Whether you want to be an entrepreneur, an author, or a musician, many investors and agents are looking for people who already have a social media platform and an online presence. Essentially, they are looking for those who already have an audience ready and waiting, because the hardest part of getting a creative venture off the ground, in the arts or in the business, is getting attention.
So if you are looking to supercharge your personal brand, how do you get started?
Be Clear About What You Will Be Known For
If you’re pursuing a career in acting or modeling, you will need to be more active on different social media platforms than if you want to be a fiction writer, freelance writer, or app designer. Your first goal is to determine what your brand is about. Once you know what you want to be the best at, you can start decide what you alone bring to the field.
Whether you’re going to be posting selfies on Instagram, writing a blog, or making short videos to share on YouTube, be clear about your goals, so that your followers know what to expect.
Polish Your Skills
What skills need to get refined will vary, depending on which field you’ve chosen to make your mark. If you’re looking to show off your modeling skills, you don’t just want to practice your pose and your look, but your basic competence with Photoshop, photo composition, and lighting. Aspiring writers will do well to review Elements of Style and read as many good essays as they can get their hands on. They should also become familiar with the basics of color theory, design, and HTML or CSS. Learning a little bit about SEO certainly won’t hurt.
As you make friends with other people pursuing some of the same goals, you’ll find out what you’re doing right, and also find out about opportunities for you to improve.
Expert Blog Posts
One way to get some exposure for your brand is to write expert blog posts for different blogs that already have a substantial readership. You can write pitch letters to a bunch of different blogs, or you can use MyBlogU, which I personally use to find blog owners looking to connect with experts on a variety of topics.
The benefit of getting your writing placed on other blogs is twofold; first, a whole new audience gets to reads your writing, and hopefully at least some of them will follow you back to your own blog or social media accounts, and increase your followers. Second, having high quality links to reputable blogs is a great way to improve your placement in search engine results.
You’ll also begin to be seen as an expert in your niche, as long as you’re writing persuasively and well, and that will also increase your reputation, and improve the odds of investors and others enjoying your contributions.
Interact On Social Media
Many people treat social media as a place where they go to have their say, and then they’re done. This is one way to use social media, but you’re going to have a lot more fun and make a lot more connections if you approach social media as an ongoing conversation and help your audience to achieve their goals. What does this mean?
Post your reflections, share your pictures, and put out your thoughts and considerations into the world. But follow other people. Comment on their photos, their thoughts, their ideas. Don’t spend a ton of time trying to convince people to like your page or favorite your account; instead, give them a reason to come back, day after day, and enjoy the things you have to say and share.
Ultimately, your goal when you’re building your personal brand is to engage with your audience. While the older generation is often content with receptive media, Gen Y, Millennials, and even the youngest members of Generation X have experienced unprecedented access to their heroes through social media, conventions, and the immediacy of online interviews and niche blogs.
Many people who are frustrated with this talk about the entitlement of this generation, and that might be true for a small percentage of fans, but if you’ve ever watched someone shriek with joy after a hero has retweeted something they said or favorited a post, you know that it’s not entitlement, it’s total and complete joy.
Engagement isn’t just about asking a question at the end of your blog post to try and get someone to comment, it’s about responding to what people say, treating their concerns and comments as legitimate, and caring about what they think about you.