You may have a blog, a following on social media, or you may be looking into starting your own blog. As someone who helps businesses with their social media and website content on a daily basis, I know that it is a slow start. However, you want to define your brand first, even if it’s your personal blog, it’s still a brand.
You are what makes you, you. In fact, I sometimes feel trapped in “social comparison” mode. It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole. However, you will need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and remember this: social media is not real life.
I’ll just go further and expand that: the internet is not reality. There, I said it. You may like my writing style, some of my tips, etc., but you don’t really know me unless you know me in person. That’s the magic of the internet. You can create your personal brand, and it can go on to live on the internet and social media, it can define your career, and yet it will not define who you are inside. I just want you to know this before you go out and create your social media profiles or blog. I want you to remember that you can hold back what defines you, that is something you deserve to keep to yourself. However, now is the time to figure out who you are on social media and on your blog. Now is the time to decide what to hold back, and what you want to share with the world.
Find Your Niche
You could decide to be a lifestyle blogger, which encompasses fashion, travel, and beauty. You may be more athletic and decide to have a brand centered around that. Or you may decide you want to test recipes or be DIY focused. I encourage you not to jumble up all this content into one. Pick an avenue and run with it. If you decide you want to go down another avenue, then you can always trail off and create a new Instagram or Facebook focused on that. I’ve seen bloggers on Instagram do this with much success. They are telling their audience where to go. They are keeping their niches in line with their brand. You want to follow their lead.
Create Your Online Persona
Sometimes, I create online personas for clients as a part of their overall content strategy. A persona defines who their customer is exactly; her income, her personality, her family life, and her career. An online persona is crucial for defining who you are talking to when you write on your blog and on your social media profiles. Remember, when you are starting your brand, you want to define your target audience, you want to get in the mind of your reader, get to know them.
Create a Content Plan
You can do this for yourself, too. If you don’t want to get too in the weeds with this stuff, you can just start off by jotting down some ideas for content that are in line with your brand new persona. Your content plan or content strategy (basically a more thorough plan for your brand) will be where your vision sits before you put it on your blog or your Instagram.
Follow Your Own Brand Guidelines
Sure, you can post a few pictures of you on a good day, with good lighting, but what will it say? Is it going to be some generic Marilyn Monroe quote? Or is it going to tell a story? I generally like posts that tell a story. Even if it is telling you about how I found “XYZ product” or my weekend, I still want to create a narrative – a narrative that speaks to my audience. I’m not going to bait and switch my audience on this blog or on social media by showing them something that doesn’t line up with my personal brand, nor will I write a caption that doesn’t align with my audience. Why? I want a loyal following. That leads me to my next point…
Followers Vs. Engagement Vs. Domain Authority
It’s a trifecta. I mean this for Instagram primarily, which is what most bloggers and influencers are on. When I conduct social media influencer outreach, I am not just looking at the number of followers a person has. You could have 10,000 followers or you could have 10,000,000 followers, but if you have poor engagement and your page or website isn’t optimized, then I’m going to pass. Why? I don’t see your content or your brand as legitimate. You will still have moves to make before you will be ready for sponsored content. That is the truth.
You could post a million selfies, have thousands of followers, and still not get the recognition you think you deserve. If your “brand” is inconsistent, all over the place, if you don’t have an engaging narrative on your posts going, then all I am doing is looking at your face or looking at a pic of you and your significant other. I would rather post one amazing picture a week than a million pictures that just don’t engage.
Work on Your Engagement
You may need to take one good hard look at your content and go back to the easy steps I just laid out for you. You may need to archive your selfies (womp womp), and you may need to do some market research of your own before you’re ready.
I live with the mantra that my social media, my blog, and everything in between is always a work in progress. I know that my personal Instagram page is not where it needs to be. I’m always thinking of ways to create an engaging narrative for my audience. And if a post does not hit the nail on the head with my audience, I archive it or I delete it. I want to be authentic to my own personal brand, and I understand that not everything is going to work for my audience. I’d rather have a curated feed, that is in line with my persona, then a bunch of random posts that isn’t “me” (my online brand).
Test Your Personal Brand
If you want to conduct a fun experiment, compare your favorite Instagrammers, YouTubers, Twitterers, and more on Social Blade, and you’ll see the differences in engagement someone with a smaller following with more engaging content can have versus someone with a million (bought) followers and unengaging content. I often check my own profile to see what kind of progress I’m making for my personal brand.
Build Website Traffic
A great tip? Put your website or your blog first. Optimize it, build backlinks, and generate traffic. Then use your social media as a conduit to share your posts. You’ll gather more followers from website traffic, you’ll get a loyal following, and who knows, a brand may take notice. I’m going to be more eager to reach out to the social media influencers with a solid domain authority than someone without a website. Just saying.
I wish you the best with building your personal online brand. And I hope you take these best practices with a grain of salt and practice patience. It doesn’t happen overnight. And if you suddenly strike a gold mine with your personal brand, I hope you contact me. 😉