10 steps to building your personal brand online

What if I told you that I got a job offer because of my personal brand? An actual permanent, full-time, decently paid job. What if I told you that you can too?

I am going to save you the time and trouble of reiterating the same old advice that you may have already come across: being consistent with your branding, taking quality pictures, posting frequently and being yourself. Like most things in life, personal branding needs to be planned, intentional and purposeful. If I did not do this, then all my posts will be of me in bed eating Jimmy the Greek and binge-watching Criminal Minds (may switch it up once in a while for a Chipotle bowl and SVU combo). There is no denying the negative effects that social media can have towards mental health because of how it reinforces unrealistic expectations; however, a strong personal brand can be an asset for career building. It can lead to interviews, promotions, networking, mentorship and other professional opportunities.

Here are 10 easy-to-do tips on how you can improve your personal branding so that you too can reap the benefits and level up in your career.

  1. Do interesting things! It’s that simple. I don’t mean you have to do something exciting or extraordinary every day, but you also can’t build your personal brand if you are staying in bed all day, no matter
    how badly we wish that was the case. It can be as simple as trying a new local restaurant, learning a new skill, signing up for a free class or attending a workshop. Whatever it is that gets you going. Afterwards, reflect and share your experience with your network.
  2. Be authentic. As a general rule, if you have to Google what to say then don’t even bother. It’s easy to tell when the content is original and genuine. Being authentic also means being real with your emotions. You don’t have to always be proud, confident or happy in all of your posts. It’s okay to be upset, it’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to be not okay. You can define what it means to overshare with your social media audience but typically, being real with your emotions makes you more relatable and displays your emotional intelligence.
  3. Create value. It’s important to be meaningful about the content you
    put out there. Things to consider before posting: Why is this important
    to me? Why is this relevant to your career? How is this content helpful
    for others? How could others engage with the content? Is what you have to say insightful or inspiring?
  4. Plan! Plan! Plan! I have this one friend who dedicates one day in a month for a photoshoot. He would go around the city, has several outfits, and takes pictures to have enough content for the rest of the month. You don’t have to be that intense; however, if you have a couple work events coming up, write your captions in advance. Search up the most used hashtags for higher reach and visibility. If you are going to a conference, have the social media tags of the panelists in your phone, so when it’s time to post, it’s a quick copy and paste.
  5. Be in the moment. Timing is everything. If you attend an event and don’t post that picture until a month or even a week later, the excitement around the event would have died down. When you finally get around to making that post, you won’t get the same reaction and traction if instead you posted it on the same day. Make your content as current and instant as possible. I know that life can get in the way, so take advantage of content managing apps, like Hootsuite, to help you plan and automatically post for you.
  6. It doesn’t always have to be about you. This might seem contrary to building a “personal” brand, but one of the top qualities that employers look for is the ability to work in a team. Show some love to your family, friends, co-workers and industry professionals. Highlight qualities or the work of people who inspire you and look up to. This also looks like engaging with other people’s content and contributing to the conversation. By doing so, they are more likely to reciprocate and engage with your content in the future. Continuously doing this will increase your visibility and reach in your network.
  7. Diversify your content. We get it, you are hustling and making things happen. But if every post that you make is about your hustle, you have become predictable and people can no longer connect. The people with the best personal branding have diverse content that is relevant and personable.
  8. Be human. People like people (unless you are like my friend Trina, she only likes dogs). Leveraging your lived experiences and sharing your story is crucial to building your brand. It’s good to talk about successes and accomplishments, but talking about overcoming barriers, especially when you are promoting a product or service, shows persistence and resiliency. Besides, people like a good underdog story.
  9. Fake it ‘till you make it. It’s tough putting yourself out there. The first couple times I tried to get myself to post about my accomplishments, I felt cringey about self-promotion. In the words of my friend Laxana, “Just shut up and do it.”
  10. Post and forget about it. Once you create that post, forget about it and continue living your life. Don’t go back and keep checking for how many likes you got or if anyone commented. Creating a strong brand is great but not at the expense of your mental health. The goal is to build a brand, not to go viral.

There you have it. Ten things you can do to build your personal brand. Now that you made it this far, you’ve got to follow me on my social media to see me walk the walk.

Written by: Sitharsana Srithas
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