5 Personal Branding Tips For Small Business
Whether you realize it or not, branding has been a large part of your life. Fact is, you make buying decisions every day based on branding and marketing. But, these concepts are no longer solely designed for big companies. With influencer marketing changing the way consumers discover, learn, and purchase goods and services, personal branding is becoming more important–regardless of whatever industry you belong to. Keep reading to learn some personal branding tips to boost your small business or brand and find your target audience.
Understanding Your Personal Brand
Building a personal brand is often the missing link between customers and connecting with your business. A personal brand is very similar to a traditional company brand but directed towards an individual. Personal brands also have core values, a mission statement, and even brand colors.
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Just remember this as your mantra: People buy from those they know, like, and trust. With social media today you are better positioned than any time in history as a small business or personal brand to show your potential customers what you're all about, that you're likeable, and you're trustworthy. And the best part is you can do this for free with the phone you already have in your hand.
1. Define Your Personal Brand Personality
Ideally, your day-to-day personality and personal brand’s personality are very much alike. Still, you want to make sure you understand your personal brand’s character. It needs to come across in every social media post, article, video, and interview you share with the world. Consistency is key. There are many ways to help you find out your brand’s personality, but asking yourself these questions can also help:
2. Find Your Niche
As you start to discover your brand’s personality, you’ll ultimately find its niche too. Determining your specialization, that thing you can do better than anyone else, helps you focus on your brand’s messaging. The best way to create a distinctive personal brand is by becoming the go-to, recognized authority, and expert on a specific topic.
For example, I'm a logo designer in Portland but I also do photography. Within the many types of photography I'm best at shooting portraits in Portland so I have built my brand and marketing strategy to reflect that and attract those in need of portraits, instead of weddings or family photos. If you market to everyone you market to no one.
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Another example, maybe you're a graphic designer but you specialize in logo design and have no interest in designing business cards, posters, or brochures. If that's the case make sure that's crystal clear to your potential clients so you don't waste time or resources attracting the wrong clients.
3. Build Your Social Media
The power of social media is undeniable, and you must capitalize on it to build your personal brand. Think of social media as the modern way to network. It isn’t just about posting beautiful photos and engaging videos anymore. You have to engage and interact with your audience. Reach out to others who share similar values or interests, follow other influencers within your niche, stay up-to-date with the latest conferences and events. These small actions will help you build a personal brand as you start to find your spot in the market.
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4. Use Visuals to Reinforce Your Brand
Companies have products, storefronts, and advertising to reinforce the brand. As a small business or personal brand you can use the same concept. Use color, images, design, and other branding elements to strengthen your brand.
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Consider getting a custom logo, a personal brand website, or using consistent color palettes and fonts in your social media posts. These are great ways to reinforce your brand. Then, consider more subtle and traditional branding methods like having personalized checks, business cards, and pens you can hand out during meetings or presentations.
A great example of personal branding is @jake.pnw on Tiktok. Jake has over 9 million followers thanks to defining a niche and brand on TikTok. All of Jake's videos are of him interacting with sea life in an entertaining way. He found what works with a very niche audience and built a very profitable brand around it.
5. Be Authentic
Last but not least, be authentic. Customers are becoming savvier and savvier, and they’ll quickly call out fakes on social media. When you’re recording videos or taking photos, remember to create an emotional connection with your audience. When it comes to personal brands, well-designed videos with high production won’t cut it any more. Customers want real-life interactions that show the true you. The explosion of TikTok is a perfect testament to that. Have anything to add? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.
10 Social Media Marketing Strategies That Work
There's no way around it. It's time to stop avoiding the inevitable. If you own a small business you will have to invest ample amounts of time or money into social media marketing, and for good reason, as I write this there are over 4 billion active social media users. That's literally twice as many users as there were just five years ago and they aren't going anywhere. The average user spends at least 2 hours on social media platforms every single day.
So why wouldn't you leverage that time spent on social media by your potential clients to build brand awareness, develop customer relationships, and even make sales directly within social platforms. In today's fast paced economy it is critical for your success and survival. Social media seems to be in constant evolution. This is why spending time developing the right social media marketing strategies for your business is so important. While this might seem daunting, following these tips will help you set up your social media for success.
1. Set Goals That Make Sense for Your Business
Most people focus on followers when they think of social media, but your goals should go far beyond followers. Some businesses use their social media to build a community, while others want followers that convert and drive more revenue. The goals for those businesses will be different. And, sometimes you might even need to have different social media accounts to track other goals. Take, for example, dog backpack retailer K9sportsack. Their main account (@k9sportsack), focuses on their products and branding. Their community-based account @k9sportsackcommunity shares photos of their community, funny memes and has a more community-based outline and goals.
Here are some social media goals to consider for your business:
2. Leverage the Power of Trends
Sure, not all trends will be relevant to your business. That doesn’t mean you can’t see the bigger picture and leverage the power of trends on your social media accounts. In this day in age if your business isn’t creating video content you’re losing a huge opportunity for exposure, reach, and engagement. Specifically with TikTok, no DSLR camera required. Make sure you’re investing time and effort in short-format videos, Reels, or TikTok videos to connect with your audience. All of this can be done with the cellphone you already own.
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Danny Wang Design is a perfect example of how small businesses are leveraging social media platforms like TikTok and seeing huge returns. DW Design is just your average pool, landscape, and interior design firm with over a million followers consuming their incredible before-and-after and demo videos on TikTok. Founder Danny Wang includes clickbaity captions in the thumbnails for his videos (like “Lake Size Pool” or “Never Ending Construction”), and makes sure the big reveal is covered by an underwhelming “before” scene. All of the videos then cut to an over-the-top luxury design created per the client’s request. To mix it up, Wang will share time-lapse videos of an entire project as well.
Another example is Washington-based R&A Treeservice who now has almost 600K followers on TikTok. Time-lapses of the R&A team sawing down massive trees to hip hop sounds get tens of thousands of views.
While his business is limited geographically for their main service offering, R&A is now able to sell merch to fans all over the country. For small businesses like this that operate in specific regions, consider the secondary revenue streams that could come from viral fame.
Instagram Stories are also another great way to stay in front of your audience and on their minds. Because stories are time-sensitive material (only last 24 hours), you’re tapping into customers' FOMO (fear of missing out), which is why they drive so many views and engagement.
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3. Focus on the Right Social Media Platforms
The biggest mistake small businesses make is trying to be on every social media platform on the horizon. Instead, analyze your audience and their social media behavior to help you narrow down your social media platform presence. If your audience isn’t spending time in TikTok, why bother? Instead, invest your time and money on the social media platforms that make sense to your business. Here’s a quick breakdown of demographics per social media platform:
As you can see there are simply to many social media platforms to mange on your own so I would play around with a few and find out what 3 platforms brings you the biggest return on your time investment.
4. Hire a Virtual Assistant
As you can see with all the multitude of social media platforms it can get overwhelming to keep up with. This is where a Virtual Assistant comes in handy. If you have a marketing budget you can pay a VA to do pretty much any task you can think of for as little at $6 an hour. An over seas VA can not only create content for your business specific to each platform but they can also post that content for you and even respond to comments in your place. Full automation.
5. Follow your Competitors
No idea where to start or what to post? Check out your competitors, see who's successful and follow their lead. Analyze what they are doing that works and do that. Doesn't even have to be local. If you're a logo designer in Portland, Oregon or a photographer in New York, or a real estate agent in Miami, you can find people all over the world doing what you do and killing it on social media. What are they posting? When are they posting? What are their captions like? What are they putting in their bio? How are they interacting with their audience?
6. Go viral with Humor
One time-tested social media marketing strategy is using humor. Humor marketing can be tricky, and it needs to be sensitive to what’s happening in the world at the moment. But, when used right, it has the potential to go viral. Sharing memes or creating funny quotes that relate to your audience can be pretty engaging and help boost your social media presence.
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7. Engage with your Audience
I see so many small business accounts post great content but then they never respond to comments. This is the fastest way to lose your audience unless your Kim Kardashian. Take the time to respond to every comment.
8. Collaborate with other Kickass Brands
The power of collaborating with like-minded and complementary brands is undeniable and will introduce your brand to a completely new and hopefully engaged audience you may have never reached on your own.
When another Instagram user discovers you through a collaboration you’ve done they are more likely to crush that follow button because odds are if they found you from a collaboration they are the demographic you’re looking for.
Collaborations with complementary brands will double your organic reach and are 25 times less expensive than digital advertising! Just make sure that your collaboration is mutually beneficial and both your audiences will benefit from your collaboration.
On brand collaborations for example: Because I shoot alot of fashion it makes sense that I would collab with influencers, models, designers, and makeup artists because their audience will be similar to mine and thus mutually beneficial. 7 things I look for in a collaboration (meaning not paid). What's their following like? Whats their engagement like? Will their audience connect with my work? Will mine connect with theirs? Do we have similar values? What kind of connections do they have? How skilled are they?
I try to find people and brands that have a similar or bigger following than me but will collab with someone with little to no following if they are incredibly talented. The 7 things I look for are important. If you're just collabing with anyone and everyone with no intention you will fail in your industry, miserably.
So how do you find people and brands to collab with? Do your research, join local facebook groups related to your industry like Portland Models. Search local hashtags on Instagram like #portlandmodel or #portlanddesigner or portlandMUA
9. Don't Buy Followers
Buying followers and joining engagement groups and Instagram pods is the quickest way to be shadow band or even having your account disabled. All of these things are against Instagram rules and guidelines but more importantly they just don’t work.
It’s blatantly obvious when someone has purchased followers, I see it all the time. 100,000 followers with little to no engagement on each post makes your account worthless. You’re not fooling anyone and it’s not helping you gain clients. So stop it. Not to mention purchasing followers is a huge waste of money.
10. Keep Adjusting
At last, as everything is digital, things move at a rapid pace. Remember to check your analytics, see what worked and what didn’t. Keep looking at your competitors and how your audience interacts with your posts. Then, readjust. Every month, you should carve out some time to analyze your social media efforts and adjust your content calendar for the following month. Eventually, you’ll find the secret sauce that works for your business.
Have anything to add? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. Connect with me on Instagram.
Lance Reis CEO of Kickass Designs