Think about your favorite Instagram accounts or a designer you love. When they post something, you can probably pick out their photo from the bunch because they have a specific style. You’re able to recognize their work because they’ve created a personal brand.
Social media has given all of us the opportunity to share our lives with the world. It’s connecting us to friends and family who live far away, people who share our interests, and people who appreciate our work.
On the flip side, social media can also make us feel that we need to only show the perfect parts of life. This is where a personal brand can come in handy. It allows you to focus your posts on your unique life and story. That includes the good, the bad, the ugly, and the unfiltered.
Like it or not, we all have a personal brand, even if it’s unintentional.
It’s simply a way of saying our online self or persona. It’s created in what we post, what we like, and what we comment on. However, it’s easy for a persona to fall into a less genuine place. Our personal brands put faces to the internet, but sometimes those faces too easily mask who we really are.
This brings us to the first rule of creating your personal brand: be yourself!
It’s easy to start comparing ourselves to others on social media, then adopting their personal brand in the place of our own. It never works out and almost always comes across as disingenuous. These are the “eye-roll” personal brands.
Remember, be yourself. As you create your personal brand, focus on showing what makes you happy, what you make, what you’re working on, your weird collection of bugs, whatever it is that makes you unique. When you create a personal brand around your creations, focus on why you enjoyed the process of creating and what parts of you are in that creation.
For those who create, having a personal brand can be key in finding new clients. However, anyone can use their work to show who they really are. It might be a painting, a floral arrangement, or a knit sweater. Sharing your work with the world through your personal brand can be an intimate way to connect with your followers.
Ana Leovy, a painter and illustrator, told Wix Creative that she feels that she shows a huge part of herself when she shares her work on social media. She explained that when she first started promoting her personal brand, she tried posting every day, sometimes more than once. It became exhausting just trying to keep up. Plus, she started feeling a bit unnatural in her brand. After adjusting her approach, she now only posts what she truly enjoys.
“Now,” she says, “I only post when I’m excited to share something with the world.”
But she doesn’t always post her triumphs. She said she does enjoy posting about her work, even if it’s a part of it that’s frustrating her. A personal brand is showing who you are as a whole. That has to include some failures.
Leovy describes herself as a private person who shies away from sharing too much online. “By exposing my art I feel like I’m already showing a huge part of who I am,” she said. If you do feel comfortable doing so, it can round out your personal brand to give a little peek into your world behind your work. It brings your followers to the window of your life, letting them in like you would a friend. This will lead to dedicated, devoted followers who spread your personal brand by word of mouth.
An illustrator based in New York, Haejin Park echoes Ana’s thoughts about staying real with your personal brand.
“I don’t plan ahead, try to design, or get stressed out,” she says. “I think when people try too hard, it always shows.”
Instead, Park encourages others who are developing a personal brand to focus on their aesthetic and not try to follow a trend.
In contrast to Leovy, Park says she feels pretty comfortable “revealing” herself online, in the sense that she doesn’t mind bringing her followers along for whatever ride she’s on that day.
“I think viewers want to connect and when it’s more personal, people tend to connect more,” she said.
In the end, your personal brand is your story. It’s your life.
It’s a window into your every-day, your work, your cooking blunders, and your beautiful pets. It’s whatever you want it to be, but for the best personal branding, stay true to yourself, and share your joy with the world.