What Social Media Influencers Can Teach Us About Personal Branding

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Do you ever scroll through your Instagram feed and marvel at those users who have reached rapid, stunning success? Whether it’s the fashion blogger who now appears on international magazine covers or the food photographer who has published a bestselling cookbook of their own, you have to wonder: “How did they do that so quickly?”

The success of these people ins’t random. They – sometimes along with their teams – worked hard to establish and maintain their personal brands. If you look across their social channels and different projects, you will find similar themes. These themes constitute that individual’s personal brand and define how they stand out in the crowded internet space.

By modeling your personal brand after the brands of influencers, you can find similar success:

1. Find Your Niche

Most people come across new social media users in the course of searches related to some personal interest like fashion, comedy, or gaming. People then decide who of the thousands of options to engage with based on each person’s mission and how they communicate it.

The first step in creating your personal brand is defining your niche. Highlight a few of your top interests. What do you love to do? What do you do better than anyone else? What are the results of your passion and expertise? Prove that you have something different to say – and say it.

2. Develop a Story

To tell the best story possible, first outline it. Think in time periods: Where do you want to be a few years or months from now? You don’t have to be in a transitional stage to think about your goals and position yourself accordingly.

Take that personal trainer who published a recipe book. They first focused on fitness inspiration. Then, they slowly introduced posts about their meals. They saw their followers take an interest in these new posts, and they were able to extend their story accordingly.

You can follow a similar path. Focus on your current expertise, but take time to demonstrate other interests as well. Look for ways these interests can intersect with and supplement your current expertise to push you toward your dream career. Use your goals as a guide to where you want to go and your mission as a reminder of how you want to get there. The story will basically write itself.

3. Engage Consistently

Like they say: out of sight, out of mind. When an influencer takes a hiatus, you usually don’t notice they’ve left until they’ve returned. That’s not to say you don’t care about what they have to say; rather, there’s just so much content out there to fill the void.

Think of social media profiles as assets. Recruiters look at social media to learn about you beyond your resume. If your LinkedIn profiles says nothing new about you, you are not doing yourself any favors. Choose a few channels to showcase what makes you interesting beyond your education and work experience.

Engage to stay top of mind. If you have time, create a blog or YouTube channel. Use it to target your niche with valuable content. If your schedule is too tight for that, carve out at least a few minutes a week to simply comment on others’ posts. Share articles that reflect how you think and offer your opinion when people ask for it. You may not produce the content yourself, but your input is still valuable.

Your personal brand is relevant beyond the internet. Bringing your online story into real-life interactions strengthens your message and helps you network more effectively. Social media influencers are perfect examples of why personal branding is the secret to modern success.

Glenn Laumeister is the CEO of AllWork, a talent-matching platform for brands and retailers.  

By Glenn Laumeister