The Benefits of Establishing a Personal Brand Identity

May 24, 2016

“Personal brand identity is about managing your name — even if you don’t own a business — in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records. Going on a date? Chances are that your date has Googled your name. Going to a job interview? Ditto.” – Tim Ferriss, Author of the 4-Hour Work Week.

A personal brand is how individuals present themselves to the world and how the world perceives them. The term ‘brand’ has long been associated with businesses however, the ubiquity of social media means most individuals now have an online presence of some description. A simple online search can reveal extensive detail about individuals, ranging from a profile picture and basic information to a range of images and a full personal and professional history.

Personal branding on social media is prominent across the globe, with many high profile examples leading the movement forward. The President of the United States, Barack Obama, has an Office of Digital Strategy with approximately 20 aides that manage Obama’s Twitter account as well as the White House Facebook page, Instagram account and YouTube channel. The team has the job of helping Obama deliver messages over social media with his own distinct voice and personality to promote his various causes and agendas.

Personal Brand Personas

Effectively managing an individual’s personal brand can help establish the individual’s expertise and cultivate new business partnerships. The primary personas for personal brand marketing include the following:

  1. Students and job seekers
  2. Business owners, consultants and freelancers
  3. Company executives and employees
  4. Politicians
  5. Celebrities

Each of these personal brand personas will be explained below:

1. Students and job seekers

A professionally presented personal brand online has the ability to assist students and job seekers find and secure a desired job. Establishing a professional LinkedIn profile and combining concise, clean language with striking, relevant images on social media network profiles can enable an individual to stand out in the crowded job market. The majority of organisations and recruitment agencies search a candidate’s name online to help decide whether to progress the process of offering them a role. A superior profile is likely to help a candidate gain an edge over competitors for a position.

A 2015 CareerBuilder survey states that in the United States, 52 percent of employers use social media networks to research job candidates, up from 39 percent in 2013. Many organisations and recruiters also utilise LinkedIn as their primary source for finding new candidates. The more comprehensive and illustrative the LinkedIn profile, the more an individual will stand out to future employers and differentiate themselves from competitors.

2. Business owners, consultants and freelancers

For business owners, a well-established personal brand can improve the market appeal of the organisation, establish its expertise, and attract new partnerships. Establishing the ‘face behind the brand’ can help new and future partners, employees, and clients relate to the organisation. It is common to see business owners or senior executives publish blog articles, opinion pieces, and social media posts regarding industry news.

For freelancers and consultants, a strong personal brand online has the ability to improve their business substantially by increasing the number of inbound leads. For example, a freelance interior designer may establish an Instagram profile whereby they post images of beautiful pieces of furniture and interior designs that inspire them. These images may be taken from magazines, interior design shows, clients and their own work, however, collectively, the profile would encapsulate the freelancer’s eye for detail and personal style.

3. Company executives and employees

For company executives and employees, establishing a strong personal brand can boost a company’s profile by conveying its executive’s expertise and achievements in its industry. Blog posts, opinion pieces, and comments on industry news can promote industry activity and awareness, ultimately improving brand awareness. Comments and thought-leading posts on social media can help an audience relate to the executives and engage with them on a personal level.

An example of a CEO who has established a successful personal brand is Matt Barrie, the founder of freelancer.com and many other innovative businesses. By posting on LinkedIn a heavily researched, deeply opinionated article about the controversial issue of the alleged decline of Sydney’s nightlife, Barrie was able to establish a prominent personal brand. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the article of about 8,400 words attracted more than 200,000 readers in less than 24 hours thus increasing brand awareness for both his own personal profile and the organisation’s.

4. Politicians

In recent years, politicians have utilised social media to build reputations and brands, market policies and win votes. YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are among the platforms in which politicians utilise intensively to connect with existing and potential voters and advocates for their causes.

For politicians, social media has the ability to capture the attention of a connected generation and speak to them on a personal level. Many successful politicians today have a strong social media presence, which allows their supporters to gain an insight into their lives, discover their values, achievements and personal views.

5. Celebrities

Celebrities are often showcased in the media without having much control over what is published and how they are represented. Establishing a personal brand on social media allows celebrities to demonstrate to their fans what their true values are. Many top celebrities including sports and entertainment celebrities, utilise their personal brand on social media to engage with their audience and showcase their true passions which will help them further relate to their audience.

Through a range of social media networks, anyone from students to business executives to celebrities can benefit from establishing a strong personal identity.

To learn how to establish a personal brand identity for your business, contact Social Media College today.

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About the author 

Jonathon Tanner

Jonathon Tanner is the Co-founder & CEO of Social Media College, Australia's leading educator and trainer for social media. He co-authored the Diploma of Social Media Marketing, the world's first and only Australian Government recognised course in social media marketing, delivered by 25 leading colleges and TAFEs across Australia, and articulating into several Bachelor programs at Australian Universities. His deep expertise in social media spans content marketing, social media strategy, 15 different social media networks, paid social advertising, personal branding, email marketing, and social media conversion. Jonathon has also co-founded several other businesses, as well as spending 12 years as a management consultant specialising in mergers & acquisitions for private equity firms, growth strategy, and operational improvement. Jonathon holds a combined Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Sydney.

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