Are you branding yourself on social media? The answer is always yes. Right now, whether you recognize it or not, you are creating your own personal brand. Think of yourself as a trustworthy politician that everybody loves. The mindset that I believe will benefit you, regardless of whether you’re just starting out in your career or you’re an established entrepreneur, is to realize that your job on social media is to run a likeable campaign. You’ll be the brand behind whatever position you take or life role you play. I also have some rules for you to follow in order to have a winning self-brand.
Rule #1: First impressions are everything
Others will judge you in seconds based on the first few pictures or posts of yours that they see. So be wise about what you want others to believe about you. I’ve talked about this before: there’s no difference between greeting online or in person. Some of you say, “I want to keep my social media private rather than public,” but I think there is a way that you can do both. First off, I’m glad there wasn’t this social media presence when I was a teenager because I would have scarred my adult self, had I posted, shared, tweeted, or snapchatted pictures or events that I participated in when I was young. So I thank God that all of this wasn’t around then.
But now you have to think about your social media presence strategically, as though you’re a politician running a likeable campaign. If you’re trying to stay private you’re really missing out on a competitive advantage. These days people don’t necessarily like to follow the brand itself; they like to follow the person behind the brand. That’s who inspires them.
How are you inspiring the people you’d like to do business with? If there are people you’d like to meet that would provide you with opportunities for growth, then figure out who they are and utilize your personal brand to get in front of them. Just remember that first impressions are everything. So choosing the right pictures to display or making sure the wrong pictures aren’t out there is crucial.
Rule #2: Post about what you’re passionate about
The easiest way to gain followers is by being yourself. There are so many people in the world who share your interests and values. Be bold and confident enough to share yours. If you’re passionate about healthy living, then that can absolutely be a part of your brand. You’re not just an “accountant by day” or a “salon owner by day”; you are this person every day and you have a multitude of unique attributes, characteristics, hobbies and passions. Share the things that you’re passionate about with the world and you will encourage authentic engagement. The right people will want to be around you, and not just because you’re an awesome hair stylist who happens to be the best at blond hair coloring. They don’t just follow you for your talents, they follow you to find out more about you as a person, what your everyday life is like.
Again, it always comes back to how you inspire others. I encourage you to post about what you’re passionate about. If a couple people don’t resonate with those passions and they stop following, that’s okay. You open yourself up to a world of possibilities when you’re authentically true to yourself. The right people will be following you, and that opens up doors for opportunity in the future. There are many people I’ve met only online who have opened up opportunities for me.
I’ll share a story. Before I ever started my podcast, I thought a lot about starting one and I purchased the equipment for it. I sat down and recorded some pretend episodes to practice and see what I sounded like and how I could improve, before ever launching the “Beyond the Technique Podcast”. I had also been listening to a lot of other podcasts.
For example, there’s an awesome sales podcast called “The Sales Evangelist Podcast” with Donald C Kelley. I started listening to his podcasts, and at the end of each, he’d encourage people to connect with him on LinkedIn, which I decided to do. And instead of sending the typical automated message, I created a custom message and said, “Hi Donald, I just wanted to let you know that I have been listening to your Sales Evangelist Podcast. It’s awesome! Keep up the great work. Thanks, Kati.” What was really cool is that he not only accepted the connection, but he responded to me and said “Kati, that’s awesome! How did you hear about my podcast?” So I messaged him back and said “Well Donald, I’m new to listening to podcasts and I love business, sales and motivation topics so I was looking into some and found that you were one of the top choices to take a look at, so I subscribed to your podcast and I’ve really enjoyed it.” He replied a couple days later and said, “Awesome Kati, are there any sales topics you’re looking to hear about?”
I didn’t respond right away because I wanted to think about this: what could I learn more about in regards to sales? I was in the shower where there were no technological distractions and thought, “You know what, this is an opportunity for me to respond a little bit differently. I should respond and ask him to have me on as his guest. What’s the worst that could happen?” So I went back and said, “Donald, I would love to offer myself as a guest on your show. The topic would be people + passion = sales. I think that would be really cool; let me know your thoughts! If you are excited about this, I will send you an outline of the show for you to consider.”
A couple of days went by and I was lying in bed, looking at my husband, and thought, “There is no way this guy is going to respond to me. He’s probably just going to ignore it and wish it away because he feels bad rejecting me.” But instead, something amazing ended up happening. Donald messaged me back and said, “Kati, that topic sounds awesome! Click on this link to set up a date when we can communicate with one another.” Score! Now he’s down in Florida, so our podcast session was a virtual conversation and it did get released. You can officially go and check out the Sales Evangelist podcast for the “People + passion = sales” episode. I’m incredibly thankful that I decided to put myself out there.
When you put yourself out there about something that motivates or moves you, it pays off. That was actually my first official podcast before my own podcast launched. So like I said, posting about what you’re passionate about will help you get to know the right people.
Rule #3: Avoid Unnecessary Topics
What topics should you avoid? The ones that you yourself don’t like to see. The topics that drive you nuts, and the ones you want to disregard; those are the posts that you should also avoid. I could give you some common sense advice, in connection with today’s politics. It’s very challenging to take a stand politically when you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, because potentially 50% of all people, regardless of what stances you take, will completely disagree with you.
Is it worth that conversation? It’s kind of like a marriage: there are some arguments that are just not worth having. But just keep in mind that it’s okay to avoid the unnecessary topics altogether. I get that you’re passionate about some things, but ask yourself if it’s worth the potential lash back if you post on touchy and controversial topics. Everyone is different, so just do what feels right to you, while keeping the reactions of others in mind.
Rule #4: Remove the Negative
If you have a connection or friend online who is constantly posting negative content, remove them or unfollow them. Figure out a way to get it out of your sight! You don’t need negative content in your life.
Here’s an example: If you’re working on living a healthy lifestyle and you have friends who are constantly posting temptations, get those posts out of sight and out of mind. There may be people constantly posting that they’re out partying and drinking, but you’re trying to focus on building your wealth, not your weekend. That might not be a hindrance, but if you’re trying to lose weight or eat healthy then it may definitely affect you.
What are those things for you?
Rule #5: If you sign the checks, you are a public figure
I’m speaking figuratively here. If you own a business and have built a life as an entrepreneur, you’re a leader. People are following you and you should know it’s time to accept that leadership role. What is your mission? That’s what your public page should represent. The mission of your life; not just personal or professional, but all aspects of your life. Your personal life is not separate from your professional life, they’re completely connected. Your career, social life, family, intellectual well-being, spiritual well-being are all important pieces of your life and are some of the things that your public figure page can represent.
Now you’re armed with five rules that will help you create a winning self-brand on social media. So what are the next steps?
Take it slow. For week 1, just look through your photos and decide what stays and what should go. Take a look at your timeline. Do you have it set up ask you to approve when someone tags you in photos or posts? You may sometimes want to hide it if the pictures you’re tagged in don’t accurately represent you.
It is important to be protective of your personal brand. During the second week you should come up with a plan of things you want to post and make sure there’s a consistency to your plan.
I’m personally passionate about business, the beauty industry, living healthy, physical fitness, and my faith in Jesus Christ. My family, friendships, and networking are things I’m passionate about. My goal is to slowly build a plan around that. Let’s say you post once every couple of days. That should be consistent. If you’re on Instagram and you want to post every single day, that’s awesome. Keep a focus on your passions and you’ll begin to build a consistent following, because your followers will understand who you are and what you do. They’ll want to join you on your journey because you’re an inspiration to them.
For week 3, you should be all about removing the negative. When you see something that does not align with what you believe or value, remove it right then and don’t think twice about it.
Finally, weeks 4 and 5 are when you should take the plunge and set up a public figure page. This might take a little more planning for you but don’t overthink it. Your life has been your preparation for this. You need to step on stage for your performance. It may not be flawless, but it will get there.
Practice makes permanent. The more practice you get, the more feedback you’ll get, and thus the better you’ll get. I know it’s a little scary to put yourself out there, but what’s the worst that can happen? People can choose not to follow you or ignore the posts you put out there. But most people are going to accept and support you. They’re going to be excited that you put yourself out there and admire your boldness and bravery. They’ll like you and praise the fact that you’re confident and in tune with your journey.
Are you ready? If you take action on this, please comment below and let me know!