So you want to start building your own personal brand, but you have no idea what that actually means. Beyond coming up with clever Instagram captions and never posting a less-than-perfectly filtered photo, how does one go about making their presence known via the Internet?
Whether you choose to buy into the personal brand hype, or essentially let it be formed for you, you can’t deny that the personal brand has bevome a ubiquitous phenomenon of the digital age. As the rapid growth of social media has become less a novelty and more an everyday, make-or-break thing, we’d be hard put to deny that we are all in some ways defined by our social media presence.
So go right ahead: Do it for the aesthetic.
First, set clear goals.
Whether you have an actual brand to promote or you are working your way toward career goals, setting clear goals is the first definitive step to start working your way to what you want to accomplish.
Start by asking yourself: What do you want to leave people with? What do you want someone to take away when they come across you or your work?
What’s your story?
Figure out what your message is. What do you want to say and how do you want to get it across? Maybe you want to build your own business or work your way up the career ladder at your current job. Maybe you’re still looking for the career of your dreams. Whatever your position (or lack thereof), there’s no way better way to figure out what position would be perfect for you than to focus on what you want. And maybe you can create your own.
Decide on your aesthetic.
Whether it’s your Instagram, fashion blog, or your work ethic, building an “aesthetic” might seem a very 2015 choice of words, but in today’s world it’s pretty important nonetheless. Next, start building it out by tailoring your social media presence. In other words, make sure that everything you post is tailored to that personal aesthetic.
Figure out your audience.
Then, figure out what you want them to take away from your name, message, or account. The hardest part about cultivating your personal brand is figuring out what you want to gain from it. Ask yourself: What do you want your audience to take away from your narrative? What kind of impact do you want to make?
Maybe you want to build a killer personal blog, website or even store. Maybe you want to create an online portfolio showcasing publications. Maybe you’re a budding artist looking for a place to sell your prints for the first time. Whatever your ultimate goal, know that it’s best to use clear and concise language on your website or portfolio, or even just your resume (which is a kind of portfolio on its own), to further that mission.
Realize that no matter who you are and what your goals are, if you’re looking to create, grow, or continue to advance your personal brand, you should absolutely strive to inspire others to want to work with you. That’s step one. From there, it’s all up to you to streamline your vision.