There is no question that a strong personal brand is an invaluable career asset with clear benefits ranging from job opportunities to networking and growing side hustles. Everyone from entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuk to college students are building personal brands that serve as a foundation for achieving their professional goals.
However, personal branding requires people to put themselves out there, make new connections, and expose themselves to an increased level of vulnerability and public scrutiny—potentially challenging and intimidating prospects for introverts.
For example, the idea of giving a public presentation to showcase your expertise, joining a live stream on LinkedIn, or publishing TikTok videos of yourself might sound like a nightmare to people who prefer to socialize with a smaller circle of people, and not to be in the public eye on social media channels.
Unfortunately, avoiding opportunities to showcase your expertise and build a personal brand reputation means you are limiting yourself in terms of potential career growth and professional development.
The good news is there are ways introverts can start to dip their toes in the water in terms of personal brand development, taking advantage of channels and content strategies that are less intense in terms of public exposure or making you the center of attention. This can allow you to get your feet under you in terms of personal brand development, and to gradually increase your level of comfort with receiving more recognition for your work, skills and expertise.
Follow the personal branding tips for introverts in this blog post to learn how you can take control of your personal brand development, and ensure you don’t miss out on the benefits that doing so yields.
Personal Branding Tips for Introverts
Before you can start building your personal brand, you need to define what your personal branding goals are and the means with which you will accomplish them. This means identifying your target audience, the key messages you want to deliver to that audience, and the marketing channels you will use to deliver those key messages.
As an introvert, being calculated in how you approach your personal brand will be helpful, as some of these practices may not come naturally. To start, try setting goals that challenge you, but that also feel attainable. For example, these goals might include having a strong resume, finding job opportunities, making money with your personal brand, and networking with more professionals in your industry.
Using a personal brand framework can help you structure this process, ensuring you are intentional about it and have a sound strategy as you seek to build the foundation for your personal brand.
The basic components of a personal brand framework are:
For example, a young introvert who decides their personal brand goal is to start growing a better reputation for themselves and make connections in order to find a job after college would define their personal brand audience as potential employers and recruiters.
While the goals and target audience may differ for a business owner or more senior professional, the steps of personal brand strategy development remain the same—establish goals, select a target audience, and create a channel and content strategy for reaching them.
Check out these personal brand goals examples for more inspiration to get started.
Publishing written content on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter is a great starting point for introverts looking to build their personal brands. Written posts on these channels will give you credibility, expand your reach, and grow your network while letting you ease into the idea of people seeing and engaging with your content. This feels less vulnerable than doing the same thing with pictures of yourself on Instagram or videos posted on a channel like TikTok or YouTube.
Come up with personal branding content ideas like weekly recap posts, sharing articles about your industry that your peers might find interesting, and sharing polls to get your followers’ opinion on popular topics in your niche. These content ideas get people in the habit of coming to you for thought leadership content and commentary without making yourself the center of attention visually—a nuance that can be comforting for introverts who are expanding their comfort zone.
Forbes described this introvert personal branding strategy: “Introverts may find long-form writing more satisfying or may enjoy the wittiness of brief tweets. Use the methods of communication that feel more comfortable and less exhausting to you, and set boundaries around places on the internet or in person that drain you.”
Once you are in the habit of posting text updates on social channels and seeing the positive responses, engagement, and follower growth it is yielding, you can consider stepping up to recording your first video, doing a live stream, participating in someone else’s livestream, or sharing a photo of yourself relevant to your niche. Be careful with these latter content choices and means of digital interaction at first, and ease into them to see how your energy feels, and what your comfort level is.
The “always on” nature of social media and digital communication can be exhausting for introverts. We go from emails and video conference calls at work to text messages and calls from friends and family in our personal lives. The prospect of then finding the time and energy to work on communications related to your personal brand is a daunting one with those other energy consuming activities in mind.
Social media automation tools like Sprout Social, HubSpot, Buffer and Hootsuite can be an introvert’s best friend. These platforms allow you to consolidate content creation for your personal brand into set blocks of time, creating content ahead of time and then scheduling it to publish on your social media channels throughout the week. This will give your digital persona an “always on” quality without you physically having to be online and actively communicating and exerting energy.
If you are an introvert who notices that their energy drains when engaging on social media platforms, automation tools can protect your energy without missing a beat in terms of your personal brand building goals. Try setting a specific hour or two every week where you create content similar to the concept of meal prepping ahead of time, and schedule your posts to go out periodically throughout the week.
Introverts tend to value having fewer, deeper connections in their personal lives. This comes naturally compared to maintaining a large quantity of more limited or shallow connections—a volume of connection that extroverts may find to be more comfortable.
Applying this philosophy with your networking strategy as an introvert is a great way to start growing your personal brand because it will feel natural to you. It may be more effective for introverts to focus on building fewer, deeper relationships.
In your networking efforts, seek out groups and individuals that align with your values and goals, and then actively work to build meaningful connections with them. This might involve identifying and reaching out to potential mentors, peers and mentees, or joining professional organizations that align with your interests.
The same philosophy of focusing on quality over quantity with networking can be applied to personal brand content creation for introverts. Extroverts will excel in certain aspects of personal branding as their propensity for engaging in a high volume of communication will see them consistently posting content, responding to comments, live streaming to share their stories and opinions, etc.
As an introvert, that style of communication may feel uncomfortable or tiring. While social media automation tools can add consistency and reach to your personal brand, as mentioned above, and fill the gap with this type of communication, creating a small volume of high value content will fill the rest of your content calendar.
Examples of content like this might include long form blog posts and articles that you can share across channels, writing an ebook, and posting Twitter threads once per week vs. several smaller Tweets throughout the week. Play to your strengths and create content that feels natural to you, and invest time in making it substantial so that it has an impact.
If being the center of attention with your own content feels like too much of a leap at first, curating and sharing content from other creators and thought leaders is a great way to get started in establishing your personal brand.
This will take the focus off of you, while starting to develop your reputation as a trusted voice and source of information in your space. That way when you go to create and share your own content, it will feel more natural to be putting content in front of an audience and receiving engagement and feedback on it.
Follow these steps to create a process for consistently sharing third party content on your platforms:
Types of third party content to share:
Check out these LinkedIn post examples for more tips on sharing 3rd party content.
It’s a proven fact that you feel better and are more confident in yourself when you dress well and have a new haircut. Having a social media profile that you feel puts your best foot forward and that you are proud of is the digital equivalent of a fresh haircut and outfit. That way, when you draw attention to yourself through your content creation and networking efforts, you won’t be as worried about what people think when they view your profile across social media platforms.
For example, having a recent professional profile photo, and filling out your bio and other content fields will make your profile feel complete in comparison to an outdated profile photo that makes you feel self conscious, and underselling yourself by not filling out your bio on a platform like TikTok and Twitter.
Your personal brand is the culmination of multiple touchpoints that your audience has with you—your personal website, your social media profiles, public appearances at events, public presentations, and any other in-person or digital channel where someone might engage with you all influence your personal brand.
Be sure that any channel you associate yourself with and every profile you create is one you are proud of, so that you can start to grow your personal brand without feeling self conscious or concerned about what people will find when they start engaging with your digital channels.
Read “Personal Branding Tips: 5 Things Every Professional Should Have to Build Their Brand” for a checklist of assets you should prioritize creating for your personal brand.
Speaking of other channels, to build a strong personal brand, you need to be consistent across any marketing channel you are active on. This means using the same messaging, tone, and visual elements across all of your marketing channels, from your personal brand website to social media channels like LinkedIn and Twitter to your email and offline communications. Just like corporate brands maintain consistent branding across their marketing channels, individuals with strong personal brands do the same.
For example, one of the elements that makes Gary Vaynerchuk’s brand so strong is that regardless of which channel you see him on, his visual branding and messaging are always the same. This makes his channels immediately recognizable to fans. Strive for this same effect in your own personal branding.
Get more personal branding tips in this blog post: 7 Personal Branding Tips to Help Grow Your Audience and Influence.
Of all the introvert personal branding tips in this blog post, this one likely is the most intimidating and disruptive for someone with an introverted personality. Introverts are selective about who they allow behind the curtain in their lives and connect with, making the idea of putting yourself out there and sharing personal stories and thoughts unnatural.
However, introverts tend to spend significant portions of their time thinking deeply and coming up with unique perspectives and well thought out insights— perspectives and insights that make for amazing thought leadership and that stand out in the market as original and valuable.
The people with the strongest personal brands are those who demonstrate original thinking and deep understanding of their areas of expertise. These are qualities that introverts possess, and with a bit of bravery in terms of being willing to share your thoughts openly, these qualities can carry introverted professionals to great reputations and esteem.
As you start to be intentional about building a personal brand, push yourself to err on the side of slight discomfort in terms of how openly you share your perspectives, thought process, and opinions on trends and conversations in your industry. You will likely be surprised by the positive responses you receive, and will gain confidence and momentum as you see others finding value in what you are willing to share.
Keep in mind that many other people can relate to your situation, and even mentioning the fact that you are stepping out of your comfort zone to be more open in sharing your perspective is an act that people will relate to and respect.
Try Building in Public
This is one of the reasons the “building in public” trend has taken off on social media platforms like Twitter for entrepreneurs. Seeing people in the early stages of their journeys, battling imposter syndrome, and being open about their successes and failures is both inspiring and relatable.
Building in public is the idea that company founders, entrepreneurs, and professionals working on their own projects and side businesses document their process publicly. Twitter is a channel where this trend has taken off, with people posting regular updates for their followers on their endeavors—both positive updates, as well as challenges.
An example of this strategy being applied on Twitter went viral when Yehong Zhu, founder of Zette, posted a Twitter thread that offered a behind the scenes look at what her day is usually like as a startup founder in Silicon Valley. This content idea was well received, as her peers were able to relate, and other members of her audience were able to learn about what it’s like having that job role.
As an up and coming company founder, Zhu wasn’t intimidated by letting herself be vulnerable, or worrying about being judged by more experienced founders for facing challenges. Rather, she put herself out there with transparency, and the result was a ton of positive feedback and recognition. You can apply this same openness and vulnerability in your own personal brand storytelling as a young professional in order to build a persona that feels human and relatable.
Learn more about building a personal brand on Twitter with this blog post: 10 Content Ideas For Building Your Personal Brand On Twitter
As introverted professionals start to share more content online, one challenge they will face is determining what to share with their audiences. The prospect of being open about professional insights and thoughts is already a challenge, let alone opening up aspects of your personal life to a wider audience through your personal branding efforts.
The content you would like to share with friends and family likely differs from content you would be comfortable sharing with your professional network. This content is likely of a more casual nature and tone than content you would share with a future employer or industry peer, for example.
Segmenting these personal brand audiences can help you to be measured in determining what to share with each one. For example, you could decide that LinkedIn and Twitter will be public profiles where you share content designed to be a part of your personal brand strategy, and Facebook and TikTok are reserved as private channels where you engage exclusively with friends and family. You may share occasional personal life updates on your professional channels to keep them personal and lighten things up, and you may share some professional updates with friends and family.
This is a balance that you will need to discover for yourself as you determine what level of comfort you have with sharing aspects of your life with a larger group of people. Some of the best personal brands manage to find a natural balance where a certain percentage of the content they share on their professional channels is personal in nature—life updates, foodie photos, selfies, travel photos, etc. This is unique for each individual as you determine how much crossover content pertaining to your personal life will have with your professional channels and vice versa.
One thing to keep in mind is that regardless of your intention to keep these channels and audiences from crossing over, there is a chance they eventually do. So it’s a good rule of thumb not to share anything on social media that you would regret your professional audience discovering in the future.
A personal brand is an invaluable career asset that introverts don’t have to miss out on. By following these tips, you can build a strong personal brand that will help you ease into the idea of sharing your expertise and growing your professional network, opening yourself up to opportunities ranging from personal brand monetization to job opportunities. Take these steps to make sure being introverted doesn’t prevent you from building an asset that will serve you for the rest of your life.
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