From Person To Influencer – Everything You Need To Know About Building A Personal Brand

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The golden age of the internet hasn’t just changed the world for businesses, but for people too. Every person has stories, experiences, and knowledge that is unique to themselves – and now, it’s never been easier to become a thought leader by sharing it all with the world. Welcome to the era of the personal brand.

Building a personal brand can be a lot more rewarding than people tend to realise. A good personal brand often leads to a high fan following, status as a thought leader in a specific field, lucrative partnerships and endorsement deals, media opportunities, guest lecture invitations, and yes, handsome sums of money. Most of all, a personal brand allows you to chart your own legacy for the world to see, and on your own terms.

While great personal branding has turned the likes of Mark Cuban, Gary Vaynerchuk, and even The Kardashians into global successes, India has its fair share of personal branding superstars too. Take Danish Sait, Tanmay Bhat, Lilly Singh, Neil Patel, Kenny Sebastian, Alicia Souza, or Faye D’Souza, for instance.

Anyone can build a personal brand for themselves, or as representatives of their enterprise – all that matters is the value one brings to their audiences. If you’ve been inspired to start a personal brand for yourself, here are a few personal commandments that you should never forget.

1.“I am the brand, and the brand is me”

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The first step to creating a winning personal brand, is to think like a brand. From the moment you decide to create a personal brand, your every statement, action, and initiative will contribute to the public view of your brand. Every day presents new opportunities that could greatly boost your brand, if capitalised on. It takes a proactive mindset and an understanding of your brand to make the most of them.

2.“I know what I’d like to be known for, and I’m going to start talking about it today”

Just like any brand, a personal brand is also a purposeful brand. Finding that purpose might be more complicated for a person than an enterprise, but the underlying principle remains the same – understand what you do or know best, and triple down on your strengths. Streamline your content around this singular purpose, and you’ll soon find yourself on the way to becoming a thought leader in your respective field.

3.“Since I am seeking people’s attention, I won’t expect them to come to me. I will go where they are”

Who do you think would most benefit from the message you’re trying to convey? Once you know the answer to this question, it is important that you spread your message in the forums that they use most often. For instance, targeting a millennial audience on LinkedIn with improvisational comedy isn’t the smartest play in the book, as is not having any presence on Snapchat. Remember, when building a personal brand, you need to win your audience’s attention. And since they’re not trying to win yours, that simply means you have to meet them on their terms – even if it means posting on Reddit, Music.ly, or a podcast instead of conventional social media.

4.“When my audience trusts me with a little of their time, I will always repay them with more value”

Personal branding is almost entirely rooted in creating value for your audiences. Always audit your content to ensure that it is thoughtful, meaningful, and a positive value add to your target group’s lives. One poorly thought out piece of content can cost a personal brand everything. Personal brands are about giving. Always give more value to your audience than you receive in terms of time, and you will find yourself having plenty.

 

5.“Despite my limited resources, I will post content consistently”

Gary Vaynerchuk famously says, “Document, don’t create.” This essentially means that instead of spending high volumes of cash and resources to create a one off piece of high production value content, use your time to instead document your everyday experiences and share them consistently. To get started, all you need is the smartphone that you’re reading this article on, and the discipline to regularly document content.

6.“In the midst of all the social media attention, I will not neglect the other essentials”

A lot of influencers make the cardinal mistake of not having their own websites, which actually amounts to a huge opportunity cost. Upon seeing your social media handles, the next instinct for your audience is to Google search your name. Not having a website can cost you greatly in this regard, since it becomes more difficult for prospective partners to get to know you better or contact you. One more thing that you cannot afford to forget is your real world image. The values and principles that you espouse online have to be a reflection of your real world self, and vice versa. Nothing spells distrust more than an influencer who doesn’t practice what they tweet.

7.“No matter how big my brand gets, I will always stay true to why I started in the first place” 

Once your brand is under the limelight, it shouldn’t start to behave differently. Always stay true to the principles that brought you to the doorstep of success, and always honour the people who your brand tries to create value for. Remember, while personal brands are lucrative in the immediate term, they are also a part of something much bigger – your legacy. Once you’ve won the trust of hundreds or thousands of viewers, don’t stray from the principles that brought you here. But also don’t be afraid to reinvent. Always look for new ways to reward your followers with fresh content, and they’ll continue to give you more in return.

8.“I am one with my audience, neither above or below them”

There really is no need for the likes of Nicki Minaj to respond to a random tweet asking for help with a student loan, for Sarah Silverman to give a Twitter shoutout to America’s best orthopedicians to help one of her trolls with a spine disability, or for JK Rowling to address Harry Potter fanfiction that she had no role in creating. But they still should. A good personal brand knows that it is one with its audience, never assuming superiority over them – and one of the best ways to instill that, is to empathetically respond to your audience as much as possible.

 

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Let’s face it – every action of ours in this day and age is documented on the internet. There is no living without existing on the internet. Building a personal brand is just one way to recognise that this is the greatest opportunity of our times, and make it all count.