Strategies to grow your personal brand in 2021
A complete guide to establishing and growing your personal brand.
You have started building your personal brand before this time I believe, and if not, here is a quick explanation of what personal brand development is all about.
Personal brand development is a process that calls for a detailed attention to all the touch points you have with people, which in the end, gives an impression of your personality.
Just as you may have heard, we all have our personal brands but only few of us are consciously developing it, to aid our professional and social lives. By developing your personal brand consciously, you hold yourself accountable to your actions more, and at such, have much better chances of creating, finding, and taking advantage of the opportunities that you need.
You might have heard of various processes which could help one build a strong personal brand, but in this 2021, things have changed up a little bit. Here are the things I can tell you from my experience, to consider as you develop your personal brand in 2021. Thank me later, as this is not one of the regular lists you would easily see online.
Create more content to share what your brand stands for
When you set out to build a personal brand, you probably want to become an authority in your field of choice. To be that authority, there must have to be something, that your will be known for, that is, there must be something you have authored.
Here is the idea for you to understand this better. Most of the people who you look up to, there is something that they are known for right? This could be a special problem that they are solving. It could be a unique product that they created. It could be for the positions they occupy, or as little as what they have written or videos they have featured in (or created themselves).
There is something that they are known for, and at such, you also should be known for something unique also. Once you understand content creation this way, it gets easier for you to know that you must not write Forbes Magazine standard write ups, or create Hollywood type of videos, before you are called a content creator. Better still, the title which many of us now struggle to identify with – Creatives.
Find your super-power and keep at it, while not limiting yourself to one medium of content creation also. Write as much as you can, make videos as much as your gears can carry you, if you can record Podcasts. The only thing you should really target is to find that one way with which you can comfortably share that unique idea, which you want to be remembered for. Once you can achieve this, a lot of issues have been sorted out for you.
Understand what consistency means and know how to apply it
In the social media world, it is easy to come across the word ‘burn-out’, among content creators. This comes when you hit a blank slate after putting out so much content, all in a bid to be consistent as you have been taught. Here is where the errors start coming in. When you are told to be consistent, you are not told what it truly entails and what it should really imply.
Being consistent in regular terms would probably mean you stating and making out a particular day for certain topics, or content style. The issue is that in at most 6 months, you will likely run out of ideas. Knowing what consistency should imply would help you better use this tip. In the real sense, this is a call to firstly, be consistent in your message despite how and when you choose to share your contents. Once you have figured out what your message truly is, being consistent with your message in any content form of your choice is then easier,
Here is an example, a child rights advocate, could have a wonderful blog feed being sent out monthly. Same person could have documentaries of his/her programs sent as videos on YouTube. While at it, Pictures of the event can be shared on Facebook, with some short or not so long video clips, also being shared on Instagram and LinkedIn.
The same person could share the success stories of the program on LinkedIn. All this is happening with one message being passed from one platform and content type to another platform and content style.
Be true to yourself
The easiest way to play the consistency game is to be true to yourself. Being true to yourself starts with you figuring out if the course which you are chasing is truly something you want to be known for. Once this has been figured out, your message gets clear, and every other thing follows suit.
Another place where the concept of being true to yourself matters is in defining your voice. Defining your voice could generally come into play by deciding how best your messages are passed. Some persons are good with sending out their messages, coated with a good sense of humour. Some are best at teaching, either with stated facts, or good communication and emotional intelligence, which positions you as a good teacher. In this case, you could just be good at creating digital products like courses and E-books.
The game is yours to play. You know what suits you best, just as you could also tell what your friends and audience understand easily. If you take up a certain voice and feel, you will end up chasing viral content creation, which might evade you, as it does not come naturally to you in that form.
Take advantage of LinkedIn for your brand development
LinkedIn is a power-house platform when it comes to personal brand development. This can be seen from three perspectives when you start using the platform.
When building your personal brand, one of the things you would love the most is to have a way of saying so much about yourself. This can only be achieved from your profile, and there is this special joy that comes with having a complete profile.
On LinkedIn, your profile is equal to your CV when you fill up all the necessary details. Just as you would take your CV with you when trying to get a Job or business deal, so does your profile always represent you whenever anyone see you for the first time on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn gives you so much space to say and show a lot about who you are as well as who you want to be known for. For this reason, it is important to take time and setup your profile on LinkedIn for maximum visibility and representation. If you have already setup your profile previously, do well to update things as you progress in life. The update could be done as you make new changes and achievements, or on a fixed routine, maybe, every six months.
- Organic reach
LinkedIn is one of few social platforms that offer the best organic reach for content shared on the platform. This is to say, you stand a chance of quickly reaching many persons, and getting your voice heard.
One of the ways to illustrate the organic reach of LinkedIn is this: Once you make a post on LinkedIn, many other persons who you are not connected with would still see your post, once someone who they are connected to sees and interacts with the post. Also, with the hashtag feed, your post can be sent to even more persons who follow the hashtags.
It gets even better when you think of the fact that there are only few people who create content on LinkedIn currently. LinkedIn is still at that phase of boosting your post, without demanding for paid reach, as is the case with some other social platforms currently.
The beauty of content creation is seen when you realize that your content has a great opportunity of reaching, not just the people you made it for, but many more others who would also, probably be interested in what you have to say. This is how top CEOs could get to see your activities and it gives you an edge over many other people when it comes to job search or referrals.
- Networking opportunity
The term ‘Networking’ is easily used by the users of LinkedIn, because, apart from job search, you can also use LinkedIn to build your network. The saying that our network is our net-worth is not wrong.
As you connect with more persons, as well as engage with posts from other persons, you start to establish a relationship with people. This relationship gets even stronger when you can relate with people more, through DM messages as well as working together on projects or a community of like minds.
Remember, together, we are stronger and can always do more.
Network more intentionally and grow your circle
Networking with the right people is key to building out a niche. When you are niching down, it is most likely that you would also want your audience to be made of a set of people with certain similar traits.
When you start getting sensitive to the kind of audience you have, you are then most likely to be networking intentionally.
In simpler terms, Networking intentionally is all about intentionally connecting with persons who have a common interest with you, as against just connecting to grow your numbers.
Truth be told, having those large number counts toward social proof, but then it is not all that there is. If it is possible for you to build numbers for social proof with people who are most likely to be interested in what you do, then do so.
Here is how to be intentional about building your network and connecting with such persons.
- Defining the common traits you would want to connect with, for example, you could be interested in connecting only with Journalists and Documentary photographers/videographers.
- Next, Define the platform with which you can best connect with such persons.
- Set up your profile to be such, that could also gain their interests when they come looking at your profile after you have sent them a connection request on the chosen platform.
- Engage with their posts for a while so that you can start making impact over time.
- Send a connection request, and when possible also send a personalized message with it.
- In the personalized message, offer to help, not to sell. You could also, just take time to find something about the person that you like and let him/her know that you appreciate it. This way, you give the person a sense of priority for noticing these little details.
- If you can sustain the discussion for a while, you could then go ahead and try following the person on other platforms if he/she has a presence there.
- Then you could find the sweet spot to now offer your partnership request or product.
This is definitely a long process, but when done right, it mostly builds a lasting relationship with the connections. But I understand that you may not always have the time for all this due process. Likewise, some persons may feel stalked with this approach.
As a solution, the cold calling technique could be the best remedy. In this case, you could just go straight to the point to say what you want and see if the connection could be established.
The advantage of this is that it is not time consuming and might be preferred by some persons.
If you really want to get good with the cold calling technique, then you should invest some time into observing the person you would want to connect with. This way, you can easily determine the aspects of them that you could quickly use to start a discussion, either by asking a question, appreciating, or acknowledging certain things about them
Consider using Digital marketing tools and skills
Digital marketing is like the best thing that has happened to our generation. It is the concept that built the needed balance between the tech world and its application in real life activities. Think of it, if social media existed without any value to marketing, it would truly be a space where only those who care would just use it.
But with the presence of the concept of digital marketing, we are now able to attach some financial value to what we do online. We take advantage of the digital platform to market our products and services, hence, making extra gains from what we do.
For you, as you build your personal brand in 2021, one of the things you really have to consider getting a competitive edge is marketing.
This could come in the form of paid Ads, or through influencer marketing, and even better through word-of-mouth referral coming from results of some digital marketing campaign.
- Paid Ads
Paid Ads is the commonest of these tactics. This involves paying to promote a given content on defined platform, and to a defined audience. With Facebook/Instagram, you have so many options to advertise your products and services.
It even gets interesting when you know your Ads could target a defined set of people, for example, people who have watched your video to a certain extent. You could advertise to people who have already engaged with your content in recent times. You could market to people who you have already been able to get their mails, and even setup the Ads to also get to people who are like people you are already advertising.
Getting to LinkedIn, your ability to advertise is taken to another level where you can send out messages to a set of persons, directly to their inbox. This is a legal way of sending out bulk messages to people and when the audience is properly setup, the chances of conversion is even higher as you know who you are speaking to, as well as what you should be saying to them.
On Google where people come to search for all the information that they need, your Ads could be setup to show only when they are searching for what you need. These digital platforms have really made life easier once you could invest your time and knowledge into it.
Truth be told, it is good to work with Ad professionals when working on these, but if you happen to be bootstrapping your brand, then it would be worth a while for you to take out time to learn the basic of these things, and with time, you can get better, know your audience better, and hence get better results.
- Influencer marketing and word of mouth
Influencer marketing and word of mouth is a combination of digital and traditional marketing if you really think of it. These concepts existed even before the digital age, but with the presence of these digital media, their existence have been made easier and more impactful.
It is easier to reach out to influencers, reach an agreement and let the person influence your brand, either by visual identification with your brand, or just by word of mouth.
Likewise, it is possible to reach out to both past customers and even friends to either give your brand a referral or to just leave a positive review for your brand. With these you have a lot of people talking about you, and this is a good way to measure social proof.
By taking advantage of Influencer marketing and word-of-mouth, you are getting an almost indisputable social proof for the existence and trustworthiness of your brand, and all this can be done just from your phone or Laptop. It even gets better when you combine this with Paid Ads. Imagine getting a video testimonial about you, and then using it as a content for a promoted post.
It reaches many more persons and send the right first impression message that the people need to get. It is a win-win situation.
Collaborate More with like minds
I intentionally left collaboration to be the last on the list, and this is because it should be one place where we should put in most of our efforts. We can do so many awesome things on our own but imagine how far we would go when many of us who can do wonders, decide to come together on one purpose. This is a unity of resources and a spread out of our individual time to achieve one set out goal. With collaboration, specialty comes in, where you do what you are best at, without any unnecessary distraction, while others handle what they are best at.
The beauty of collaboration comes in many ways of which it includes the following.
- Better criticism and analysis of ideas and strategies
- Timely delivery and achievement of set out goals
- Shared audience and wider reach
- Strengthening of the built connections.
- Better engagement due to multiple point of views.
If you are to devote your time to building your personal brand in 2021, and choose to adopt this technique, then you are well on your way to success where you would start commanding better authority in your field of specialty.
You can start getting referred for more opportunities, because the people now know you for that particular thing.
Even better still, you get to work with more professionals who in turn share their knowledge and experience with you, there by better equipping you with some basic knowledge needed to excel in the present-day world.
In summary, to have a better brand in 2021, invest some time into creating more content and being consistent with it. Remember, content comes in many other formats and not just carousels, videos and writeups. Also remember that consistency is all about your messaging and what it is that you believe in and not just about how often you share what you share, though it is also necessary. While at it, don’t be a fake. Always bring your best foot forward and be as truthful about your personality that you share online, let the person your audience know online be in sync with who they eventually get to meet offline.
To reach and do more, invest in paid Ads when necessary, and always keep networking intentionally, as it would give you a better chance of collaborating with people more, this way, your reach and impact will get to reach more persons through a combined effort of various individuals.
Anthony Chinweuba is a Town Planner, Brand Strategist and Graphic Designer. He currently teaches Creatives & Decision makers how to build a Personal Brand on LinkedIn.
He has a broad set of skills that cut across different sectors with special interest at the intersection of Town Planning, Brand Strategy, and Design; Place Branding.
He loves volunteering, especially for TEDx Events, and was a team member for TEDxAsata. He also worked on other projects such as TEDxAwka, the two editions of TEDxNzastreet, while also volunteering for TEDxBissallaRd.
He currently works as a Brand Strategist with Hamatan Limited, a company focused on solving African problems the African way.
Helping Nigerian youths to build their personal brand on LinkedIn.