Identity, consistency, and uniqueness. Remember these three words if you plan to brand yourself on social media.

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Whether you are building your own brand, or just want to increase your online social media presence, here we discuss the importance of branding yourself on social media (not just your business), with some of our favourite media influencers.

With the deafening, digital noise, how can you stand out from the crowd?

“Should your brand yourself based on your target audience?”

or

“Based on your perception of who you are?”

It’s a question of whether you should follow what the crowd says or be yourself and build a personal brand that is just plain you.

In his post, Creating a More Effective to Personal Brand Succeed, Ira Kalib, President of Kalib & Associates, gave a metaphor of the two components of branding.

“It is useful to think of branding as having two components that I metaphorically call the lock and the key. The lock refers to the target audience that has a need, and the key is the image of the product you create to fill that need better than your competitors. In the case of your personal brand, you are the product. You have more control if you create your own brand image (key). If you don’t, others will create one for you.”

While we have discussed branding many times before here, we haven’t discussed the need to ‘brand yourself’ or personal branding, which can be an important step in building your business.

Today, many business owners and founders are asking themselves: how do I brand myself online, and not just my business? And, how do I get traction through my social channels?

Well, we thought we’d give you some pointers here because it matters.

Why It’s Important to Know Yourself and Your Audience

Which brings us back to the first word: identity.

We must know who we are to have “more control” instead of allowing other people dictate who we should be.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Once your identity is established, you must also spend time getting to know your audience to engage and serve them consistently.

You need to know where they hang out online – social media and online communities – and be authentic and sincere, “to fill that need better than your competitors,” as Kalib brilliantly emphasized.

Besides, we can’t fool people these days.

Social media itself is a weapon of mass destruction and construction, if we may put it this way.

It’s the best weapon to amplify your mission and vision. Your opinions. Your ideas.

With a well-mapped out plan of course. It’s the same weapon where people voice out good and bad things about you or your company.

How you handle the criticisms, whether destructive or constructive, will make or break your brand.

For the record:

I believe the best policy is to ignore trolls full stop – and engage whole heartedly with your fans and critics alike. And do it with an open mind and a plan to learn, develop and grow.

You can start with these questions to help you on your quest:

  • Who are you? (I’m an entrepreneur, coach, speaker, digital marketer, etc.)
  • Who are your target audience? (You can create a step-by-step buyer’s persona, detailing your market)
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What kind of voice do you want to build? (Funky, laid back, humorous, formal, etc.)
  • What verbiage or vocabulary would you like to use? (This also depends on what type of audience you’d be engaging; e.g. millennials, baby boomers, etc.)
  • What colors and types of design should you use to stand out? (You can use color psychology to create your branding)

Five Internet Influencers: What We Can Learn From the Big Guys

Let’s look at five internet influencers and learn a thing or two on how they brand themselves on social media.

While you might not be working directly on a big personal brand like these guys do, we can learn a lot from them on how to build our own business personas online.

It’s important to have an authentic figure from the top that is a part of your brand. If you are looking to build your social media presence in any way, pay attention! These guys know there stuff and we can learn a lot from them!

1. “Know who you are” Michael Hyatt – Your Virtual Mentor

One of the things that strike us with Michael Hyatt’s website is the clarity of his identity.

How he positions himself gives us an overview of who he is and what he offers.

He’s your virtual mentor. He helps you “win at work and succeed in life.”

When you visit his social media accounts – Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – he preaches the same thing. “I’m your virtual mentor, here are the tools you can use at work and in life.”

On his Facebook fan page, he promotes his free e-book, “Shave 10 Hours Off Your Workweek.” There’s also consistency on his Twitter bio and with his updates.

His Instagram posts feature a combination of motivation quotes, his personal life, and what he’s doing at work, reflecting his identity, too.

“If people see my brand, what’s that one thing that’ll come first on their mind?”

2. “Choose 1-3 of your expertise and start serving” Neil Patel – Author, Top Internet Marketer, and Influencer.

Neil Patel is known as the SEO guru and internet marketer and has helped Fortune 500 companies generate leads and sales through online marketing. His expertise is to help people succeed through online marketing.

While this is a broad topic, the types of content he provides are highly segmented for each of his target audience.

For example:

For advanced marketers, he has a private Facebook group, the “Advanced Marketing Program,” where members constantly spitball ideas, share insights and tips or get peer-to-peer free consultations.

When you visit his social media accounts – Facebook and Civilized Caveman as he shares his recipes to his community.

But for him, a real cooking show on Snapchat is more effective in reaching out to his audience, making him one of the Top 25 Snapchat Influencers.

His Snapchat Cooking Show not only builds him credibility, but that snappy, authentic way of showing how he gets it done makes it more engaging with his audience.

Thought to ponder: “Where do my followers usually hang out online?” Find out where your followers hang out and meet them there online!

4. “Choose your vocabulary” – Gary Vaynerchuk, Serial Entrepreneur and Internet Influencer.

If you’re the type of entrepreneur who loves to hustle, then you know who this guy is.

Gary is known for his v-logs and motivational, no-bullshit, straightforward business tips – and yes, he’s the man who’s comfortable saying the word that starts with the letter “S” and ends with “T,” and the one that starts with “F” and “K” in his talks and social media captions.

He’s using strong, actionable words and is consistent using them – move, hustle, make, go, do, execute, win – whether he’s in a talk or on his social media accounts – on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Your vocabulary reflects your brand as well.

This is something you can map out as you need to go back to your identity and be consistent about it.

Gary’s way of talking and choice of words is as natural as he is and matches his personality. No bullshit, no nonsense talks. He’s the guy who has something to show and has done it and is still making things happen.

As he put it:

“If you make the best shit, you will win.”

Thought to ponder: “What kind of words match my personality or company?”

5. “Be unique and transparent.” – Sandi Krakowski, Social Media Influencer, and Digital Marketer.

One of the things you’ll find unique on Sandi Krakowski is her bold hair color.

But that’s not all, her passion for work and flashes of smiles are contagious. While she might not be the most well known on our list, we thought we’d share her as an example of an attainable social media marketing goal.

Connecting with your audience on social media does not mean you have to have millions of YouTube followers and views — it’s more imporant to connect fully with your target audience. While, we love the big guys on our list as well, there are many things to be said for following someone like Sandi.

If you’re following her social media accounts, such as Facebook fan page, she’s engaging with the community via Facebook live and comments, mentoring small business owners and entrepreneurs.

She’s very open in sharing her faith with the community, praying for them, engaging by asking questions, and simply sharing her personal life. Her Twitter account reflects her brand – a mentor, a coach and a social media influencer.

When you’re transparent and authentic, you become contagious that people are attracted to you and the brand itself.

Thought to ponder: “How do I want to be remembered by people?”

What does authenticity look like for you? For your business and brand. Finding that special something about you is important for your brand – whether you are branding yourself online, or your e-commerce site.

Some Final Takeaways

If you observe these social media influencers and entrepreneurs, one of the things that you find common in how they brand themselves is that they use video content or v-logs to get connected with the community.

That’s the crucial part.

Videos and stories sell. You need to be where your target audience is and then built from there.

Once you have finally established your identity, be consistent and embrace your uniqueness. At the end of the day, as Janet Louise Stephenson put it:

“Authenticity requires a certain measure of vulnerability, transparency, and integrity.”

Who do you follow online? How do you brand yourself? Let us know in the comments below.

Amy Aitman is the owner of 8menCan, a content agency based in Toronto, Canada. She works to create content strategies and digital marketing plans for businesses around the world. Away from the office, Amy takes her team out for chicken tacos and martins, extra dirty, extra olives of course.

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