Personal Branding with Social Media

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The idea behind personal branding is not a new one but rather something that has been recently re-booted due to the presence of social media. The role of social media, especially with someone looking to be in the public eye (such as a model or actor), is critical in the establishment of themselves - or, their personal brand. There is a plethora of advice on how to manage your social media accounts and social media presence, but there is very little to be said about the role of personal branding. And, even when personal branding is discussed, many people don't know the true meaning behind the phrase and can therefore miss out on endless opportunities to personally brand themselves. 

The strong presence of social media today has allowed a path for personal branding to become easier and has given us the ability to monitor what we want the public eye to see and think about us (aka, branding ourselves). 

Personal branding can be as simplistic as asking yourself, what do you want people to think of you? What message are you trying to convey about yourself? However, it can also be complex in grey areas that we typically don't think of. It surrounds us daily and nobody really thinks about it. 

Think about this - if you see a man at the store with a Patagonia jacket, North Face beanie, and wearing Timberland boots, then the automatic suggestion from his outfit alone is that this person likes to be active and seems to be outdoorsy - maybe a hiker and someone who loves adventure? This person has personally branded himself by just the choice of clothing brands he put on his body. He is conveying to people what he wants them to think of him... and it worked! 

Now take this simple example and apply it to social media and it gets a bit tricky. There exists an array of things to do before you can successfully brand yourself on social media - so, luckily, here are some quick tips on how to do just that!

1. Cultivate your personal brand

Now that you have the rundown of what personal branding is, the next step is to understand how to cultivate your personal brand.

Remember the example with the man dressed in Patagonia, the North Face, and Timberlands? Apply this in terms of social media. Instead of the clothing you wear, it is the content you post that will help to create your personal brand online. In short, your content cultivates a type of personal image for yourself online for the public eye to see. 

When it comes to cultivating a personal brand on social media, ensure that it's kind of like your personal brand in a nutshell. Your bio tells your story at a quick glance to the public.

Another tip when cultivating your brand on your social media accounts, try to consider a cohesive look and have what you are posting (more in terms of pictures than words) look clean and concise to the message you are trying to convey. For example, let's say that you are a model who is interested in photography. Your Instagram account isn't going to look like a typical young-adult Instagram who doesn't perhaps put in that much effort to how their photos look on their feed. However, for you, your Instagram should be laid out to look aesthetically pleasing to those who come across it - considering the fact that you are branding yourself as someone who is interested in photography and likes a clean and concise look at things. 

Be mindful that if you want to keep more fun and carefree social media accounts, that having a separate account(s) is also an option when building your personal brand. And never forget, what you post on the internet stays there forever so be careful of what you post! 

2. Identify the message you want to convey to your followers
Although it may seem like a simple concept, many people have difficulty with the concept of personal messages and information they give on the media.

When it comes to online personal branding, it is important to start organically by asking yourself: "What am I trying to tell my followers? What do I want them to know and think about me?" 

Retreat back to these self-analyzing questions when you are branding yourself online - especially if this branding is for professional reasons. For example, a person who wants to brand themselves as some type of "fitness motivator" should not stray into doing clothing haul videos or posts (unless it becomes related to their fitness brand). And, as a model or actor, it is important to keep this question in mind when thinking about how you want to stick out on the media. These days, social media is critical for an actor or model because clients, casting directors, and agencies often look at social media accounts and take the content into consideration when considering working with a model/talent. 

Don't forget to ask yourself what message you want to convey through your photos or words to the public. If you want to be a high-fashion model one day, consider posting shots of you in what looks to be high-fashion photos. Take inspiration from fashion models and celebrity media darlings like Kendall Jenner and Timothée Chalamet and see what they post on their social media accounts. 

3. Update your social media accounts

Updating (or cleaning up) your social media is another essential step to successfully branding yourself online. This can be something like deleting old pictures that you don't want to be seen publicly on Instagram and Facebook, or deleting tweets from high-school and college on Twitter. Cleaning up your social media is key in helping boost your personal brand and efficiently managing your social accounts.

In order to keep your social media all about your brand, it should be clean of any distractions that stray from the message you are conveying to the public. 

Not only does updating your accounts mean deleting old posts that no longer serve you, but rather updating the look of your social media too. This can mean updating your profile picture, following new brands and/or people that you think best suits your personal brand, posting new content, etc. Your updated social media should have a thing or two to say about who you are professionally (and personally). A person viewing your profile should know what you're all about at first glance, and an updated profile can do wonders to achieving this.

4. Sell Yourself
By definition, personal branding is a process by which we market ourselves to others. With that being said - get used to selling yourself! 

If you are a model, sell yourself through pictures posted from photoshoots and following other models. Don't forget to promote your agent, which is a big help in not only branding yourself but networking as well. For example, if you are a model who is posting a shot from a photoshoot, consider somewhere in the caption to say: "Thank you PMTM for this opportunity! #thisisPMTM." It's as quick and easy as that! Now you have just branded yourself as a respectable model who is appreciative of her agency. People will build an image of who you are as a person over a picture and just a few short words of thanks. 

5. Stay Active
One of the most important key steps in online personal branding seems like one of the most simple, however, its importance is of magnitude - stay active with your online presence. 

Staying active on your social media accounts ensures increased engagement from your followers and it tells your audience that you are on top of things in terms of your professional and personal life. Think about it this way - you identify more with a celebrity that is constantly active on social media and regularly posts, that way their followers have something to look forward to, rather than someone who only posts every once in a while. The tricky part about getting good at being in the public eye is that the public never wants to be left alone - however, with personal branding (especially in career paths like acting and modeling) you should like the limelight in a sense that it helps build your brand organically and grow in your profession. 

A local businessman is not going to care much about his media engagement, however, the social media marketer, model, influencer, etc. will care a lot because of what it means to them in regard to their personal brand. 

So, take this all into consideration when engaging with your social media accounts. If you want to make it big in the social media world, then these things matter. Staying active on your accounts and giving your followers the content that they identified in the first place is important. 

With the new-age media, it is critical to be able to navigate social media when considering it as a tool for personal branding. Luckily, with these helpful tips and a goal-oriented personality, social media and a personal brand can coexist and leave you happy with the results. 

                                                                                                                     Written by: Alyssa Lambo

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