Creating Your Personal Brand in 2017: Introduction by Caitlin McMahon
When I was working towards my first degree in the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, scarfing Chik-Fil-A and barely making it to class was all I could bring my hung-over self to focus on. What I would come to realize after graduation is a lesson all women in the music industry should remember each time she posts on social media: whether it be a professional or personal account, every piece of content you publish shapes your reputation. Personal branding in the music industry is a vague topic to conceptualize in a few paragraphs, so I decided to break it down in multiple articles, beginning with this introduction.
From the American Marketing Association: a brand is a "name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers."
If you’re the seller of your photos, you must be positioned to consistently and continuously distinguish yourself from the photographers in the pit with you!
This is where your personal brand comes in.
While it is still just as important to develop professional and personal communication skills in person, your online presence has become just as, if not more, involved in the world’s perception of who you are. As Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn become tangled with shared content and live video, separate portfolios with exclusive content are a thing of the past. To help you realize my exact point, here’s an example.
Mary is a freelance photographer. Mary tweets about shows she wants to go to. Mary interacts with followers who have similar interests in the music industry. Mary photographs cool shows. Mary posts her photos on her portfolio website. Do you think Mary will share her favorite photos on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook?
My response: if Mary has any sense of how social media works, she already has!
Social media has become a massive and undeniable token of creating your best, professional self for the world to see and has become the main hub for networking. Knowing how to write a relevant article for LinkedIn, how to use your show photos on Instagram, how to share your reviews on Twitter and how to create live video for Facebook – ALL while using relevant hashtags, tagging accounts, writing the perfect captions, using related content, posting at ideal times and remaining professional – is how you can begin creating your personal brand. In the music industry, photographers, writers and artists developing their own “brands” are ultimately redirecting traffic to their main project: their band, their company, their portfolio, etc. To help food-motivated mavens like myself understand: think of your personal brand like a personal pizza, and everything that follows (hashtags, tagged accounts etc.) are the toppings. No one wants a pizza with no sauce and a slice missing out of it (if you do, cash me ousside), so develop your social media platforms and your website to broadcast a linear message!
This is what sets apart the hobby-ists of the industry from those who want to build a career in music.
If you happen to be the latter, stay tuned as I continue to outline personal music industry branding in 2017!
Check back soon for Caitlin's second post about personal branding!