9 Useful Tips and Tricks From Some of the Best Personal Brands Around
Personal branding is not a new topic. It’s been talked and written about at length. However, being the popular topic it is, doesn’t make it old news. Personal branding has become more important now than ever, particularly online.
The digital world is where we play most of the time.
This is where we showcase ourselves, market ourselves, network build our reputations and businesses.
And with the interconnected multitude of social media channels available, it’s an opportunity to build your personal brand rapidly – You have the chance to engage in many different ways that resonate with your unique audience, and have the potential for huge reach if you play your cards right.
There are, of course, countless ways you can optimize your personal brand. You can just do a Google search and you’ll get an endless supply of articles, videos, tips and tricks.
I wanted to take a different approach and connect with some of the successful personal brands out there. These influencers are at the top of their games, and I wanted to know what they felt most important.
What’s one quick thing they’d recommend to optimize a personal brand online?
What can we learn from them?
Leonard Kim is a personal branding expert and speaker, published in Inc., GQ, Forbes, amongst others.
As a personal branding expert, his tip is a great one to start off with:
Discover what your brand is. You can do this with post-it notes. Give them to as many people as you can, have them write one word that describes you on them, mix them all up, then read through them. You will be able to see what other people think of you, compared to what you think of yourself. This way, you will be able to create a roadmap that will help you get from where you are to where you need to go.
This is some power advice.
It’s highly likely that you see yourself a little differently to how others see you. By asking them for their input, you can get some insight into what kind of person you’re actually projecting outwards.
You could also be undervaluing yourself. When you ask others what you bring to the table, you may be surprised by how much more they see in you, compared to what you see in yourself. They may even suggest other positives you never even thought off.
Overall, it’s not always easy to work out what kind of personal brand you want to build, and in what niche you want to play. By asking others for input, you get a more objective and well-rounded perspective of who you are and what you have to offer.
Pick a Swim Lane.
Tamara McCleary is an internationally recognized expert on branding, influence & social business, and the Founder and CEO of Thulium, a brand amplification company.
And so, what was the one thing she felt most important?
One quick thing anyone can do to improve their personal brand online is to pick a swim lane with respect to what they want to be known for.
Pick a swim lane, that’s a cool way to put it. When you jump into that pool and join the race, focus on your lane and go for it. I mean, you don’t see professional swimmers doing zig-zags do you?
There also just isn’t enough time to do everything. If you pick your lane, you can focus your time and energy on doing what you do best.
What I mean by this is that when we try to be all things to all people, we dilute our message and our effort to establish ourselves as a thought leader. Look at your online posts, comments, and visual images. If you can’t quickly identify what your personal brand stands for in under one minute of scanning your online activity, then it’s time to think about what you want to be known for. Focus your storytelling and messaging around the one theme, passion or salient message that burns within you that you simply must share. If you were to be known for anything online, what would you want it to be? That’s your swim lane… practice, play, learn, grow, and share your insights for all of us to enjoy. The world needs unique, wonderful, special, YOU!
With the amount of information and expectations out there, it can be tough deciding on your niche. Your decisions can become clouded by what everyone else is doing, making you feel as though you need to imitate rather than be yourself.
Everything boils down to how you are going to stand out in the crowd. Being YOU is an essential first step. And from there, be consistent in your storytelling across all channels.
Stay Informed, for Better or Worse.
Dorie Clark is a marketing strategist, professional speaker, and frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, Times, Entrepreneur, and the World Economic Forum blog.
Dorie is most definitely an influencer to follow, particularly in the personal branding space. What’s so awesome about her is that she offers a lot of highly valuable and actionable info to help you become a thought leader in your niche.
Dorie’s quick tip was one of the most useful and practical online hacks:
An important first step is setting up a Google Alert for your name. If you don’t know what’s being said about you online, then you have no way to monitor or control it. A Google Alert will notify you when someone mentions you online, and you can respond quickly to either thank them or – if it’s something inaccurate or problematic – you can take action to get it removed.
When you’re building your profile online, you’re doing it with the goal to get coverage…You’re wanting your name to get out there… right?
Of course you want all your mentions to be positive, but sometimes it can go south. Either way, monitoring when you’re getting mentioned is a powerful personal branding hack. You can build on positive mentions, and make the best of or correct the less positive.
Amplify and protect your personal brand with something as simple as a Google alert.
Forget What You Want, What’s In It For Them?
Michael Hyatt is an author, speaker, blogger, and overall inspiring guy. Known as a virtual mentor, he has become a big influencer.
Over the years, Michael has often spoken about Personal Branding, in his “This Is Your Life” podcasts and blog.
However, the one thing that stood out was his quote on putting your audience first. We hear this “audience first” a lot, but need to be reminded over and over again. Considering your audience should be your top priority, according to him (and most others who know what they’re talking about).
Forget me, what’s important to my audience and why should they care? The most popular radio station on earth is WIIFM – What’s in it for me? So as soon as you can tune into that, everything changes.
This mindset shift is a huge part of what transformed his business. He talks about how he use to blog more for himself, as a kind of therapy – he was “the centre of his blogging universe” as he puts it. But in 2008, he went through a shift where he said, “Okay, forget me. What’s important to my audience? Why should they care?”
And by focusing on how he could add value to his readers, it all changed.
How are you going to change your audience’s lives?
People don’t buy products or services, they buy a transformation they expect to get by using your product or service.
Make a Personal Connection With Your Audience.
In terms of building your Personal Brand online, something stood out from the rest: The fact that Tom answers all his tweets himself.
Occasionally his team tweets on his feed, but always identified as not being written by Tom, and only to point readers to something on his website that they’d like his audience to see. They’ll also always mention him in the third person and put our own initials at the end of the tweet.
With Tom having 140 thousand followers, this is impressive.
His spokesperson, Cathy, said:
Tom began getting lots of followers when he joined the conversation on Twitter. He does it himself; he wants to be engaged. He follows people who follow him or who say something that strikes him. People are flattered by having him “speak” with them, though virtually, and they’re especially flattered when he honors them with a follow. Lady Gaga has had great success with this method, also. The fans know it’s her tweeting.
That is a great point to think about when building your personal brand.
Online, there is a lot to do if you want to be successful… And with the huge amount of channels available, it’s just not realistic to try to be everywhere at once, even with automation.
So, choose your perfect channel mix (seriously, Twitter is not for everyone, and neither is Instagram). And then go a step further, and think about where you can make a personal connection with your audience. Even just one channel where your audience knows that it’s really you on the other side. Just a thought.
Megan Dalla-Camina is a strategist, speaker, author and researcher on women, leadership and work; and the Co-Founder of Lead Like A Woman.
She reaffirmed the point Tamara made earlier:
You need to make sure you are crystal clear about who you are and what you want to be known for, to represent your personal brand well online. Is it clear what you are known for and what your expertise is? Is where and how you are showing up online supporting your brand? Is the messaging consistent with the brand you want to convey? Are you being authentic online as well as offline? These questions will help you to improve your brand online and make sure that the way your brand comes across is authentic, on point and supportive of your goals.
This is such an important idea to soak up.
The word “authentic” has been used a lot in marketing speak over the years. Like many other words, it’s been used so often that it’s lost it’s punch. But it’s often these “overused words” that are overused simply because they are so important.
One could just look at “being authentic” as “being real”. Who are you really? What do you really stand for? Do you genuinely mean what you say?
If you want your audience (who’s become pretty darn clever these days!) to buy into what you’re selling, you’d better believe in it wholeheartedly yourself.
It’s tough enough trying to stand out and get some attention. But one way to do that, is to be you. Seriously, there is only one of you, think about that.
Juntae DeLane is a keynote speaker, blogger, podcaster and founder of the Digital Branding Institute. Overall, he is a digital branding evangelist, and a great influencer to get feedback from:
Make sure people understand who you are and the contribution you can make. Use your experience and perspective to differentiate yourself from the competition.
This comes up often, and this one sentence reaffirms a few things.
Understanding who you are and what you have to offer is an essential first step. It’s helps you find your niche, and can gives you that edge to stand out.
Once you’ve got this down pat, you need to communicate clearly to all those people out there. By doing this, you’ll attract your unique audience who are looking for that thing that sets you apart from the rest.
There is Nothing as Quick and Amazing as Social Media – Use it.
Pratik Dholakiya is the founder of Growfusely, a content marketing agency specialising in content and data-driven SEO.
He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, Content Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and Digital PR. Pratik has spoken at 80th Annual Conference of Florida Public Relations Association, Accounting & Finance Show, Singapore, NextBigWhat’s UnPluggd, IIT-Bombay, SMX Israel, SEMrush Meetup, MICA, IIT-Roorkee, and other major events. As a passionate SEO & content marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge in publications like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web, YourStory and Inc42 to name a few.
Social Media has been the buzzword for a long time now. But you need to keep reminding yourself of the value it adds, especially when building a personal brand.
As Pratik says:
Social media has helped me tremendously to improve my personal branding and I’d recommend it very heavily as one of the best things. Because there are many other ways to get better at improving your personal branding, but nothing is as quick and amazing as social media. You can communicate with your fans/followers right there and pass on all the messages without any dependancy.
There are a few things that are pretty cool about social media.
For one, it’s alive. There are new platforms and tools constantly being developed, and the already-big platforms are themselves evolving and updating all the time.
Secondly, there is a choice. It’s a good idea to keep yourself informed on what social networking opportunities there are out there. The choice allows you to pick a mix that targets your unique audience.
Thirdly, it’s mostly free. So, as Pratik points out, you get this powerful networking tool without needing to depend on anyone but yourself.
Social Media gives you the opportunity to really think about how you want to engage online. It’s not a one-size-fits-all. You need to work out what platforms work best for your personal brand, and where your audience likes to hang out and engage.
It could be on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Slack… Think about your audience, and test out different channels before curating your perfect mix.
Aim For All-Star Status.
Nicholas Scalice is an inbound marketing consultant based out of in Boca Raton, Florida. He’s the guy to go to if you’re wanting to build yourself a powerful inbound marketing engine, with expertise in Inbound Marketing, Marketing Automation, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Analytics, just to name a few.
His personal branding tip:
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is at the “All Star” level and fully optimized, with plenty of context for who you are and what you do. Take advantage of LinkedIn’s blogging tools, give recommendations, participate in groups, and more.
As we’ve talked about above, social media can be a powerful tool if used properly. Once you’ve got your ideal mix of channels, look at ways to utilize them to their fullest.
Most of them are constantly evolving, and offer all sorts of new ways to engage. On Twitter, you can make use of Twitter chats. On Facebook, you can now use Facebook Live. And that’s just touching the surface.
LinkedIn, just like the rest, has tons of opportunities to explore. Apart from making sure your profile is topnotch, being able to share content and engage in conversations within groups can be a powerful tool.
Go explore your social channels, and keep yourself updated on what they’re adding to each of their toolkits.
Jeff Bullas is an entrepreneur, blogger, author, marketer and speaker. As an influential personal brand, he works with personal brands and business to optimize their online personal and company brands with emerging technologies, content, social media technologies and digital marketing.
He reminded me of one of the biggest tips for building your personal brand online:
To optimize your personal brand in a digital world you need to work harder at distributing your awesome content faster and further. Its called “content hustling”.
You have got to hustle. Hustle. Hustle. Hustle.
You should already know by now that you’ve got to create awesome content for your audience. But what’s the use if you’re not getting it out there? Often, marketers spend more time focused on creating brilliant content, and far too little time on distributing it.
One piece of content can go a very long way. I mean, one blog post can stretch as far as the eye can see, read this post on Kissmetrics to get a better idea.
But beyond even that, your audience isn’t waiting around for you to post content. You need to be posting often, on all your channels, at different times, to make sure you’re catching their attention when they happen to be looking through their feeds.
Whether you’ve built an influential personal brand already, or if you’re just starting out, you can never stop growing.
Paying attention to the guys at the top of their game is a great place to start. These are people offer great tried-and-tested advice.
Even if you’ve heard some of it before, it’s a good idea to keep refreshing yourself, and maintain focus.
As a Personal Brand, ask yourself some of these questions:
- Are you clear on what you want to be known for?
- Are you being real?
- Are you being social in the right places?
- Are you really adding value to your audience’s lives?
- Are you connecting personally with them in any of your channels?
- Are you keeping informed on what they are saying about you online?
What are some other questions you think personal brands should be asking themselves?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
- 10 Amazing Personal Branding Examples
- Online Personal Branding: The Opportunity You’re Missing
- 5 Actionable Personal Branding Tips
This Article is About:
- Personal branding
- Personal branding tips
- Personal branding examples
Originally Posted: July 27th, 2017.
Post Updated: August 11th, 2020.