By: Riley Holbrook (@RileyHolbrook_)
Keeping up with the world means keeping up with your digital identity.
So, you want to build a stronger personal brand? Well, you might as well start where the world is currently at and continuing to head: online. We are constantly connecting with people and seeking information through our digital identities. Knowing this, we should be mindful of the actions we’re doing now that reflect our self-brand.
Self-branding has been a popular topic over the past few years. If I recall correctly, I first heard of this concept during my freshman year of undergrad in 2014. Immediately, I was intrigued by the notion that “everyone is a CEO of a brand called YOU.” For the past 21 years, all my actions have led me to where my current brand stands today. To be frank, I still don’t know what that is, but it’s not our job to identify what our self-brand is. That is the job of others, who have a natural tendency to form judgements on people. However, one thing we can do is nurture our brand and cultivate it into something great. This may sound challenging, but it can be simpler than we think; especially because we have these awesome resources called the internet and social media. All you have to do is keep up and be original.
To ensure that your personal brand is relevant, you have to keep up with the forever changing digital world, yet remain true to yourself. This means following trends, producing content, and staying connected with people and topics that align with your personal interests.
There are plenty of people on social media who have built a strong brand centered on themselves. These people have a large following, high engagement, and have a clear brand. Follow these people and identify what they are doing, even if they don’t align with your brand. Obviously whatever they are doing works. So why not dissect their profiles, follow the trends and tactics they use, and incorporate them into the content you produce.
The content found on your digital profiles tells a lot about who you are and what you’re interested in. Consistently posting about the industry you’re in, interests you may have, and brands you interact with will give people something to expect. This means before you even post content, people will already have of an idea of what they will see from you. This allows you to build a following of like-minded individuals and remain connected in your interests.
Lastly, when trying to optimize your profile in the digital world, you have to remain connected with topics and people related to your interests. Other like-minded individuals want to hear your thoughts and opinions on relevant news topics just as much as you want to hear from them. This allows for more discussion and engagement on your social media platforms and a greater likelihood that you will develop friends or followers that co-align with your brand. It’s called social media for a reason- be social!
Creating a digital identity that is appealing and thought-provoking is not easy to accomplish. It takes time, the right set of skills, and studies show it may cause a lot of stress and anxiety.
In other words, be yourself. Everyone is unique, so remain authentic and show the world what makes you different. Being yourself, instead of creating something or someone you are not, allows for social media to be more fun and successful. Throughout our entire lives we are told to “just be ourselves,” so why stop now? If you want to build a positive and reputable image of yourself in the minds of others, show the world who you truly are. I guarantee there are many like-minded people in the world that are dying to meet and connect with someone like you.
It’s On You
The execution of self-branding on social media is now more important than ever. With the digital world still in its infant stages of life, our digital identities are also young. This provides us with the opportunity to start early on establishing a brand that we want to show the world. You are the CEO of a brand called YOU. Keep up, be original, and live your brand.
Riley Holbrook is a senior at Grand Valley State University studying Communications and Advertising. Besides being an active member of PRSSA, Riley serves as Client Communications Director for GrandPR, and is an online marketing associate for LaLa Projects, a remote digital marketing agency. His passion for helping brands and people grow has led him to IMC industry. When not behind his laptop you can find him actively outside and sharing the love with his Subaru.