How to Build a Personal Brand Using Social Media

By Lavender Syanda, Digital Marketer and Career Peer Advisor

Building a personal brand using social media might not be something that most people think about or perhaps when they do think about it, they think it is only for influencers and celebrities which I am here to dispel as not the case.

The truth is that everyone who wishes to build a career should consider building a personal brand online and if you are telling yourself that there is no need for one then I am pleased to inform you that you already have a personal brand online. This personal brand is an aggregate of your behavior and activity online which you have little or no control over, so what then? So you might as well at least control the narrative. Hence personal branding using social media.

What is personal branding? Personal branding online is how you present yourself through what you post, your captions, and hashtags. It could be defined in a more formal way as any conscious effort employed in creating a voice, image, and or personality associated with you.

With that being said, you will note that it is a conscious effort. This means that you will have to put in thought about the image you want to project, think about the niche you would like to be an authority in, think about the values you wish to project or highlight, all these are important and will be explained in detail in another blog post on the benefits of personal branding so keep an eye out for that.

Which brings us to the question, how does one actually build their personal brand online? Or using social media?

This can be done in five simple steps, first, think about the long game. What is it you wish to be known for? You can think about this by asking yourself what your passions are, or what interests you, or perhaps what your career goals are and as such it will give you a starting point.

The second thing is to think about your audience. Who is your target audience? Knowing who your audience is will help you know the kind of content to post in order for you to create that personal brand, it will also inform your captions and hashtags.

The third thing is consistency. If the content is king, consistency is queen. All your major social media platforms should have the exact same profile picture, biography, a cover page where applicable and feel/aesthetic. If you are thinking this sounds like a lot of work then you are absolutely right, however, effort was part of the definition. All your social media platforms should make it obvious they are yours in which case the voice, tone, and values illuminated should match across the board so that when your followers from one platform decide to follow your other platforms they will not be put off by the branding on the other platforms.

Consistency also has to do with how often you post. When you are just entering an online niche, more is more so post as often as possible so about four to six times a week. Try and create a schedule that your followers can rely on, this will be useful in building a loyal following.

The fourth thing is networking. It will be very difficult for you to create your own community if you don’t engage with the community that already exists in the field you wish to be a part of as well as the communities that have been created by thought leaders and influencers of that same niche. You need to comment, like and engage with these communities as well as with the thought leaders you wish to emulate, try and learn from them as much as you can and apply those principles in building your own brand.

Finally, we have authenticity. It is completely taboo to create a personal brand online that does not match your personality offline and this could have a devastating effect on all the hard work you put into building a personal brand online. The point is to ensure that there is an almost seamless match between the two so that when you meet your online peers offline they are not disappointed and they don’t feel duped.

This list is by no means exhaustive, however, in terms of getting you started, it is like a super pack. Try these steps out and be patient. Give it time, keep at it, and do not give up. You can also visit our offices on the 1st Floor, Freida Brown Student Center for more information and support.

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