The internet is a great resource for creating and promoting a personal brand. But still, the internet has some peculiarities and if you don't pay attention, your personal brand won't take off.
I invite you to honestly answer a few questions to ask yourself before you start promoting your personal brand.
1. What's your goal?
What do you want? To create a loyal community, to get sales, to upgrade your image and expertise?
There will be a different strategy for each situation. Answer simple questions like "Who is my target audience? and "How do I want them to see me?"
Write down the image you want to create. Make sure you have evidence to support your image (testimonials, cases studies, a portfolio, recommendations, knowledge, skills, connections, etc.).
Always keep your goal in mind and check your work against your goal. List the points that will help you understand that you are moving towards your goal. That way you'll never deviate from it.
2. What are your hobbies?
What do you enjoy doing the most—both in your free time and in your career?
Think of activities, interests or conversation topics that excite and energize you.
Your hobbies force you to get out of bed at 5 a.m. on Saturday or to talk enthusiastically with others.
How do your passions align with what you do best?
3. What are your main strengths?
What roles and responsibilities do you excel in?
What kind of breakdown will your company face if you suddenly leave?
Here are examples of some strengths, to help you start thinking about your own: analysis, collaboration, leadership, delegation, empowerment of others, forecasting, predicting risk, mentoring, selling, innovating.
4. Who is your target audience?
There are different ways to define your target audience. We will break down the 5W method. These are 5 questions to help define audience characteristics:
What? We highlight the main goods/services we want to offer.
Who? Figure out who will need your product or service. At this stage, it is convenient to use mind maps.
Determine the demographic, geographic and social characteristics of your target audience: gender, age, social status, financial capabilities, place of residence, type of activity where they spends their free time (social networks, parks, shops, etc.).
Why? What issue will you solve for the audience with your product or service? What benefits does it give (increases status, improves health, saves time)? Identify psychological and behavioral characteristics: pain, problems, client interests, thinking and communication styles.
When? When and under what circumstances will a customer decide to purchase a product?
Where? You need to understand where users will look for a product, and place ads that target those places.
5. What are your values?
Personal values are what matter to us—what motivates us and guides our decisions.
For example, you might value honesty. If so, you practice honesty whenever possible, and you think it's important to say what you really think.
6. What are your SWOTs?
Strengths - These are your advantages, values and unique skills.
Weaknesses - These are you disadvantages as compared to your competition.
Opportunities - These are what give you leverage and help you grow your brand and business.
Threats - These are difficulties and external factors that do not depend on the decisions you make.
Strengths and weaknesses are internal and speak to your potential brand value.
Opportunities and threats are external and help you anticipate what you will face in the next stages of building your brand.
SWOT analysis is an invaluable personal branding exercise.
7. Do you have a content plan?
Inspiration is very fickle. Today it is there and I am writing, tomorrow it is not and I won't write. You need a content plan, instead.
A content plan is a working tool that will save you a lot of time thinking about posts.
You need to understand in advance what content you will post, where, and when. Regular updates are not about inspiration. They're about discipline and efficiency.
Create a simple table, work with it regularly, and include any changes, ideas and types of posts that you can prepare.
Always be aware of the difference between audiences on different social media platforms, and how the different platforms work. Whether you post your content on this site or that site, and how often you post, will depend on this.
8. Will your audience want to read your content?
Drive away the temptation to slip into creating boring or monotonous posts.
On Facebook, users love long, smart posts. On Instagram, captions go well with a good photo. But no matter what you post and where, your content should be easy to read—even if you're using expert terms.
And don't just post about your work. Your audience will see you as more human—and more trustworthy—if you also post about your life sometimes.
9. Will you go outside your personal profiles?
Social media promotion is not limited to your personal profiles. Outside these profiles, there is an immense space where you can network and spread your expertise.
You need to know the key communities where your audience is located, and the pages of other experts and competitors in your niche.
Write meaningful comments and participate in discussions. Network with other experts and respond to your followers regularly. The more engagement you have on your own page and in other spaces, the more likely you are to get clients and customers.
10. Are you ready to adequately respond to negativity?
When you start drawing attention to yourself, be prepared to start getting criticism.
Alas, some enjoy being nasty and criticizing others.
What position will you take when someone is rude to you?
Your reaction to negativity will have a huge impact on your image.
There is no magic solution here—different responses work for different people. Some people ignore haters, some block them, some respond kindly, and some respond in kind. No matter which route you choose, be aware that it will become part of your brand.