Why Branding Yourself Online Is Now So Important and How You Can Do It Right
Today, the easiest and most strategic way to brand yourself is through online social media platforms. Whether you want to strengthen your makeup business, crowdfund a new hair product, get readers to your family blog, or build a fanbase for your mental health podcast, branding yourself can help you achieve it. How – you ask? By using social media to become a thought leader in your industry.
I’m not talking about self-promotion. People on Beyonce’s internet can see right through that. I’m talking about genuinely caring about the problems that your customers, readers, or followers may have and finding ways to help them fix those problems.
You’ve got to use your social media profiles to provide helpful tools, resources, information, and even a little entertainment, regarding that one thing you know lots about. And you’ve got to be your most authentic self while you do it.
From products and services to entertainers and bloggers, something new is on the scene every second. It’s gotten to a point where people are no longer moved to action by just a quality product. Now, more than ever, people like you and I are trusting, connecting, and buying into other people.
If we trust a person behind a brand, we trust whatever it is they’re selling. What a brand has to offer – be it a product, service, or entertainment – is secondary. If you can make a sincere connection with a person and help them solve their problems, you’ll gain loyal fans for life.
The Ultimate Example of Building a Business Off of a Personal Brand
Issa Rae is an incredible example of building a personal brand that gained her loyal fans and followers. In 2007 Issa launched a YouTube series called Dorm Diaries, a mockumentary about what it’s really like to be black at Stanford. She studied her followers and wrote and produced content that she knew they would love, and she created Facebook groups to get the word out about the series.
After three more series, Issa had built up quite an audience, and she kept that audience and strong fan base when she launched the now infamous Awkward Black Girl Series. Her fans genuinely connected with the plight of the Awkward Black Girl character (myself included) because Issa provided us with exactly what we needed: a community. She answered our question of ‘am I alone in these feelings’ with a resounding and hilarious ‘hell no.’
Issa’s fans, being loyal and genuinely committed to the Awkward Black Girl series, helped her to double her goal when she started a Kickstarter to raise money to film season 2 of the show. It wasn’t long before network executives began to call. She found the perfect partnership with HBO, where Awkward Black Girl made its glorious transition to the award-winning series Insecure.
Issa always owned the fact that she was equally as awkward as her Awkward character. It was authentically her. It was and is her personal brand. And her brand continues to solve the human problem of the need to find inclusivity and connectedness.
Branding yourself online is not just about logos and business cards. Those things are secondary. True branding is about creating a feeling and connection with your current or potential customers that sticks with them for a lifetime.