Experts Tips to Building a Memorable Personal Brand Online

How to stick around on today’s web

Alamiin Si
Aug 27, 2020 · 5 min read
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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

I beg to differ in how so many people shove a fabricated version of themselves into the faces of their audience. “People are going to talk about you no matter what” you’ll hear them say, “control the narrative”. I prefer working to be the person I wish others would see me be. After all, I can be that guy.

We don’t think others are influential by their pose of it, not for long. “Being a personal brand for the sake of being a personal brand is usually the quickest way to not be a personal brand”, said the American-Belarusian entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk. And like influence, a personal brand can not be built on deluding others. Both are free by nature. It is not a matter of whether each will flee if contained, but when.

Many people have made a name for themselves online. Let’s see what we can learn from them.

Be transparent

You can’t have multiple personalities anymore. The internet has made the whole world into a giant transparent glass.

Those times when one can be freaky on Twitter and entrepreneur on LinkedIn are far gone. Algorithms of the separate social media platforms are getting more efficient by the day — in who we interact with.

“The internet is going to expose all of us, so think long and hard about what your intentions are”. — Gary Vaynerchuk

To be honest with who you are as a person is the first step to building a name for yourself on today’s web.

Be consistent

I bet you saw this coming. I hate clichés; good thing this isn’t one. I am not suggesting you post regularly on your social media. Because I don’t think anyone needs to hear that as much as you don’t tell someone — who wants to survive — to eat and drink.

I am talking about the simple consistency we often overlook, but inherent in people who made their brands a success.

Tim Denning has the same headshot on Medium, LinkedIn, and Twitter. When you see the picture, it triggers your brain to make you click. Most at times for the only reason that you’re always wowed with simple, clear, yet compelling writing whenever you do.

Finding a way to make your audience hold something of you in their mind takes a deliberate decision and only you can do that. It doesn’t have to be a headshot, the same witty bio across all your media handles is a start.

Have a brand story

A brand story is what your audience will remember you with. I always remember Cristian Mihai as the guy who became internet famous by the age of 23 and never recovered.

Having a story will also force you to focus on what space you want to fill in this vast universe, and what to do with it. This is why Neil Patel said: “Without a story, you have no brand”.

Telling your story is simple. It consists of who you are, and what you hope to achieve by doing what you do.

Who are you?

Our religion, nationality, or race can define our identity. But as proud as we are of these qualities, they are less important in telling our story.

Who you are is the personality trait that will help you in helping others. It is tied to what you can spend hours doing without feeling tired or overwhelmed. If you’re struggling to come up with answers, ask a friend. Have them tell you where they think your talent lies in. And let their response be your guide.

What do you hope to achieve?

It is no wonder that Dr. Frankl (the author of ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’) was fond of quoting Nietzsche: “He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.” It is a powerful sentence. Use it to forge your story.

When your brand’s story is linked with what you hope to achieve, you feel compelled to fulfill it. It becomes your light to endure the darkness that comes with the sacrifices you’ll make in building your brand.

An excellent example is the shoe Company TOMS, in which they claimed that they are in business to improve lives. Apple wants everyone to ‘think different’.

What impact do you wish to have on others? Remember to “tell a story others will find themselves in”, as Neil Patel would say.

Select a dominant platform

Twitter is for witty and short messages. LinkedIn appreciates deep and long posts. Instagram is visual. Each platform is unique and will offer more if you channel the most of your energy to it.

Build your audience in one or two places and they will follow you everywhere. The bio I once impressed me because it reads: “That guy from Twitter”. Robert Downey Jr.’s bio on Twitter: “You know who I am”. Damn right. At least the 15 million people following him do. Strive to be that dominant on a single platform.

Focus on giving

People jump on the opportunity to repay the value you add to their lives. Say, tell their friends to check out your blog, for instance. Either way, do not worry about how. “Give, give, give until it hurts”, said the Forbes Coaches Council.

“Being a personal brand for the sake of being a personal brand is usually the quickest way to not be a personal brand”.

This, of course, doesn’t mean you should starve by giving it all. Even so, the worth of whatever you sell should exceed the price. What we learn on Medium is worth more than the $5 monthly subscription we pay.

Connect with your audience

I once sent a tweet to Lewis Howes thanking him for the helpful lessons I’ve learned from his book (The School of Greatness). I wasn’t expecting the reply I got.

I was so moved by his response that I went ahead and followed him on LinkedIn, subscribed to his newsletter, bookmarked his site, and (above all) recommend his book to many of my friends. To date, I read everything with Lewis’s byline. All these began with a single tweet.

The simplest act of kindness can go a long way. Unless you’re very busy, never ignore your audience.

Attend Offline Events

We form the strongest bonds with people we can physically see and interact with. Online interactions — following, engagement, impression, views, reads — can be fun and effective. Still, nothing can beat the one-on-one experience.

I met some of the best people in my life at TED events. Most of them have been supportive in my career, online and offline, in ways I can’t begin to explain.

You want people to know and help you grow online? Go out and meet some of them. Hear them laugh with no filter in the sound of their voice. Offer them a chance to see you smile to their faces and not the camera.

Conclusion

One needs not to be an expert in building a brand before they agree that it is very easy to drown and go unnoticed on the internet. To make a name in any niche is to work long enough to understand the ways to make a place in it. Keep working. And then if need be, break some rules.

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