Personal brands. What are they, and do you need one?
There’s been a debate over personal branding for a while now, and it seems like these are the two questions people ask the most.
To get started, we’re going to let you in on how we feel about personal brands. They’re great!
You may be able to get by without one, but if you choose to forgo creating a personal brand, it’s like playing a sport without a key teammate. Personal branding can create opportunities you wouldn’t show up for without them, and a great personal brand can be the difference between moving the needle forward and idling.
In the past, you’d be able to get by with a Yellow Pages listing, but those days are long gone. Now, more than ever, people are looking for answers online, and they’re looking for more than your company — they want to see you.
So, how can you take advantage of building a personal brand in this digital world?
We’re glad you asked.
In this article, we’re going to take a deeper look into personal branding so you can develop a solid opinion about having a personal brand. We’ll look at what personal branding is, why it’s essential, and how to build a personal brand that makes an impact online. Let’s get into it!
What Even Is a Personal Brand?
In short, a personal brand is how you show up online.
We know that sounds a little vague, so let’s flesh it out. Your personal brand is what shows up when people type your name into Google, and any online record of you that pops up in those search results contributes to it.
Do you have a social media account, are you linked to a company website, or do you have a personal website? If so, you’ve already started to build your personal brand.
You’re Personal Brand Probably Already Exists
How many social media accounts do you already have? Our guess is that you probably live in the “Metaverse” of Facebook and Instagram already, and you’ve most likely created an account on one of the other outlying platforms — either LinkedIn or Twitter.
Each of the accounts that you’ve created lets people take a glimpse into your life. What are you posting? Is it putting your reputation in a positive light?
Now, you may be thinking to yourself. Who I am on social media isn’t the same as who I am in person, and it shouldn’t affect how people interact with my company.
Though it’s true that you’re so much more than a social media news feed, your online presence is how many people make decisions about whether they want to work with you or not. Most people aren’t going to wait for that first Zoom call or meeting to find out who you are — they’re going to type your name into Google instead.
How You Show Up Online Is Important
Whether it’s a prospective client or potential employer, people are looking for you online, and your brand fills them in on what they don’t know from your résumé or corporate website.
In fact, how you present yourself on social media plays a critical role in the hiring process. CareerBuilder recently surveyed employers looking for new hires, and the numbers surrounding social media speak for themselves.
- 70 percent of employers utilize social media to vet potential hires.
- Nearly half continue to monitor employee social media content after candidates have the job.
- Almost one-third of employers have fired employees over online content.
The same high standard goes for whether someone wants to work with you — that could mean a new employee, client, or customer looking to buy a product you provide. They want to know that they’re working with someone who aligns with their values, and they’ll find out if you do by researching you on the web.
That’s why, at the end of the day, you need to show up online.
What Does a Great Personal Brand Look Like?
Having an online presence is important, especially since you make your first impression before someone even meets you.
But what does a great personal brand look like?
In our opinion, one of the best ways to learn how to do something successfully is to find someone you can emulate. If you want to grow your business into a larger corporation, research the strategies that founders of other successful companies have implemented. Dive into their corporate structure, marketing strategies, and business tactics so that you can soak up the methods to their success and utilize them in your organization.
In the same way, modeling your brand around others who have mastered the craft is a great way to start. So let’s take a look at some people who are killing it in the personal branding game right now.
We’re going to start big with our examples of a personal brand. When you Google the definition of the word “hustle,” all it should pull up is a picture of Gary Vee’s face. He’s come a long way since transitioning his father’s liquor store into an e-commerce wine distributor and he continues to find new ways to innovate the hustle.
You may not agree with his brazen use of swear words or mesh with everything he says, but that’s part of his brand. His goal isn’t to make everyone happy or fall in love with him — it’s to authentically let people know who he is and how he made it.
If you want to create a well-rounded personal brand, you need to be yourself. Whether you’re growing your social media influence, writing blog posts, or making video content, stay true to who you are. Consistently showing up as yourself builds a solid online presence.
Authenticity is why Gary Vee has 9.9 million Instagram followers and why that number is only continuing to grow.
Another excellent example of a personal brand is Lewis Howes. As a former football player and professional athlete, Lewis has always had the drive to be great. Now, his life’s goal is to learn more about what greatness means to others and share that with the world.
His podcast, The School of Greatness, looks deeply at health, science, and psychology to uncover what it means to be truly great. And when you get down to the core of Lewis’ brand, it’s not to be the greatest at doing things. It’s to make an impact by being the greatest version of yourself.
So what can you take away from Lewis’ brand and apply to your own? You need to follow something that lights you up. When you’re passionate about something, it will shine through in everything you create.
And in the end, that passion will cause your brand to grow.
Jim Carter III
He may not have millions of Instagram followers, but Jim’s an outstanding example of what it means to have a personal brand that lets people know what you’re about. Jim is an SEO expert with a heart for charity who has raised over $20 million by donating his time and talent.
For Jim, a huge following isn’t his end goal — his goal is to show up so his name has authority when you search for it.
So what’s the key to showing up? Consistency.
Staying consistent in how you post, when you post, and what you post will help your brand stand out when people go looking for you. You don’t need to go overboard and post things online all day, every day. Choose how often you want to share and do it consistently.
When you take the key features of these three brands — authenticity, passion, and consistency — and combine them, you’ll start to develop an online presence that stands out among the rest.
What Can You Do to Boost Your Personal Brand?
Now that we’ve taken a look into some tremendous personal brands and their key takeaways, let’s look at your personal brand.
You may not have the most substantial online presence at the moment, but don’t fear. You probably already have a decent foundation, and all you really need is a little bit of a boost.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to unlock your personal brand’s potential:
Question 1: What is the Purpose of My Personal Brand?
Without a purpose, your brand will lack a sense of direction.
In all honesty, a lack of direction might be one of the things holding you back at this very moment. It’s easy to say you want to make content and distribute it across the web, but if you have no purpose behind it, we can guarantee that it will fall flat.
Find the why behind your content before you get too excited about creating something or reshaping what you already have. You’ll start to see more success when you can focus on that purpose and center your brand around that idea.
Question 2: Am I Showing Up in the Right Ways?
If you want to build a personal brand that stands out to people, you need to show up in a way that you enjoy.
When developing your brand, you need to consider your uniqueness. If you’re drawn to a particular outlet, follow that calling. For example, if you’re really into podcasting and feel like you could make one of your own. Go for it!
It doesn’t have to be a polished, perfect example right away. What matters is that you’re showing up in a way that lights you up and sharing that with the world. As your brand develops, your product will become more refined.
After all, experience is how we become great at something.
Question 3: Am I Being Consistent?
We’ve already touched on it in this article, but we’re going to repeat it — consistency is key.
It doesn’t matter if you post online once a day, once a week, or once every other week. What matters is that you stick with your plan.
When you’re consistent with releasing your content, the magic happens. Your followers will get used to your pattern and interact with your content more often. And as that happens, your personal brand will grow.
Another thing to keep in mind while you’re posting is that growth isn’t going to happen overnight. It may take a while to gain traction, and that’s perfectly normal. If you stick with it, you’ll make an impact.
Carter & Custer Has What You Need to Grow Your Personal Brand
Personal brands exist for many reasons. You may want to develop your brand to grow your influence, have more authority online, or grow your fanbase. However, one thing is universal when making a successful personal brand — it takes valuable time that you might not have right now. That’s where Carter & Custer can help!
It’s our mission at C&C to partner with people that want to make an impact and help them grow to make an even greater impact. As a company, we’re constantly developing new ways to help our clients amplify their growth and increase organic traffic for their brands through long-form writing, video production, website development, and more!
Our methods have been tested and proven to foster growth. Check out what we did for our client Ed Mylett, a #1 ranked iTunes business podcaster. In just 4 months, we increased his site traffic by 30% by repurposing his podcast episodes into long-form, SEO-rich articles.
Get in touch with us so we can do the same for you!