By Meg Jones – Meg Jones is a student at the College of William & Mary
Social media allow you to connect with users, gain credibility, and reach a wider audience in a way that is unmatched by any other platform. Your online relationship with customers can be strengthened immensely through the creation of one key tool: a personal brand. Not familiar with the term? Continue reading to find out how to create your personal brand and how social media can make it blossom.
What Is My Personal Brand?
A logo and a catchy slogan are not nearly enough to identify with and retain customers. Before you can focus on moving your business forward, take a step back and evaluate yourself. Forbes suggests asking the following questions as you contemplate your personal brand:
A personal brand encompasses your values and hobbies, your insight, and your opinions. It is what makes you you. Think of it as an image representing you for the rest of the world to see ーsomething that causes people to perceive you as positive and genuine. Are you clear and succinct in how you define your goals? Do you show a particular interest in a certain area, or do you find one specific value to be important? Your personal brand should incorporate your ideas in a succinct and expressive way. Think of it as your personal mission statement, expressed through the words you post and the content you share.
The best way to understand the process is to observe others who have put their own personal brands to use. Politicians run platforms based upon their public identities and how they have portrayed themselves. Adding personal touches (like photographs of themselves with their family members or playing the piano) to campaigns makes them seem relatable and honest, something voters value. Celebrities are also great examples of masters of personal image, especially Oprah Winfrey, whose mere name is linked to goodwill and advocacy.
Your personal brand is all about your own integrity and values as well as how you want to present yourself to customers. Posts that incorporate your “personality” are a great opportunity to create a relatable or consistent persona that can be identified by customers. According to a Nielsen Consumer Survey, only 33% of consumers feel as if they can trust companies’ messages and claims, but 90% of consumers have faith in them when hearing them from another human being. Personal branding offers you the opportunity to humanize your business and connect it to your own goals and visions rather than those of a seemingly distant, money-hungry corporate entity. While advertisements and logos are important, they cannot match the value of an interpersonal connection in the promotion of your business.
Social media are ideal tools for promoting the connections that will advance your personal brand. Users can interact with the content that your accounts post on multiple platforms, showing them the more approachable side to your business initiative at all times. They also make direct correspondence much easier for customers. When an actual person rather than an automated response is available to provide customers with information, trust grows. Interactive posts — like polls, open-ended responses, and instances of “swipe up to find out more” — connect with users even further by engaging them with the content directly in front of them. Creating an autobiography on your company’s webpage written in a casual, personal style (i.e,. using “I” statements and using emotional language) transforms your professional life into a story that pulls in those who interact with your social media and leads them to your business and its services. The humanization of your business is key in developing a comfortable, trusting relationship with customers.
Connections with other businesses and entrepreneurs are also easily facilitated through social media, as others’ platforms and products are more transparent and accessible. You have greater access to others’ personal brands, meaning that their values and beliefs are easily accessible. This can be useful if trying to partner with another business for a specific campaign or if searching for funders.
Your business is your creation, and its mission statement and personal brand are its heart and soul. Social media are a great way to capture that meaningful essence and solidify it. Consistent posts with strong thematic elements that show users your personal values and goals create stability and trustworthiness that could not exist without social media. Themes can include consistent designs and color schemes throughout posts. A core value or idea can also become thematic without explicitly mentioning it through the use of similar photos over time. This view into your personality and what is most important to you can make you seem more “human” to customers, meaning more approachable and trustworthy, and thus worthy of their business. While content that is focused more on personal characteristics is useful in creating your own personal reputation, it can also build a reputation for your business that will maintain a professional, engaging reputation and wow customers.
A strong social media presence also shows customers that you are modern and equipped for an ever-changing world. A “hip” personal brand that is active on multiple platforms is accessible and reliable. Having a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, along with other sites, means your content can be shared and gain popularity via likes or reposts. Using high-quality photos that showcase your personality is a great way to both convey your brand and attract users. Using specific hashtags or other unique elements shows that you are socially savvy and can encourage others to share your content, thus legitimizing your presence on social media while sharing your message! Lighthearted tweets, like those shared by these 10 companies, can serve as some inspiration to get your casual-yet-effective creativity flowing.
Reach a Wider Audience
In 2017, 355 million individuals used social media throughout Latin America, with the majority of users living in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram offer an unimaginable wealth of information and global connections to users, who see millions of ideas and products with each scroll of the finger.
Creating a personal presence on social media platforms broadens your ability to connect with potential customers from around the world. Pages that are user-friendly and informative while still engaging users through interesting graphics and eye-catching colors draw people to view your content and interact with your products. Reaching a wider audience means that your personal brand gains legitimacy through its acceptance by more and more of the target audience.
A personal brand is not about being a face or a professional position but a person. Through a comprehensive social media platform, your personal brand can be shared and promoted in a way that will grow your business’s connections, credibility, and customer base. All that it takes is a few clicks to get started with a transition from your corporate face to your face.
The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the YLAI Network or the U.S. government.