Creating Your Personal Brand in 2017: The Details by Caitlin McMahon
With some vague topics being addressed and a pizza metaphor thrown in (okay but who’s really surprised?), my first piece about branding might have left you with a lot of questions. Wonder no more, I’m here to shed light on all the unknown corners of portraying yourself in both your personal and professional worlds. Now that you have a grasp on what exactly personal branding in the music industry looks like, we can outline how and where to start! Buckle your seatbelt, kiddos.
Where to start.
Just like when I take on a new client, assessment of current press and social media is step one. Take a look at your social media platforms, all of them, and try to pick out a few themes you seem to revolve around. Post a lot of food? Outfits? What type of food and outfits? Do you offer advice or suggestions?
Once you find some common topics your social media contains, write ‘em down and connect them to how it relates/benefits you or your company. Creating a list of what exactly your posts are doing and why is a great way to help you wrap your head around the “image” you currently have. After that, try writing down goals for your image. Do you want to gain credibility in fashion and music? Do you want to land a certain job in the industry? These goals translate into how you use all of your platforms. If you’re into fashion, holding yourself accountable for daily #ootd posts might be a good idea. See where I’m going with this?
How to start.
With all the social media and branding advice across the internet, it can be hard to find the kind that actually works for you. My favorite thus far has been the “daily three” rule. Developing brands should post an average of three times a day - morning, afternoon and evening, during top posting times, of course. Content should include a full body photo of you (or your brand/band/company), and two other photos of visually pleasing content. Full body photos can be difficult (I look like an awkward raptor in my candid photos), so try putting on a favorite outfit and recruiting a friend to snap a few silly photos. The beauty of full body photos is the focus can be anything you’d like. Maybe it’s your tattoos, your shirt, or maybe you’re holding a record. Whatever it may be, use the caption to perfect it and place traffic wherever you see fit. Whether it’s a beautiful new record or a fruit bowl, knowing how to snap a stylish iPhone photo with correct hashtags makes you seem more credible. I’ll call it the “Insta-phenomenon”.
If you happen to find three posts on your personal page too annoying, use your judgment! I’m here just to give a starting point for beginners, so feel free to twist this advice in any way you’d like. The point about posting three times a day that I like so much is that it makes your social media a reliable source for information and new, trending content. If anything, be a content creator and your social media brand will develop on its own as you go.
Personally, I hire a local photographer for shoots, where I bring different outfits. This allows me to put on a professional front while posting captions directing traffic to wherever I feel needs it. Like I said, try to step out of the box and look at your online presence as an outside view to see where you really stand and where you could use improvement.
A few extra notes of advice:
Use each platform correctly
- Don't use hashtags on LinkedIn, Twitter is for real-time conversations, etc.
- Be linear
- I wouldn’t recommend being a fashion expert on one platform and a food expert on the other. Find a unique way to blend them together to create one awesome brand.
- Don’t be a sass-hole
- Being opinionated is one thing, but if you’re just rude, no one cares what restaurants you’re eating at and it will ultimately damage your image. Interact.
- If you aren’t good at it, spell check and grammar check are your friends. I immediately stop reading a post if I see an error.
- Your closest city probably holds huge numbers of bloggers and influencers who are always willing to collaborate!
- Be you
- No one likes a copycat, so while you build your brands, remember to be unique with your content and messages! At the end of the day, your social media should tell a story of why you and your brand are different and worth a follower’s time.