Using social media for personal brand building is an excellent practice that no entrepreneur nowadays can afford to go without.
Building a strong personal brand on social media isn’t just for influencers and young creatives. On the contrary, every single individual can find benefits from it - whether you work in corporate or creative settings.
Let's jump right in and explain what a personal brand is and how you can leverage social media for branding and positioning yourself on the market.
What Is a Personal Brand?
In theory, you already have a personal brand. We all do. Your personal brand is the public perception or image that people have of you.
A personal brand shows people who you are, what you stand for, what you do, your values, and more. Just like every business has a brand, every individual has one also.
Why Is Building a Personal Brand Important?
You might think that building a strong personal brand is only for freelancers, bloggers, or writers. Well, think again! A personal brand is essential even if you're a 9-to-5 employee and don't have your own business.
What's the first thing that every HR manager or boss will do after your interview? You guessed it, Google you and try to find your social media profiles. And what will they see there? You guessed again - your personal brand. And this can be decisive in whether or not the recruiter hires you for the job.
Here's why you should consider building a personal brand:
- You already have it, so why not build it with a purpose?
- Increased chances of landing new clients;
- Higher chances of employment;
- Presents you as an authority in your areas of expertise;
- Shows what you stand up for and value;
- Displays your skills and opinions on different subjects;
- Increases your exposure to new partners, clients, or collaborators;
- It makes you discoverable and increases your connections;
- If you have a company, personal branding will increase its exposure as well;
8 Tips for Using Social Media for Personal Brand Building
We researched and put together this list with the most valuable pieces of advice on using social media for personal brand building.
1. Define your areas of expertise
When establishing a personal brand, you always have to define your specialties or areas of expertise. Ask yourself what you want to work or be known for. Don't expect to be a successful jack of all trades.
Drill down until you define a narrow niche and find what you do best.
For instance, being a digital marketer is simply not enough to stand out nowadays. There are many digital marketers out there, so what makes you stand out? Let's take this example to drill down on possible sub-niches:
Digital marketing → Lead generation → Inbound lead generation (still too broad) → Inbound B2B lead generation in healthcare - now you've got it!
A broad niche means a larger search volume but also competition so high that it's impossible to stand out and get noticed. On the other hand, more narrowly targeted niches have less search volume and less competition saturation, making it easier to establish yourself and your brand as an authority.
2. Craft your personal brand statement
A personal brand statement is the same as a unique value proposition (UVP) for a brand. It's one or two sentences at most that sum up who you are and what you can do for people.
Your personal brand statement has to be eye-catching and grab the attention of potential clients, customers, or employers right away.
Here are some great tips for creating a killer personal brand statement that leaves an immediate impression on people:
People have a love/hate relationship with brutally honest people, but that's precisely what increases their authority, so don't be afraid to be opinionated. Not everyone will agree, but the people who do will become your most loyal followers.
A brand statement should be two sentences maximum, so remove any filler words and make it more concise. Let's see some examples.
Bad: Hi there! I'm Samantha, and I'm here to help you rank in your area with the help of local SEO best practices. I have 5+ years of experience and will do my best to optimize your business page.
Good: Helping local businesses rank higher on search engines for 5+ years.
You probably didn't even finish reading the first example, if we're honest. The second one, however, is catchy and straightforward. You know what this person does and how they can help you right away.
Of course, you can use fancy words to fit into a community and leave a good impression. However, don't exaggerate when stating your capabilities.
If your personal brand statement says that you can help SMEs increase their revenue by 30%, your audience will expect to see some proof, not just hear about it.
You're allowed to change your personal brand statement as you upgrade and find yourself. You might have started as a Canva designer but have now mastered Photoshop and InDesign. Naturally, you'd want your personal brand statement to be current with what you do at the moment.
That's why you must often reevaluate your statement and see if it still fits your personal brand.
3. Design your brand identity
The fact that you're a personal brand and not a company doesn't mean that you shouldn't have your own brand identity.
A great example of this is Neil Patel. He started as a personal brand, sharing genius SEO tips and content that brought so much value that people were asking why he gives it for free! But, it was this free content that established him as an authority in his niche.
Although he's a personal brand, Patel still has his brand identity, brand colors, logo, theme, tone of voice, etc.
Here's why brand identity is essential:
- Consistency - using the same brand identity across channels promotes an image of consistency and seriousness;
- Recognizability - by using the same logo, colors, and theme on all your social media profiles, you become easily recognizable;
- Memorability - brand identity serves one other important task, and that's for people to remember you after interacting with your brand;
Having a consistent brand identity, including tone of voice, image, and values, is critical for building a following. People follow you for a reason, and they expect to see and hear more of what they like.
Can you imagine what happens if a personal brand account famous for promoting veganism suddenly posts about the benefits of eating meat? They would lose most of their followers.
The same applies to your personal brand. Find your brand identity and the values you stand for, and stay consistent with your posts.
4. Be present omnichannel
Don't be intimidated using different social media networks. Even if you've never used them before, there are tons of free resources out there that can help you.
With that said, you don't have to use every single social media platform out there, only the ones that fit your brand. And, how to know if a platform fits your brand?
Easy! Check where your audience hangs out.
For instance, if your audience is C-level executives of SMEs or large corporations, LinkedIn would be your best bet. If your audience is mainly teenagers and young adults, check out Instagram or TikTok. If you're good at writing and have strong opinions on a topic, join Twitter and establish yourself as a thought leader.
Let's see how to build a brand on some of the largest social media networks.
Twitter Personal Branding
Often, individuals with corporate job roles are put off by social media platforms like Twitter, assuming they're too childish or not serious enough for their business needs. But, according to a recent Statista report, 38.5% of Twitter's users are aged 25-34, while the second-largest age group is 25-49 with 20.7%. Surprised? Keep reading.
What better way to bust this myth than TESLA and the Twitter revolution of Elon Musk - TESLA spends 0$ on marketing! Yes, you read that right. They managed to sell more than half a million custom electric cars with zero marketing costs.
How is that possible? Well, because of Musk's strong Twitter game! Twitter seems to be Elon Musk's platform to vent out and give his opinion on controversial topics. People either love or hate him. There's no middle ground. But, no matter what group you belong to, his goal is achieved - people talk about him!
Here are some principles Musk uses in his personal branding strategy on Twitter that you can also implement:
- Authenticity - he's always authentic, no matter if it agrees with his audience;
- Humility - despite being one of the wealthiest people on this Earth, Musk is always humble. He's even admitted to being afraid of how far technology can progress in the future;
- A social cause - the first thing you think of when we mention TESLA is electric cars that are good for the environment. Elon Musk stands for an important cause, and you should find yours too;
- Risk over comfort - Elon Musk is a known innovator and creator who isn't afraid to step outside his comfort zone. Often, you'll have to risk being blatantly honest to keep your personal brand authenticity, and that's a good thing;
Facebook Personal Branding
Facebook is the social media with the largest audience, so it's a great place to start building your brand. However, there's one issue with using Facebook as a platform for personal branding - the lack of engagement.
Facebook's algorithms became notorious since they changed to show only the posts with the most engagement. That means that not all of your followers will see your content unless you're creating something valuable that people want to see.
To increase your personal brand exposure on Facebook, here are some practical tips you can implement:
- Create groups around your niche - to meet likeminded people and to enjoy the increased authority as an admin;
- Join groups related to your niche - if you're a software developer, search for groups like freelance developers, job opportunities, software development tips and tricks, etc.;
- Don't share links only - Facebook and Instagram hate sending people off their platforms. That's why you might have noticed a decreased engagement on your blog shares but an increased one when you post a photo like a quote without a link. Facebook wants its users to stay on the platform, so adjust your content accordingly;
LinkedIn Personal Branding
Whether you belong to the corporate or tech world, LinkedIn is one of the best platforms to connect with like-minded individuals professionally.
Unlike Facebook or Instagram, LinkedIn is a professional network where people seek jobs, find clients, or establish connections. Compared to oversaturated social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn still has a pretty solid reach, allowing you to enrich your posts with hashtags to gain exposure.
Here are some tips for your LinkedIn personal brand:
- Update your profile - ensure your profile is up to date. Highlight your strengths and skills, update your employment history, education, and add any certificates;
- Stay professional - it's ok to bring your personality forward and show some authenticity that makes you stand out, but remember that LinkedIn is still a professional network;
- Add valuable comments - a great way to establish your personal brand on LinkedIn is to communicate with people, share tips, and exchange opinions;
- Get endorsements - connect with people you've worked with before and endorse some of their skills. Endorsements are a type of testimonial that will increase your authority and trustworthiness;
- Catchy headline and summary - remember when we spoke about having a personal brand statement before? Well, your LinkedIn headline and summary sections are the perfect place to use this statement;
- Connect with thought leaders - every industry or niche has authority figures or thought leaders that people want to hear from. Connect with them and don't be afraid to join discussions if you have something valuable to add;
Instagram Personal Branding
Instagram is great for building a personal brand for most individuals but not all. For instance, Instagram is the perfect platform for photographers, models, influencers, artists, musicians, architects, cooks, travel bloggers, and anything else that's esthetic and advertised through visual media like photos or videos.
However, if you're offering legal services or software development, it might not be the right platform for you.
Let's see some tips to help you build your brand on Instagram:
- Visually appealing content - after all, Instagram is a visual platform, so people are interested in seeing esthetically pleasing photos or videos;
- The use of hashtags - use the most relevant hashtags in your posts to increase your audience and reach;
- Maintain a theme for your page - it's not just your photos but your entire profile that should look pleasing to the eye. Without a theme, your posts will be all over the place and affect the first impression of people that land on your profile;
- Use stories - adopt the practice of posting stories and use Instagram's other new features such as Reels to increase your engagement and reach;
- Reach out and collaborate - depending on your industry, you can try collaborating with Instagram influencers with a similar number of followers, and offer them a shoutout-for-shoutout;
5. Share valuable content
Content is king! And that remains the case as you're trying to build your personal brand with social media. When we say content, we don't mean written content only. Instead, we refer to content as a broader term, including videos, infographics, pictures, GIFs, eBooks, blogging, etc.
In fact, according to a 2021 Contently report, video is the type of content format that people enjoy the most (at 30%), preceding visuals like memes and photos (28%), and written content (25%).
Here are some content format types you can choose, depending on your needs:
- Slides or presentations
Creating this content is the first part. The next equally important one is distributing all those bite-sized pieces of content all over social media. Social media scheduling tools and content repurposing can help you with that. Some other great platforms you can use to distribute your content and increase your reach are:
- Written text - Medium, Reddit, Quora, personal websites, guest blogging for authority sites, etc.
- Videos - YouTube, TikTok, Instagram Reels, Vimeo, Twitch, and more
- Infographics - social media profiles. Slideshare, Reddit, Visual.ly, etc.
- Courses and webinars - personal website, Udemy, Skillshare, social media, and more
- Podcasts - Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, website, social media, etc.
- eBooks - as a lead magnet on social media or websites, Amazon Kindle, etc.
On the subject of creating content, it isn't just about any content. We're talking about content that your audience would find valuable. Content that will teach your connections something or show them a new perspective on something. Or content that provokes and raises questions. All in all, you have to post content that would engage your audience.
6. Use tools to automate posting
Creating and posting content is one of the most time-consuming activities for marketers and copywriters. We're all aware of the importance of regular posting and engaging your audience. But, if you're present on four different social media platforms, that means that you have to post content at least once a day on one of them.
Being consistent in your content creation and posting is difficult if you try to do it manually. You can use social media automation and scheduling tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, Later, and similar to make your job easier. Most of them integrate with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other major networks.
You can use some of these social media scheduling tools to prepare your posts in advance by choosing a date, time, and platform where to post them. With this practice, you can just spend half a day creating and scheduling your entire content for one or two weeks ahead and free some time off your hands.
7. Synchronize your contacts
Have you noticed that social networks ask you to import your phonebook or Gmail contacts? If you're one of us that always skip this step, pay attention to it next time.
You'll be surprised to see how many people you already know are on the same network. By connecting to these people, you increase your exposure to other connections in their network with a higher likelihood of knowing you.
Growing your following is an undeniable part of building a personal brand on social media, so it's a pity not using the contacts and connections you've already got.
8. Carefully mix private and business
Of course, when we're talking about a personal brand, showing your face is expected and a given. People want to know who's behind the content, and they want to be able to put a face to it. In fact, due to how active we are online, you can’t make a sharp cut anymore between private and business.
However, be careful when mixing private and professional if you're working on your personal brand. Depending on the industry you're into, there are unwritten rules on how much "private" stuff you can allow lurking on your profile.
The nature of your posts or whether they're private or business-related will also depend on the platform you're using. For instance, we all know Facebook isn't exactly LinkedIn. On Facebook, people typically post content like their summer parties and birthdays, and these are things that would probably be inappropriate to share on LinkedIn.
Be careful when building your personal brand on Facebook since it's discoverable by your clients and potential employers. Be aware of that and adjust the privacy setting on posts that shouldn't be publicly visible.
To Wrap Up
A 2021 DataReportal research shows that there are currently 4.20 billion social media users, which equals 53.6% of the entire world population! Incredible, right?
Numbers like this show us that there's an audience for everything, and every personal brand can succeed with a well-thought-out social media strategy.
Hopefully, we've managed to help you use social media for personal brand building and getting the most out of it. Have any other tips to share with us on using social media for personal branding?