Personal branding is a hot topic right now. It is no longer acceptable to simply meet requirements; you must differentiate yourself in a market, in this case, media.
As John Robinson said on the second day of class, media has changed from 1 to 1, to 1 to many, and now, many to many. To stand out in the many you need to distinguish yourself as 1.
The UNC J-School even offers a class title “The Branding of Me,” where students learn how to brand themselves.
It’s all anyone in the B-School can bloody talk about. (This is safe to say because none of them have time to read my blog.)
- Define your overall aspirations.
- Conduct research.
- Determine your brand attributes.
- Assess your current state.
- Create your game plan.
- Manage your brand.
Social media has played a huge role in this branding, especially when it comes to creating and managing your plan. Through these outlets you are able to gain access to a large number of people, aka exposing your brand as much as possible. It’s also a platform where users have full control of what content is posted, a huge part of branding.
When I Googled “Social Media and Branding,” 77,200,000 results popped up. Simply too much for any one person to sort through, so I made my own.
Let’s take a look at the most popular forms of social media, how they can be used for personal branding and how I have used them so far.
Facebook: The O.G. in branding. Facebook serves as your personal website (assuming you do not have a personal website) and the foundation of branding. It allows you to post a lot of content on one page that viewers can look through in their own time. The content options are wide. You have the ability to post personal images, videos, articles and thoughts as well as re-posting and sharing options. A person should be able to easily identify your brand by visiting your Facebook page. Although I do not have a personal Facebook, I do keep up with a page devoted to my cheerleading career. Since my brand revolves around this activity you will notice that the page focuses on cheerleading.
Twitter: This platform also gives you the ability to brand through text, images and videos. Instead of posting a lot of content that users will look at later, Twitter is a “now” medium. You can use it to keep your brand fresh and relevant. Keeping up with trends is big on Twitter, and your brand should keep up with those trends. Right now the number one trending hashtag is #HappyEaster, if this is relevant to your brand you need to partake in related tweets. Twitter is also a great way to communicate with others and make connections.
Instagram: This one is a bit harder but can also be the most rewarding social media platform for personal branding. Think of fashion bloggers who have built empires on Instagram. Instagram branding requires more time and thought than Facebook or Twitter posts. Pictures are very personal, and emphasis is placed on this through Instagram. So how can you make it work? I recommend planning and scheduling regular postings relevant to your brand. Again, if my personal brand involves cheerleading, I should try to post images of me cheering at least once every two weeks. Like I said in a previous blog, those images receive the most attention because they relate to my personal brand.
YouTube: This video sharing platform is also a great jumping off point for a personal brand. YouTube stars are becoming regular celebrities, it’s almost the norm. Video is the most personal and interactive medium, so use that to your advantage. You can also link your videos on your other social media pages.
Snapchat: Ahh, my favorite social media. Snapchat was once exclusively used for personal, intimate conversation between friends. Now companies are using the app to connect with consumers. Last December I tweeted that I wish the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was on Snapchat so I could see behind the scenes images and videos of the Angels before the show. I immediately got a tweet back with their Snapchat user name. If Twitter is the “now” medium, Snapchat is the “instant” medium. It’s personal, it’s intrusive, and it’s real.
Periscope: This excites my inner nerd. I am stoked to start using Periscope. It’s a live feed tool that allows you to connect with users and again, promote your brand. For example, I could use the software to live-stream myself on the sidelines of the NCAA Basketball National Championship game next year (Go Heels)! While this platform is new, I have big hopes for it.
While social media is fun it is more a tool to promote a personal brand than anything else. With branding becoming an essential part of success in media, I suggest you start making your social media brand names.
I’d love to hear more about how others use social media to brand themselves, please comment below!