How to turn your
Passion, Strengths and Talents
into a Brand
How to Create Your Online Influencer Persona
This is a big topic, so for those who want to read the basic we have set out an overview, a few paragraphs to help create the correct mindset, for those who want more, continue to read the ‘Details’ section. (You may want to pour yourself a cup of coffee before you start).
Your Online Influencer Persona is a brand, your brand, your personal brand that will separate you from everyone else in the world; so, getting it right is important.
Overview: Building a Personal Brand
Let’s assume that you have decided to become an influencer and you are keen to work with Brands to help them promote their products or services.
In very simple terms there is a huge difference in how you should consider your online presence when moving from an individual that uses social media to chat with friends and beginning your career as an influencer. You must create an impression in the minds of others that you can reach an audience, that you have credibility and that you have strong relationships with followers.
Influence = Audience Reach (# of followers) x Brand Affinity (expertise and credibility) x Strength of Relationship with Followers
Influence is not only about having a large following its about having a clear, defined image – a persona/ brand/ image that is rock solid. If you are working with a Brand developing content, the brand executives will want to know that you are capable of reaching an audience and someone who understands the importance of Brand – who better to do that than someone who has already proven they can achieve success with their own personal brand?
Cultivate a Niche focus
Counter intuitively it is better to be thought of as an expert in one area than trying to appeal to a wider audience. You may feel that you will be limiting your options by becoming a niche player but it’s much better to be able to talk and present with conviction about your passion rather trying to inspire about topics you know little about or for which you have little passion. Further Brands are interested in working with experts and those that have real influence rather than those will just a large unfocused following.
Building a Brand Takes Time
Building a following to your Brand will take time and persistence and it’s important to maintain your passion and commitment to your goals and continue to build your brand credibility.
Be Real, – Influence vs Acting
Your aim is to build a personal brand, and at its core, to work in the long term, you must be authentic. Clearly presentation on video and in blogs and images requires an element of performance… but it should be the ‘Real You’ not you acting a role or a part. By building influence based on your authentic self, – all else is more likely to develop; your personal brand, your niche, your engagement with fans, your following, your connection with brands.
Make and Maintain Connections
The best Personal Brands are those that engender trust, and for trust to build making personal connections is essential, – your brand will grow much more quickly when you involve your followers by replying to questions emails and comments, and importantly share your story. Remember, that according to research of behaviours almost everyone trust recommendations that come from friends, so make friends of your followers by interacting with them.
For those who want to know more ……….
This is a big topic, so you may want to pour yourself a cup of coffee before we set of on the how you are going to create your Online Influencer Persona – a brand, your brand, your personal brand that will separate you from everyone else in the world.
Authenticity is the core element of any personal branding: A great personal Brand displays the character, personality and identity of the individual and such is grounded in distinct human qualities that make us all different and yet similar.
How you wish to be perceived, and how are you are perceived are often different.
Find out Who You Are today
Think About Your Values
We all have a set of values that drive our decision making, sometimes we don’t make value based decisions, but our best choices in life are usually based upon a consideration of our values.
To be clear, values define the things that are most important to us, when faced with a decision, for example to take a job a long way from home, are friends more important than career, it’s a matter of personal values that determines the answer. – The best place to start is to consider the people, feelings and situations in life that make you most happy, and your value priorities will guide you towards your Personal Brand Vision.
The next step is to…..
IDENTIFY YOUR PASSIONS
Passions are the activities that you would do even if you were not paid, there are those things that you find most rewarding. Sometimes your passions and values will be the same, but more often they are different. For many family, will be a value and playing with kids may be a passion, whilst such intersect they are different.
For influencers, a core to success is to identify your passions and incorporate such into your ‘online’ life.
A passion is something that interests you.
Passions intrigue you and make you want to investigate.
Think about both your personal and professional passions, and you may well discover your passions can create a life goal plan and certainly what topics you can create engaging content. For example, if a professional passion is fashion and a personal passion is travel it is not hard to see how a fashion influencer could combine both.
Becoming an influencer will involve you in a process of change and discovery, for some that will involve challenging themselves to ‘breakout’ of some preconceived ideas about how they think. It is always good to take stock of where you are today, assess your personality and work on those things that may hinder your success.
There are a number of ideas about personality traits nevertheless a popular theory is the Big Five Personality Traits: –
Openness to experience
There are many online tests you can take to discover your personality, and whilst you may wish to make some changes, you should use the results of the test to inform your personal brand
To become a successful personal brand that is core to becoming an influencer it is important that you not only think about how you think about you, but how others think about you. Building your personal brand is about how others are going to view you and what you stand for, so it’s essential to get feedback from family, friends and peers so you understand how to align your personal brand with your goals. Ask those that know you what are their perceptions of you, what do they think your values are and what do they think your passions, and importantly ask about their perceptions of your personality.
The outside perception might differ from your perceptions or they might align closely.
Either way, you’ll have more information about the person you are and you’ll be better able to understand where you can make changes.
What do you wish to influence, – Who do you want to be?
We started this exercise thinking about who you are, we are now moving to who you want to be, and the steps and process to make a start with your Personal Brand.
What Do You Find Rewarding?
Think about your life to date, and use those memories to assess the aspects of your personal life that have been the most rewarding. Use those experiences to help define the type of life you want to have in the future.
Have a brainstorming session and create a list of all the things in life that have been positive – go through every stage of your life.
Once you have created the list, put the all the notes into categories and then begin to narrow the categories down to a few that stand out as really important, soon you will see a potential influencer field and Personal brand that will create satisfaction in your professional life.
The next step is a little harder because it forces you to think mare carefully, think about projecting your life forward to the point of retirement, and what you would like to have achieved and what you would what to be doing.
Write a description of your career ending and be as specific as possible. Clearly, things will not go as you have written, nevertheless but writing them down you’ll give yourself a clear vision of what will make you happy and satisfied in life.
Once you have your starting point and your end point clearly set forth you can fill in the steps in between.
If you want to be a fashion influencer with 5 million followers and travel the world talking to top designers and brands and earn enough money to be financially free, that is not going to happen in one step. You will need to break it down in too much smaller manageable goals, each with a timeframe and a set of activities that is consistent with your end goal. There will be many paths to your goal, set out the directions you feel will have the most fun, remember you’ll spend much of your time working on your goals so make sure you are enjoying yourself.
It is important to thing about how the steps you have laid out compare with your values, and make sure they are not in conflict, remember the best of lives are in balance and if you are to be successful as an influencer it is essential your audience is inspired by you and that will not happen if you are not happy with your life.
Having set forth your goals and path to success, look to people you can inspire you and importantly who you can learn from….
Make a list of influencers you believe you would like to emulate, and find out about them, not just the headlines, but a deeper look at what they did to achieve their success.
When we look at people we admire it is easy to only see what we want to see, or perhaps what they want us to see, but look past the surface, and discover the problems and frustrations. The aim is to discover if there is something obvious you have missed that you could use or not use in your personal brand.
Your aim is not to copy but be inspired by others, once you have discovered their path to success compare it to your plan and see if you have missed something in your plan or if you need to make adjustments.
Most of what we have discussed above it relatively introspective – thinking and determining who you want to be and where you want to go.
Take some actions …
If you ask top executive what they are looking for in their teams, they will often say, integrity… doing the things they said they were going to do even if there is nobody around to witness the work. It’s about consistency in approach, committing to work routines and sticking to it all the time no matter what. Being consistent with the time you take in developing and posting content and replying to followers’ comments.
It is important that you are not just creative in your content but your content is showcased in the best possible way, take care of the small details on your vlogs blogs and personal websites, and ensure that the profile images you use are absolutely the best.
Use professional photographs across all your social networks and author bios; you need others to easily identify and recognize you, so start with a look that will tell people you understand detail, and further come up with a great 160 character elevator pitch about you that you could use on all of your profiles and author bios to brand yourself.
Even if you’re good with your smartphone, a selfie won’t do for a professional photo to represent your brand. You want the photo to show who you are.
In addition to having an active presence on all relevant social media platforms it’s important to creating your own web pages and ensure such are professionally designed and well maintained. It’s important that brands you wish to work with are able to visit one site that can tell them all about you are where they can see all your activities described and presented in the best possible way.
It is highly likely that in your interactions with followers and brands that you will be using email and online chat, make sure that you don’t waist opportunities to easily profile yourself with a great email signature, – such needs to be designed so it looks professional while loading quickly on any email inbox server, and should include, Photo, Name and your Brand Name if different, Phone, Website, Email, Address, Social Profiles w/icons.
Image is important in building a personal brand, nevertheless, the most important thing is to build your credibility and that is about creating as much value-filled content as possible. If you want to build a brand, you need to exude everything about the topic in a memorable way – creating content that people genuinely want to consume and, more importantly share to their peers, is paramount.