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What is Personal Branding? An Influencer's Guide.
This article explores personal branding for influencers, the benefits of cultivating your personal brand and tips for influencers building their personal brand. (5 min. read)
Influencers understand the importance of personal branding better than anyone.
You’ve identified what sets you apart from other influencers and what makes you unique. So, odds are, if you’ve been successful at building a following, you’re already great at personal branding!
However, if you’re a new influencer, or you’re looking for tips and advice on how to take your personal branding to the next level, this article will be your guide.
- What personal branding is;
- The benefits of personal branding; and
- Tips and advice for influencers building their personal brand.
What is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is how you present yourself as an individual to the public.
- Communicating who you are and what you want to be known for;
- Sharing your skills and how you add value; and
- Showing what makes you different from your competition.
Effective personal branding involves controlling the narrative around who you are and what you bring to the table.
The Benefits of Personal Branding
Here are three ways that putting a conscious effort into developing your personal brand will benefit you.
1. Finding your audience
Chances are, if you’re going for too broad an appeal without a niche or focus, you’ll never truly connect with anyone.
Honing in on your voice will make it much easier to build and find your audience as an influencer.
While you may not appeal to everyone, you’ll build a strong and loyal following that will be the foundation for growing your audience long term.
2. Standing out from your competitors
Consciously building your personal brand and seeing yourself through the eyes of possible buyers, clients or sponsors will make you stand out from other influencers.
Cultivate your social media presence, website and personal aesthetic with an eye towards consistency and individuality.
You’ll be seen as an expert and thought leader who knows their stuff!
3. Connecting with your following
Think of an influencer you feel like you know without actually knowing them. That feeling you have most likely isn’t an accident.
Go all in on your personal brand and communicate your authentic self. You’ll not only grow your following, but you’ll see engagement increase and trust develop.
7 Personal Branding Tips for Influencers
Whether you’re a seasoned influencer or brand new to the game, here are seven tips for influencers looking to further develop their personal brand.
1. Determine your core values
As an influencer with a captive audience, you have the power to deliver any message you want. This can be a lot of pressure, but it’s also an opportunity.
Determine what’s important to you by identifying your core values. These values should come through loud and clear with your personal brand. Everything you do should align with them.
Tip: Start by identifying your core values from a core values list. Highlight the ones that resonate with you. Then, prioritize your top five in order of importance.
In a world of social media filled with noise, users crave authenticity. Communicating your core values will also build trust with your followers. Being “fake” for followers won’t only be a miserable and exhausting exercise for you, but your followers will eventually sniff it out.
2. Create a vision, mission, and values statement for your personal brand
Just like how companies create them, there’s no better way to get where you want to be than by creating a vision, mission, and values statement.
While you may not necessarily be selling a particular product as an influencer, you’re selling yourself. Therefore, building a mission and vision statement that builds on your core values will not only inform your raison d’etre as an influencer, but carve you a path forward in a noisy, ever-changing online space.
Your mission identifies what you hope to achieve as an influencer, while your vision identifies what that will look like.
Close your eyes and picture your ideal personal brand as an influencer. Ask yourself the following:
- How do I want my followers to see me?
- What message do I want to deliver?
- What do I want to appear on search engines when people look me up?
- What practical skills do I have to offer?
- What do I want to accomplish as an influencer?
- How do I incorporate my core values into my personal brand?
Use these questions to inform your mission and vision.
Create a set of SMART goals for what you want to achieve as an influencer. These goals should be:
- Relevant; and
For example, an influencer in the corporate training community might set a mission of helping young up-and-coming professionals improve their leadership skills through his leadership training courses. Part of his vision is to create a new generation of executives with excellent management skills.
For this part of his vision, he sets a goal of delivering his flagship leadership course to 1,000 young professionals in the next five years.
3. Claim your niche
Influencers are constantly competing with other voices and personalities to capture users’ attention. Pinpointing your niche identifies exactly why users should listen to you.
Tip: Take some time to clearly identify your niche and write down two or three bullets to describe it. Also, take a look at what your competition is doing. If your niche is already crowded, ensure your approach is different from your competitors.
For example, it’s hard to name a busier online influencer space than women’s fashion. However, fashion influencer BestDressed (AKA Ashley) has garnered more than 3.5 million followers on YouTube and 1.5 million followers on Instagram.
What separates her from other fashion influencers is her niche of focusing on thrifting and on DYI looks.
Also, many fashion bloggers take themselves very seriously. However, Ashley injects plenty of humour and authenticity into her content. This makes it accessible and relatable to her audience.
If you carve out your niche like BestDressed, you’re much more likely to capture your audience’s attention.
4. Identify your target audience
Now that you have your mission, vision and niche, it’s time to figure out your target audience.
Just like with identifying your niche, be specific about your target audience to avoid being too broad and unfocused. However, don’t get so specific that there may not be a big enough audience for your content.
Write down your target audience persona, including key points like:
- Spending power;
- Interest and hobbies;
- Stage of life; and
- Problems they need solving.
Once you’ve figured out the specifics of your audience, research:
- What social media channels they use;
- Which competitors they follow;
- Hashtags and search terms they look up;
- Analytics from your existing channels around your audience.
When you're done, it often helps to give your target persona a name and a bio. What you want to do is create something that is representative of your typical audience member. It's like writing a character in a story that will resonate with a lot of the people you are targeting.
Here is one example of a Personal Brand Customer Persona Template that you can use to inspire your own persona.
This will give you a crystal clear picture of your audience and how to tailor your content as an influencer.
Keep in mind that the customer persona is not a perfect match for everyone in your target audience. The key is to think "If Victoria likes, so will most of the people in my target audience."
That way, Victoria becomes a prototype and a guiding post for who you are creating content, posts, and images to share with.
5. Create your strategy
You’ve identified your core values, mission, vision, niche and target audience. Now you need to put it all together to create your content strategy.
Tip: Using the research you’ve conducted on your target audience, build a tactical plan for how you plan on executing your mission, vision and goals.
This could involve activities such as:
- Creating a website using a personal brand theme
- Blog posts;
- Posts across multiple social media platforms;
- Paid advertisements;
- Sponsorships with different brands;
- Contests or giveaways for your followers;
- Collaborating with other influencers;
Then, determine which platforms you’ll utilize, the timing of your activities and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for measuring success.
Your tactical plan could look something like this:
For example, one of your goals for your personal brand could be to reach a new audience. To do this, you may consider branching away from an exclusive presence on social media platforms and create your very own personal brand e-commerce website.
Because MEify was built for Shopify, that quickly and easily establishes your platform of choice.
Based on your current schedule, you should set realistic timing. Although setting up a MEify site is fairly quick and easy, you do want to make sure you take the time to populate your new website with rich and relevant content that speaks to your personal brand.
When it comes to KPIs, a website is really easy to measure. Shopify provides built-in analytics that can give you a really clear picture of how your website is doing to support your personal brand. Core measurements would include visits (how many people visit your site), bounce rate (which will help measure how engaged your audience is with your content) and conversions (if you are selling products from your new e-commerce site).
6. Get your name out there
Online platforms like social media and websites are influencers’ bread and butter. However, if you want to increase your following, make your name known online and offline.
While it’s difficult to gather safely in 2020, in-person networking should be an important tactic for you in the future.
Tip: Conduct research on different networking events or conferences taking place in your space and consider including attendance in your strategy.
Not only will networking help create additional exposure for your personal brand, it will also give you access to new ideas, tips, and tricks from others who are trying to accomplish the same thing.
And, unless you happen to be in the exact same niche, most influencers are perfectly happy to share their experiences with others!
7. Find a mentor
A mentor can help you navigate the tricky waters of being an influencer, especially if you’re a new influencer. Consider reaching out to a seasoned influencer in your niche’s space.
Tip: Ask them for advice at first or to coffee (your treat!) if they live in the same town as you. People love to give advice, especially when they have a lot of experience and are looking to give back.
If you find their advice helpful, consider asking them to be your mentor. They can then provide you with valuable tips for building your personal brand on a regular basis.
Start Building Your Personal Brand Today
Personal branding has never been more important for influencers. With this personal branding guide, hopefully you’ll be able to increase your following and reach your vision.
If you’re still looking for more marketing tips or are interested in building a website to further develop your personal brand as an influencer, here are some other Marketplace Solutions blog posts to help you get started: