By now you may have heard of the “Instagram aesthetic” – a diminishing trend of cultivating the perfectly curated feed native to the platform. This phenomenon enabled social media influencers to expand their realm of influence and generate a following based upon creating relevant content that resonated with a specific audience. So, how did they do it?
By creating a strong, personal brand.
Though this idea may sound repulsive to some, personal brands can be extremely effective ways to generate income and leverage greater influence among a specific audience. Some equate this practice to “taking pretty pictures” or “writing a blog every now and then” but creating a personal brand and monetizing influence takes time and intentionality.
The investment may seem more than anticipated, but creating a strong brand can lead to many benefits, including more credibility and exposure within your field, additional streams of revenue, and a more personal connection to your audience. The dedicated following that comes with having a personal brand may just make the journey worth it to tackle your dream projects.
Ready to give it a go? Here are some factors to keep in mind when establishing a strong personal brand.
Choose your niche
The most renowned personal brands are typically quite specific and are focused on a certain niche. Choose a topic that excites you and brings you passion. You don’t have to drop all of your hobbies but when it comes to generating a following, choosing one topic in particular like fashion, marketing, psychology, or fitness can help target a specific audience while allowing you to become known in your field.
Find someone to follow
Because personal brands exist for nearly every idea, find an influencer or brand you resonate with, and follow them closely. What topics do they post about? What patterns in their content strategy do you recognize that you can implement? What interviews, podcasts, or blogs about their journey do they share in regard to getting started? Take note, and learn from their example.
Cultivate a social media following
Building a strong and faithful following online is one of the most effective ways to have an audience to both serve and sell to. Create content with your target audience in mind and develop a strong tone to your writing.
Focus on writing to one clear person and you’ll begin to attract the people you would like to influence. Post about similar ideas and as with a personal brand, don’t be afraid to become a bit vulnerable on your journey. Additionally, invest your energy into the platforms where your audience spends most of their time.
Define your audience
Develop a content strategy and examine your analytics as you generate traction or ensure you have a clear idea on the front end of who you’re targeting. Implement marketing tactics and practices that most closely resonate with your audience.
For instance, podcasts may work well with millennials, but YouTube is more effective with GenZ.
Influencer marketing and affiliate marketing are great places to start in this respect. If you don’t have the follower count to make connections try looking for like-minded people online who are doing the same thing as you. Come up with giveaways or encourage your audience to look into partners’ websites and contents, and ask them to return the favor. Finding your competition and working with them will benefit you more often than not.
Most influencers focus on growing an email list so they have the rights to information, so in order to build out your brand to leverage influence, ensure you are creating content that serves and creating lead magnets to convert your audience.
Create a strong community
We live in a digital age and many people online are in search of the community they don’t have. Use that to your advantage – having a specific audience that attracts like-minded people is a strength. Instead of making your brand just about you, bring your audience together and they’ll follow you over a cliff.