7 Personal Branding Tips to Help Grow Your Audience and Influence

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Personal branding has gone from a trend reserved for celebrities and famous influencers, to an essential business skill that pays dividends in terms of job opportunities, client acquisition, and even serving as the foundation for launching a business.

Having the ability to tell your story in an engaging and relatable way, and to leverage it to network and open the doors to new opportunities is a skill set and time investment with nearly unlimited ROI.

People with established brands and newcomers looking to get started should consider the following personal branding tips as they define and grow their own brands to achieve their goals.

1. Develop Your Narrative 

Creating a brand narrative is one of the first steps to personal brand development. This means figuring out what topics you want to be known for, which will inform the content you create and share with your audience.

A brand narrative is a story that encompasses who you are, what your interests are, where you came from, things you are passionate about and stand for, and anything else that helps to make up who you are. Maybe you’re a business owner who can share lessons and stories from their journey building a business, or perhaps you’re a fitness enthusiast who can share their latest workout tips and nutrition advice. Honing in on the things you like, and how those things can translate to storytelling through content creation are the keys to building a personal brand narrative.

Start With a Narrow Brand Focus and Expand

Your personal brand narrative is not something that needs to be figured out immediately, and can be developed over time. Some of the best personal brands start with a focus on one topic or area of expertise, and then expand into others over time as their audience grows and their brand develops. 

An example of this gradual brand progression from a well known entrepreneur and influencer is Gary Vaynerchuk’s personal brand development. He began sharing tips and personal experiences from his journey while building his family’s wine business, which evolved into a brand focused on teaching people the ins and outs of business and marketing, and the eventual founding of a marketing agency. Gary has continued to evolve his personal brand over time, adding hobbies like trading cards, garage sale flipping, and his love for the NY Jets football team to his brand narrative. 

When setting out to start your personal brand, focus on one or two topics you know a lot about and enjoy discussing, and start creating content about those two themes. This will give you a baseline from which to tweak your brand strategy. Perhaps you find you don’t enjoy talking about one of those topics, or you realize one of them is the thing you’re most passionate about. Start small and expand the topics you talk about gradually over time to find your sweet spot. 

Examples of Personal Brand Narratives

Here are some personal brand narratives that exemplify how you can establish a brand focused on content about several topics, and how those topics will resonate with different segments of your audience:

  • If you’re a marketing professional who also enjoys investing and personal finance, you could create a content strategy where you share marketing tips and finance tips on your LinkerIn and Twitter accounts. This would create two distinct audiences for your personal brand (marketing enthusiasts and finance enthusiasts), but you will likely also find people who enjoy both topics to connect and build your audience with. 
  • If you’re a restaurant owner, you could share content on Instagram and LinkedIn about what it takes to run a restaurant and to run a business. This would give you the opportunity to connect with potential customers interested in dining at your restaurant, as well as help you network with fellow restaurant owners and business owners in general who want to hear your tips. 
  • If you work in B2B sales, you could share content about how you overcome the challenges in that industry niche and what strategies you find to be most successful. This would resonate with your niche audience of fellow B2B sales professionals, but it will also likely resonate with anyone who works in sales and business owners of all types. 
  • If you are an entrepreneur with your own company or side hustle, you could leverage your social media profiles and personal brand channels to "build in public." Building in public means sharing regular, transparent updates on the ups, downs, and lessons learned as you build a business or complete projects.

For more guidance on creating your narrative, check out this personal brand framework blog post that outlines steps for defining your personal brand.

2. Choose the Right Channels for Personal Brand Growth

Focus on developing a few strong marketing channels for your personal brand.
When it comes to personal brand growth, focusing on doing a few channels well will have more ROI then creating content sparsely on a multitude of channels.

A common mistake that new businesses and marketers make is spreading their marketing efforts too thinly. Avoid this risk in your personal brand development by being intentional and strategic about choosing the channels you intend to use to grow your brand.

Business owners, entrepreneurs, and business professionals generally have limited time available to develop their personal brands given their focus on other endeavors. Choosing a few marketing channels (or perhaps just one) to start with and go all-in on is a better strategy than trying to be on every channel and having your posts and engagement be too infrequent to have an impact in building an audience. 

The channels you choose to start developing your brand on should play to your strengths, and most importantly be used regularly by the audience you are trying to reach. An example of this for visual creators would be investing time into developing a YouTube or Instagram channel where they can share the videos and images they create. For strong writers, Twitter, Medium, or LinkedIn might be the best fit. For a B2B business owner or professional coach, focusing on LinkedIn to reach its professional audience would be a good pick.

Tips for Choosing the Right Channels to Develop Your Personal Brand

  • Conduct research to find out where your target audience is. And if you don’t have a target audience yet, think about your interests and goals you established with your personal brand narrative (see above), and consider who would want content related to those topics. For example, if your focus and ambitions are related to fitness, other people who are interested in fitness are your target audience. Think about where those people spend their time (both in person, and on the internet) and use those channels to start making connections and sharing content. For the fitness target audience example, this might look like attending fitness classes to meet other enthusiasts, attending fitness related events, and using channels like Instagram and YouTube where fellow fitness enthusiasts share their content. 
  • Think about where your content creation strengths are and the channels that support content creation based on those strengths (see examples above about visual creatives leveraging Instagram and YouTube, and strong writers using LinkedIn, Twitter and Medium to build their brands).
  • Develop additional content creation strengths to better take advantage of the channels you want to use. This will also open up new channels that you can take advantage of. For example, learning to film and edit simple videos would make YouTube, Instagram, and other channels that support video a viable option for your brand development. Examples of other content creation skills that would expand your content creation abilities and open up new marketing channels are blogging, podcasting, and hosting webinars. 
  • Once you’ve selected the channels you want to focus on, the next step is coming up with a content strategy and starting to post content to see what resonates with people, and what doesn’t. Sticking with the fitness example above, this could start out as daily Instagram stories sharing your workout stories, the gyms you’ve visited, or the digital workout classes you are attending. Try using all of the different content creation and posting tools that the platform you select offers, and then set a cadence and schedule for posting them. Ex. For the Instagram fitness enthusiast, posting 2 stories per day documenting their workouts, and one image or video per week related to fitness could be a starting point
  • Try new channels as they emerge. A lot of social media channels are saturated with content, and when new channels launch, or existing channels evolve, they are worth experimenting with. An example of the latter would be LinkedIn’s growth, and its rising popularity among professional / business influencers. TikTok is another example of a platform where strong personal brands are being built, and there is an opportunity for plenty of new users to build a presence on the platform.

Check out our personal branding toolkit to learn about platforms you can use to create content and establish your branding across channels.

3. Establish a Presence on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a powerful channel for personal branding.
LinkedIn has value for personal branding for both business professionals and entrepreneurs.

Speaking of marketing channels, LinkedIn is a platform that offers value from a personal branding perspective regardless of your business goals or industry. Whether you are aiming for customer acquisition, networking with potential partners, or accessing talent to grow your business, there are benefits to expanding your brand presence within LinkedIn’s professional network.

LinkedIn Personal Branding Tips

Follow these tips to establish yourself on LinkedIn, and to start leveraging your profile to expand your audience:

  • Join LinkedIn groups within your industry niche where you can engage in conversation about industry related topics, and make new connections
  • Connect with other professionals in your industry and network
  • Respond to popular conversations within your newsfeed 
  • Post thought leadership updates about your industry 
  • Write LinkedIn Pulse articles about topics in your niche 
  • Post LinkedIn stories to engage your connections 

Get more LinkedIn marketing tips from this blog post about LinkedIn content ideas for building your personal brand, and this blog post on LinkedIn profile SEO.

4. Author Blog Posts About Topics in Your Niche

Blogging is an example of a long form content strategy for personal brand development.
Blogging is a way to create long form content that helps tell your story and develop your personal brand.

Blogging about your respective areas of expertise is an excellent way to build credibility and raise awareness for your personal brand. Longer form content like blog posts allow you to expand in detail on topics and news within your field, and to provide more value for people. 

The key to blogging is writing something people will want to read and find useful. What tips do you have that could help people in your field? What experiences can you share with them? Figuring out what unique viewpoints and expertise you have to contribute will guide your blog content strategy, and give you actionable ways to reach your audience. 

Steps to Follow for Adding Blogging to Your Personal Brand Strategy

  • Make a content calendar of potential blog post ideas. Ex how-to content, guides and tutorials, etc.
  • Determine the channels / platforms you want to use for blogging. You build your own website to host your blog using tools like Wordpress or Webflow, or you can blog on social media platforms that have a native blogging function built in like LinkedIn and Medium.
  • Conduct keyword research about the topics you want to create content about (topics relevant to your brand), and create blog content ideas based on those keywords. For example, this blog post on 'personal branding' is built with that keyword and keywords relevant to that topic in mind
  • Guest blog on other websites. This will lead to attribution and back links for you and your own website and social media channels

5. Establish a Visual Identity for Your Personal Brand

Visual branding isn’t only applicable for businesses. Giving your personal brand a recognizable visual identity is an opportunity to further communicate who you are, and to help your audience easily identify you and your content. In addition to being recognizable, using visual brand elements will make you come across as professional across your marketing channels.

Examples of Visual Personal Branding Opportunities 

Consider each of these channels and content opportunities for establishing your personal brand’s visual identity, and aim for consistency:

  • Design branded assets for your social media profiles like profile images and cover images. Different platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn offer unique opportunities for branding and profile customization  (ex. Instagram enables you to give your story highlights branded covers that show up on your profile). Give your social media assets a common color scheme, font and typography, and make any other visual elements that you create match.
  • Create your own branded social media graphics and use them when you share content with your audiences
  • For visual platforms like Instagram, create a consistent style for your photography. This includes filters, color hues, and including a branded watermark if you choose. 
  • Give your personal website or portfolio site a branded look and feel. 
  • Brand your business cards and any other print collateral that you create (ex. Letterhead, thank you cards for clients, etc.
An example of a personal brand with strong visual branding is Gary Vaynerchuk's. His market channels and content like this social media graphic often include his logo (the signature logo bottom left) and green, white and black as the color palette.

Check out our case study on Gary Vaynerchuk's personal brand for more examples of his strong visual branding that you can use as a reference.

6. Engage with Other People’s Content Within Your Niche Community

Personal brand development isn’t just about creating and publishing content. Engaging with other people’s content is a powerful strategy for making real connections and growing your audience. Commenting on other people’s posts, sharing content from other creators you know to help them promote it, and joining ongoing conversations on social media platforms are all ways you can engage with posts from other people. 

Not only will this help you to establish a connection with the person who posted the content, it also will give your comment, and in turn, your profile or page, exposure to that individual’s audience. This is why engaging with other people’s content helps to build genuine connections with current connections, and expands your brand’s reach to new audiences and potential connections. 

Opportunities to Engage with Other People’s Content

Try these tips for engaging with other people’s content: 

  • Comment on posts in your social media news feeds from the . Try leaving a helpful tip, answering a question if they asked one in the post, asking a question of your own to spark conversation, or simply posting a supportive message. As mentioned above, this will strengthen existing connections, and potentially lead to new ones. 
  • Comment on posts from big brands and influencers in your space. This is a tactic you’ve likely seen before where other brand accounts and individual accounts comment on posts from large brands. The advantage of this is that the comment sections on these popular posts often get hundreds or thousands of comments, which represents a lot of eyeballs on the post’s comment section, and an opportunity for exposure. Try answering a question when a brand posts one (question posts and polls are common from brands on Twitter, for example), ask your own question, or give your take on whatever topic they posted about. This will give your comment and profile free impressions from other users who are monitoring the post’s comments, and could potentially lead to a response from the brand that would lead to additional impressions and exposure.
  • Share other people’s content and give them credit. Sharing a piece of content like a blog post or video from another content creator gives you the opportunity to add your own commentary and weigh in on the topic they created the content about. Be sure to tag the individual or company to give them credit, as this will show good intentions and also increase likelihood that the original creator engages with your post.
  • Discover and join developing conversations on your brand development platforms. Depending on the platforms you’ve chosen to develop your personal brand on, they likely offer a tool for finding conversations. An example would be Twitter’s hashtag function, search function, and trending topics tab. Searching for hashtags in your niche to discover posts about that topic, and commenting on those posts or sharing them is a way to weigh in on conversations you otherwise would not have discovered. Try engaging with popular conversations to 

7. Make Real Connections - Quality Over Quantity 

In a world where social media followers have literally become currency (ex. some influencer marketing agencies structure their sponsorship fee programs based on follower count), it’s easy to get caught up in striving for audience rapid growth. 

This is a dangerous mentality when it comes to building your personal brand, as your connections will know when they’re being sold to, and recognize the difference between genuine connection attempts and intentions purely for personal gain. 

With this in mind for, some of the best personal brand development strategies are the least scalable. Responding to a comment, answering a question you know the answer to, sharing a helpful tip, etc. are all examples of ways to provide real value to your connections, but they also require real effort. 

Putting in the time to network and get to know people is the only way to build an engaged audience. Spend time interacting with people, creating content that helps them and provides value, and you will slowly, but surely be building your brand’s audience. Great brands (both personal, and company brands) are built one at a time, not through shallow large scale follower growth.

Final Thoughts

Developing brand identity and awareness is a strategy with benefits for entrepreneurs and professionals in every industry. Follow the personal branding tips in this blog post to build your own brand. 

Bonus Personal Branding Tips and Insights

About the Author

Hi, I'm Justin and I write Brand Credential.

I started Brand Credential as a resource to help share expertise from my 10-year brand building journey.

I currently serve as the VP of Marketing for a tech company where I oversee all go-to-market functions. Throughout my career I've helped companies scale revenue to millions of dollars, helped executives build personal brands, and created hundreds of pieces of content since starting to write online in 2012.

As always, thank you so much for reading. If you’d like more personal branding and marketing tips, here are more ways I can help in the meantime:

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