I don’t know if I should admit this, but personal branding can be terrifying! It’s about vulnerability and self-discovery and showing your personality to the whole world.
But, at the end of the day, it’s a process that connects you to yourself so that your fear of exposure turns into the freedom to express yourself. Especially in the age of Social Media and your social media brand.
Ironically, as a business branding consultant, it’s always been difficult for me to put out my own personal brand. Partly because I’m more of a private person but also because deep down inside I feel like my brand will be criticized more because I’m in branding.
Not that long ago, I realized that my need for perfection was not just boring, but inaccessible too—the worst outcome for a branding expert! Because I wasn’t showing vulnerability, I wasn’t connecting.
The worst part about realizing this was that I didn’t really know how to be vulnerable. I felt awkward about it. It felt like high school all over again: I felt too shy, wanting to fit in but not knowing what to say. Yuck! I didn’t want to feel like this again.
In today’s world, we have no choice but to be more public. Especially in the marketing and business world. So, what’s a private person to do?
Thinking about this made me wonder, what is authenticity really?
The term “authenticity” in business and branding can be confusing. If we were truly authentic and transparent with all our feelings, we would reveal some terrible things and actually offend a lot of people. Let’s face it, we’re just human—we’re moody and we have crazy thoughts sometimes. It makes me think of Eckhart Tolle’s quote: “Self awareness is knowing we are not our thoughts”.
But then, what is authenticity?
Your authenticity is your true self: the person you are when you feel no fear or doubt. It’s unlocking and living by your core values.
That’s why I’m lucky to be in branding.
The process of branding gives you the opportunity to discover that real you and keeps you accountable to what your values are and you truly want. When I looked at personal branding as my opportunity to live my brand and claim who I wanted to be, I found a purpose and framework that described everything I had ever wanted to live for. Putting “me” into a tangible structure meant that I could own myself and my brand messaging. Once I aligned my goals with my values, I became a Leader from Within and discovered that I could inspire anyone.
Just like that, personal branding is a process of being your best self and then being proud to show it off.
What Personal Branding can do for Business Entrepreneurs and Leaders
Whether you know it or not, you already have a personal brand. It’s the perception others have of you and it’s what people remember about you. If you’re not consistent with how you live your values, your brand messaging might be giving people the impression that you aren’t an accurate reflection of your true self. If you’re not clear about what you stand for and who you are, then people will put you in a category based on their perception of you. They may misjudge you, putting you in a category that isn’t a reflection of you who you truly are.
That’s why it’s so important to take control of your brand and start thinking strategically about being the personal brand you want to be.
Social Media is one of the toughest, most revealing parts of your personal brand. Being so exposed can be scary, but it can also be invigorating. Social media branding is a lot of fun if you’re committed to being yourself.
How to be Intentional and Strategic about Your Social Media Brand to build your business:
1) Determine what it means to live your brand and deliver content based on that. By this I mean: in every post and tweet, what are the consistent themes that support your brand messaging and personality?
- Write down 3 adjectives that really represent your personality, your values and the impression you want to leave. If you can’t decide, ask your best friends which adjectives they would describe you with.
- Think about all the different ways that you can represent these traits and adjectives in your marketing strategy and social media interactions
When you’ve figured out the person you’re going to be, your content will come from that. You won’t need to waste time thinking about what to post.
Your social media brand will also represent you properly and consistently, building customer loyalty and converting better.
2) See your opportunity to stand for something bigger than just a product or service. Everyone has a belief and a message behind what they do in life. What’s yours? Social media is the perfect place to represent your bigger purpose consistently. Your bigger cause will inspire others to follow and like you online. If you have passion, you’ll soon be connecting with like-minded people all over the world.
3) Remember that on social media, you have an obligation to self-promote. Even though this can seem a little scary if you are shy and have trouble marketing yourself and your entrepreneurial business, you can look at it as an exciting way to discover what you have to offer and talk about it in a safe setting. It’s the ideal place for you to let people know about your unique gifts and the exciting things you’re up to.
If you believe that we are uniquely blessed with gifts meant to bless other people, then it is your obligation to let people know with your brand messaging. They may need you and they’ll definitely want to know about you — it’s an obligation.
Next time you’re feeling completely yourself, take a moment to check in with who you really are and what you stand for. Then, make that your purpose and your personal branding. Consistency is the best way to build clientele and a successful life.
What are the three adjectives that describe the authentic you? Leave them in the comments section below as the first step in putting yourself out there.