Like corporate branding, personal branding is a description of yourself as an individual. For some people, personal branding is equivalent to being a social media influencer or an opinion shaper.

Demonstrating your personal brand online includes creating a biography, voice, logo, and personality. But be careful not to end up with a mundane and robotic profile. A mismatch of your online and real persona is even worse. At the end of the day, your personal brand should communicate specifics such as who you are, who you want to be, how you present yourself to the world, and how the world perceives you.

5 Ways to Develop Your Personal Brand

Creating a personal brand that you can be proud of is an ongoing project. It will take time to build a vision of who you wish to be, before executing that vision.

Identify Your Goals

What do you want to be famous for in the next 5 years? The same way companies set social media goals, is the way you should set your own personal branding goals. These include:

  • Becoming an opinion shaper in your industry
  • Speaking in paid for or voluntary industry conventions
  • Becoming an expert in hosting events or parties

As you organize your goals, compare yourself to the people you idolize and their online personalities. They could be opinion shapers in your community or industry experts. For now, your current personality may not match with what you want to be known for. Worry not as growth is part of personal branding.

Audit Your Personal Brand

The average online user may not take personal branding seriously. But if you are on social media networks such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Twitter, your personality is already being documented elsewhere. To test this theory, open an incognito browser to free your google search from personal customizations. Then carry out this search:

  • Both your first and last names
  • Variations of your name
  • Misspellings of your name
  • If you have a common name, try adding elements that define you such as an alias, occupation, school or employer.

In case you have an active social media presence, your most likely results would be from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+. More results may include your website and blog. Controlling how you present yourself is the best way to manage what comes up when people google you.

Here’s a statistic that lists the most used social media platforms worldwide.

Source: Statista

Define Your Target Audience

Creating relevant content and defining your target audience compliments each other. To build your personal brand, you first need to understand whether you are looking to reach new clients, gain insight on your current customers, or launch a new product or service. Once you get the overall picture, connecting the dots will become easier.

For example, if you want to be an expert in crypto currencies, search for common phrases and see the results. If your name doesn’t pop up or you appear further down in the search results, come up with a plan to create relevant posts. The more you share about the topic, the more people will begin associating you with that topic. Don’t make the mistake of trying to appeal to everyone or promote yourself all the time. Much as you don’t like hearing a company’s sales pitch all the time, so shouldn’t you talk about yourself all the time.

Build Strong Relationships

After a few months of posting according to your strategy, you may find you’re not reaping the engagement you had envisioned. People may not be clicking on your links, leaving comments or sharing your content. This can make you feel like you’re shouting into the abyss. Make some time to analyze your social media analytics, the same way you would for a company. Do you respond and engage your audience or do you simply tweet hoping someone will reply?

Building relationships can help you develop a strong reputation that attracts opportunities which probably would never come your way. To build professional relationships that are meaningful, search for people you wish to have a connection. Plan how you want to relate to them and how you want them to perceive you.

Become an Influencer

If you have been posting about a certain subject and interacting with your audience on the topic, chances are you’re considered an influencer in that field. Companies covet influencers today as an alternative way to reach new audiences. Social media visibility is one of the most important instruments influencers use. Having a big online following is important when it comes to building your personal brand. It is more important if you are using a blog to do it.

Millions of people across the globe are online every day. A good number spend hours hanging out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and other popular social media platforms. Your blog posts should appear on their news feeds and capture their attention. Buzzsumo can help you gauge how you rank among influencers in your field. Brands will also see how you rank amongst your peers when searching for influencers. Make it easy for them to contact you by having visible contact information on your website and social media accounts.

At the end of the day, setting up and maintaining your personal brand is an integral part of your general life. Many details of your life are online and everyone be it employers, investigators, competitors, and admirers run searches on your name. Always broadcast the best potential of yourself to the world. Review your personal brand yearly or half yearly and see if still fits. As people grow and change with life experience, so should your personal brand.

About the author: Daniel Shane is a professional branding expert and a Digital Marketer. He is a full stack growth hacker and currently working as a brand consultant at LogoOrbit. He can be followed at @danielshane96