In this modern digital era, your online persona can be a make-or-break deal. Even if you already have a personal brand, there's always room to make it better.
From my experience growing a fanbase of 750K+ people across my social channels, I've noticed something interesting:
Those killing it online aren't special. They aren't necessarily smarter or more talented, either.
They just know how to make their personal brand shine. They know how to be relatable, keep their followers interested, and offer something unique.
In this article, I'll share the 8 ways I improve my personal brand every day. These are tried-and-true strategies that'll help you build credibility, communicate effectively, and stand out from the crowd.
Let's get into it.
Relatability: The foundation of every successful personal brand
Most people are rushing to catch the next big trend or hop on the latest platform. But you know what they're not paying enough attention to? Their own experiences and stories.
Don't make the same mistake.
It doesn't matter how many followers you’ve gained or how many viral posts you've had. If you're not relatable, your personal brand won't stand the test of time.
Think about it:
Who are the ones you look up to most online? Why do you look up to them?
Chances are, you admire the ones you can relate to.
Relatable stories reel people in, spark interest, and build trust. When your audience feels a genuine connection with you, they're more likely to stick around to engage with you, advocate for you, and buy from you.
So before we jump into the 8 strategies for boosting your personal brand, remember this:
You're not just another face in the digital world. You're a storyteller. You have unique experiences to share.
That's your edge that sets your personal brand apart.
8 ways to improve your personal brand
- Define your brand identity
- Audit and refine your online presence
- Cultivate a consistent and professional image
- Showcase your expertise and build authority
- Grow your network strategically
- Participate in speaking engagements
- Invest in your professional development
- Monitor and manage your brand
1. Define your brand identity
Let's start with the basics. Your brand identity is like your fingerprint in the digital space — unique, distinct, and undeniably you.
To define it, you need to pinpoint your values, recognize your strengths, and show off your unique qualities:
Pinpoint your values
It's true what they say, "You must stand for something, or you'll fall for anything."
Your values are the cornerstone of your personal brand. They're what you believe in, the principles you hold dear, and the standards you set for your work and life.
For example, one of my core values is building my business around my life, not the other way around. I value spending time with my wife, traveling with my family, and not overworking myself just to make an extra dollar. These core values permeate every aspect of my business. I won't pursue a venture that may get in the way of me living life the way I want to.
Your values might be different. Maybe you prioritize innovation. Or perhaps community is your driving force. Whatever they are, they should be clearly defined and evident in all aspects of your brand.
Recognize your strengths
For your personal brand to shine to its full glory, you need to know what you're good at.
Are you an amazing communicator? A master networker? A brilliant strategist? These give your audience a reason to listen to you.
One of my strengths is running my one-person business by diversifying how I earn income.
I've dabbled in different ways to make money on the internet, and people have followed my journey since 2019. They've seen my ups and downs and learned new things with me along the way.
In this instance, my unique experience pursuing this solopreneur lifestyle sets me apart from others.
Show off your unique qualities
Every strong personal brand has an X factor — those unique qualities that make you… well, you.
These can be personality traits, unusual experiences, or even quirky hobbies.
They may not seem like much on their own. But when woven into your personal brand, they add depth and character, making you more relatable and memorable.
Do you love to surf? Weave that into your content every now and then. It might not relate to your work directly, but it's a part of who you are.
Sharing your hobbies and interests will help you connect with your audience on a more personal level.
2. Audit and refine your online presence
After nailing your brand identity, it's time to look at how that identity is showing up online.
Auditing and refining your online presence might sound tedious, but trust me — it's worth it. A consistent, polished personal brand works wonders for your influence and reputation.
Here's how I audit and refine my online presence:
Check your digital footprint
Begin by doing a simple Google search for your name.
What comes up? Are there any old social media accounts or outdated blog posts that don't align with your current brand identity?
Clean those up.
Your digital footprint should reflect who you are now, not who you were 5-10 years ago.
Scrutinize your social media
Your social media platforms are the primary places where your audience will interact with you.
Are you portraying a consistent brand image across all your accounts? Look at your profile photos, bios, and the types of content you share.
For example, if you check out my social media accounts, you'll see the same professional profile picture, a bio that reflects my expertise as a diversified solopreneur, and other relevant content.
Remember, consistency is crucial for branding. You want people to instantly recognize you, whether they stumble upon your LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter pages.
Overhaul your professional networks
Platforms like LinkedIn or industry-specific networks are equally important.
These networks often serve as the first point of contact with potential employers or clients. So, it's critical to make a stellar first impression.
- Is your profile well-optimized?
- Are your job descriptions up-to-date?
- Are you showcasing your latest achievements?
- Is your elevator pitch attracting enough ideal clients?
- Do you have recent testimonials, recommendations, and endorsements?
3. Cultivate a consistent and professional image
You know the saying, "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have?" The same applies to your personal brand. Your image, online and offline, can play a major role in how people perceive you.
On the internet, you're presenting yourself through your photos, your writing style, and your content. Make sure they're in sync with your professional goals.
For example, if you're positioning yourself as a business consultant, a professional headshot along with well-structured, error-free content can go a long way in establishing credibility.
Offline, it's all about how you present yourself in meetings, networking events, or even casual meet-ups. If you're in a creative field, let your style reflect that. If you're in corporate, a more traditional approach might be best.
Pro tip: Your image should amplify your personal brand, not suppress it. Show the world who you are, and just do it in a way that aligns with your career aspirations.
4. Showcase your expertise and build authority
If there's one thing I've learned from growing my audience, it's this:
People don't follow you for who you are. They follow you for the value you provide.
So if you want to improve your personal brand, start showcasing your expertise.
Don't just tell people you're an expert — show them:
- Speak at conferences
- Contribute to industry publications
- Write thought-provoking blog posts
- Post insightful content on your social media platforms
Share your unique insights and experiences, and people will start to see you as a leader in your specific niche.
5. Grow your network strategically
Networking in 2023 isn't just about shaking hands at events or swapping business cards. It's about engaging with people who can add value to your professional journey, and vice versa.
Start with industry experts. Their insights can help you stay ahead of trends, and their support can expose you to a wider audience.
Also, don't forget your peers. They're in the trenches with you, facing the same challenges and successes.
Peers can offer unique perspectives and become valuable partners or collaborators down the line.
To grow your network strategically, you'll need to get out there:
- Attend industry events
- Join online communities
- Participate in discussions
Besides seeking out relationships that align with your brand and goals, attract the right people with impactful content:
6. Participate in speaking engagements
Speaking engagements are like a golden ticket to elevating your personal brand.
They allow you to showcase your expertise, reach a larger audience, and connect with industry leaders. But I'm not just talking about stepping onto a stage in front of hundreds of people — though that's great if you get the chance!
There are many other ways to share your voice.
Have you thought about being a guest on a podcast?
There are thousands of people out there looking for experts to share their insights.
How about participating in a webinar or a live Q&A on social media? Or teaming up with another professional for a workshop?
Each of these avenues provides opportunities to express your views, demonstrate your knowledge, and engage with others in your target audience.
Not only will this boost your visibility, but it'll also help you build authority, making you the go-to thought leader in your area of expertise.
7. Invest in your professional development
Staying stagnant isn't an option if you want an enduring personal brand and career.
Investing in your professional development shows your audience that you're committed to growing, sharpening your skills, and staying on top of industry trends.
This doesn't necessarily mean you have to shell out big bucks for fancy certifications, though.
It could be as simple as attending a free webinar, enrolling in an affordable online course (both of mine are $150), or even reading industry-related books.
Resources like Hubspot Academy offer free comprehensive courses on various subjects, from content marketing to video editing. If you have a budget and want to learn from someone who's where you want to be, consider reaching out to them for one-on-one coaching.
8. Monitor and manage your brand
By now, you should know that your work isn't over after establishing your personal brand. Maintaining and managing your brand is an ongoing process.
It involves monitoring your online presence, responding to feedback, and fine-tuning your brand as you grow and evolve.
Keep tabs on your online presence
Just as you regularly check your physical appearance in the mirror, you should do the same for your online image.
Keep an eye on how you're perceived on social media, forums, review sites, and anywhere else you might pop up. Tools like Google Alerts can help you stay on top of any mentions of your name or brand.
Respond to feedback with grace
Feedback, whether positive or negative, is a valuable tool for growth.
Thank your supporters for their positive reviews, and address any concerns promptly and professionally. Rather than letting negative feedback get you down, use it as an opportunity to show your commitment to excellence.
No brand is static. Your personal brand should grow with you.
Eventually, you may reach the point when it's time to polish up your mission statement, update your social media profiles, or even change your branding elements. If you're a freelancer, like a writer or graphic designer, you may want to update your portfolio every quarter.
So, stay true to who you are but don't be afraid to make changes when it's time.
Start improving your personal brand today
As mentioned, refining your personal brand isn't a one-and-done task. It's an ongoing commitment and a journey requiring time, intention, and, most importantly, action.
Your personal brand is more than just an online presence; it's a reflection of who you are and what you bring to the table.
When improving your personal brand, be mindful of…
- Showcasing your expertise
- Presenting a professional image
- Keeping up with and managing your brand
- Investing in personal and career development
- Building authority through speaking engagements
- Networking strategically with industry professionals
Your personal brand is a powerful tool. Use it wisely, nurture it constantly, and it'll serve you well.
If you want a deep dive into how to craft an effective personal brand on LinkedIn, I recommend you check out my course, The Operating System.
It's designed to provide you with the tools and strategies to enhance your brand on the platform.
There you have it.
Now, go out there and get your personal brand working for you.