authors Lair, Sullivan, and Cheney (2005) explained that personal branding is the modern evolution and further development of what appeared previously in popular self-improvement books. Rather than an approach oriented around self-improvement, Lair, Sullivan, and Cheney (2005) suggested personal branding is more related to “self-packaging” and the ability to positively affect public opinion of one’s digital brand.
Personal branding, therefore, can lend itself to instilling images of creativity, philanthropy, warmth, women’s empowerment, specific talents, gentleness, caring, and a passion of interest in specific areas in other’s minds (Hood, Robles, & Hopkins, 2015).
Having a strong Personal Brand has benefits. It:
· Stimulates meaningful perceptions about the values and qualities that you stand for,
· Tells others: who you are, what you do, what makes you different, how you create value for them, and what they can expect when they deal with you,
· Influences how others perceive you,
· Creates expectations in the mind of others of what they will get when they work with you,
· Creates an identity around you which makes it easier for people to remember who you are,
· Gets your prospects to see you as the only solution to their problem,
· Puts you above the competition and makes you unique and better than your competitors in the marketplace (Rampersad,2011)
How to Use Social Media for Personal Branding:
Prospective employers often consult social media platforms of prospective candidates before making a finalized job offer to eliminate those candidates whose social profiles display conduct, photos, character, and behaviour that does not look desirable or does not ultimately match what the employer is seeking (Hood, Robles, &. Hopkins, 2015).
Effective Ways to Use Social Media:
1. Choosing an area of expertise and focusing content on that domain.
2. Being consistent across all the social media profiles. That helps to convey reliability, trustworthiness, and credibility.
3. Publish social media content consistently with informative content. This helps in people / followers waiting to get the content and make use of it.
4. Connect with others and expanding the network of followers.
5. Differentiating offering with trustworthy advice and information so people treat the content as authoritative and creditworthy.
Good Examples of Using Social Media for Personal Branding:
Different social media platform has its niche to help in branding initiatives:
Twitter: This platform is an online news and social networking site where people communicate in short messages called tweets. Twitter helps in sharing quick thoughts with the network by way of tweets, microblogging, or video streaming through periscope with the hope that more people can engage, follow, and retweet that information. It provides an instant platform to go viral, if done strategically.
Netflix uses its Twitter account to create original moments and commentary within pop culture. (6 Great Examples of Brands Using Twitter Effectively, 2020)
Instagram: is useful for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone. Users can share images with people who are connected via a ‘followers’ list. (What Is Instagram and Why Should You Be Using It?, 2020)
Instagram has added a new row of story stickers for Pride month. Every year Instagram has a new set of stickers for Pride month.
Facebook: offers a low-cost marketing strategy platform. Marketing activities that would cost thousands of dollars through other channels can be used on Facebook for a fraction of the cost. This makes it ideal for small to medium businesses with a limited marketing budget. Larger businesses can also trial marketing concepts and themes through Facebook before committing to bigger campaigns.
Facebook business page is a place where you can publicise your business name, address and contact details, and briefly describe your products and services. You can also talk about your staff, history, or any other aspect of your business that is likely to attract other Facebook users and create interest in what you do. (Benefits of Facebook for business | Business Queensland, 2020)
LinkedIn: is a social network that focuses on professional networking and career development. LinkedIn platform is helpful to display your resume, search for jobs, and enhance your professional reputation by posting updates and interacting with other people in the network including expanding the network.
Pinterest: is a social media network that allows users to share images associated with project, goods, and services, and to visually discover new interests by browsing images others have posted. Pinterest is like a web-based pin board or bulletin board — but with greater organizational functionality.
Snap Chat: was initially focused on private, person-to-person photo sharing, but one can now use it for a range of different tasks, including sending short videos, live video chatting, messaging, creating caricature-like Bitmoji avatars, and sharing a chronological “story” that’s broadcasted to all the followers.
YouTube: has a range of uses and benefits for business that can complement those offered by other communication channels. YouTube lets businesses show their products in action. This is particularly useful for companies with limited physical distribution channels, including those who mostly sell over the internet.
With social media channels, the advantage to post text, upload pictures and videos can be a powerful way to communicate with customers and potential customers, allowing them to see the product or service without having to visit company’s premises.
Social media can also be utilised to ‘talk’ to existing and potential customers by posting and receiving messages increasing credibility and promoting long-term relationships with other users.
By paying attention to what the consumer thinks about the business or the industry, a product, or a marketing campaign can provide valuable insights in developing new initiatives.
Some Examples of Brands Which Have Used Social Media Effectively:
Missguided, UK fast fashion retailer with 3.4 million Instagram followers, is the go-to platform for updates on new fashion launches, fashion tutorials,
Dominos, fast food pizza delivery using well integrated ‘pizza legends’ campaigns to garner interest,
Nike with their ‘Just do it’ campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick and generating record engagement,
or the Danish toymaker giant Lego, with 6.5 million YouTube subscribers, launching ‘Lego Ideas’ campaign where people could submit their own creations which can ultimately lead to an official set being created. This involvement in product development is truly social and is just one part of brand activity that gives ownership of Lego to its fans. (Davis, 2020)
Social media platforms, are a powerful tool to get visibility. Since these medium have the power to reach a wide audience instantly, they can be power for good, if used with right intent.
There are many problems in the world needing attention and awareness. By looking for solutions and engaging in constructive discussions, each one of us can learn more, offer solutions and add to perspectives.
By listening actively more can be achieved and in our small ways each one of us can be the force of change for the common good.
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