It’s 100% fair to say that social media changed my life and helped me reach dreams I didn’t even know I had. I’m from a small town in New Hampshire and build a social platform of 1.5 million followers without a big budget or team. I’ve co-authored a book with Guy Kawasaki [who I met on Twitter] and published it with Penguin Books.
If I can build a solid social media platform, so can you! BTW, You don’t need to have a million followers to build a great business and make sales.
I recently partnered with T.J.Maxx on a super exciting project called The Maxx You Project. This article is part of our partnership.
In this one-day event, I mentored 80 women on branding and social media. Businesswoman, investor, speaker and TV personality, Barbara Corcoran offered business mentorship and boxing world champion, TV host, author and speaker, Laila Ali inspired the women to fight for their dreams.
My presentation at The Maxx You Project Workshop was about finding out what makes you unique so YOU can define yourself to the world with your authentic awesomeness. Create your brand to tell the world who you are. Owning your own message is powerful.
I’m 100% sure that you have talents and skills that will help you power up your dreams and make them a reality.
Let’s look at how you can learn to market what makes you unique!
Design your brand
What’s your USP?
Your unique selling proposition or USP is a fancy business term that means why should clients come to you. What makes you special?
You’ll hear a lot about being authentic on social media and this basically means to present yourself honestly on social media. It’s simple and complex at the same time. You’ve been you your whole life, right? But once you enter social media, it’s kind of like walking into the cafeteria on the first day at a new high school. You don’t know what people are thinking and you really care a lot even though you’d like to believe that it doesn’t matter.
You want to uncover your unique voice and style to showcase your skills and personality on social media.
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- Be bold – it’s scary at first to publish your photo and ideas on the Internet but be bold and learn to overcome your fear of video or whatever element scares you.
- Be original – don’t copy other people’s style or information. Being quintessential YOU endears and attracts people to you.
- Be consistent – showing up regularly is important to build your social media.
The more unique you are, the more authentic and real you’ll be to the people who follow you.
Find the essence of your brand
What are the three seeds of your brand?
I call them seeds and what I mean is what is the essence of your brand. With years of testing on multiple social media platforms and with various clients, I’ve found that three is the perfect number. We’re all more than just one thing and any more than three becomes too confusing for people who follow you. These seeds will grow into the big brand over time and will help you solidify what your message to the world will be.
You need to boil down your brand into three ideas that you’ll share consistently. Mine are author, social media, and inspiration. Every piece of content that I create or share covers one of these areas. If you follow me, you’ll learn social media tips, follow along on my journey as an author, or gather some inspiration.
For Barbara Corcoran it could be businesswoman, investor, speaker and TV personality.
For Laila Ali it could be Mom boss, boxing world champ, author and international speaker.
What will people get when they follow you?
Take some time to think about this and really dig into what your three seeds will be.
Build a visual brand
Big brands have logos and brand guidelines to stay consistent. You can too – even without a big budget.
A solid visual brand ties all of your content together across social media platforms and helps people recognize your posts. One of the highest compliments I get on social media is when people say “I saw a beautiful graphic and immediately knew that it was yours so I had to read it.” People recognize my style of graphics, my signature pink circle logo in the corner, and know when they click through they can trust my content to be worthy of their time.
That’s WHY you spend the time to create a visual style.
It took me a long time to nail down the pieces of my current visual style. I started with a Pinterest board and pinned elements as I saw them and knew that I’d want to find them later to include. I kept adding little tiny pieces until I was ready to work on a total rebranding for my blog and social media.
This process can also be helpful if you’re going to work on a designer to create a brand, logo, and style guide for you. Working with a professional is great if you have the budget but your brand needs to capture your essence.
You can also find online resources to learn what you need to know to create your own online brand.
Build Your Online World
If you don’t have a blog already, I strongly recommend starting one to help build your personal brand. Your blog is real estate that you own and control – social platforms own all the content and profiles that you create.
My blog is a self-hosted WordPress blog meaning I host it on my own domain. If you don’t have experience with a blog or don’t have time to learn how to use WordPress, starting a blog on Squarespace is an easy and lower cost option.
Squarespace has templates and drag-and-drop features. You can even purchase your domain name through the site and get it up and running in one night.
This can eventually become your online shop or web page for your business.
How to share your brand on social media
Once you’ve honed in on your three seeds and essence of your brand, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve set all your social media accounts up properly. Try to get your name on all social media profiles – it might be a challenge at this time but keep the names as similar as you can.
Use a great photo for your profile photo. Make sure that you’re not cropping someone else out or it’s not a group photo. This photo should be all about you!
Make sure that it expresses your personality and fits the level of professionalism that you need to attract your dream client.
Use the same profile photo on all your social media accounts so people will know that they’re connecting with the same person. Make sure they photo was taken within a few years so it looks like you do now. You don’t want to shock people when they see you on live video.
Complete your online bios using keywords that explain your three seeds. This helps people know why they should follow you and helps you be found when people search on social platforms or on Google.
Your social media posts can show up when someone enters a phrase into the Google search bar.
Plan for Your Success
Create an aspirational vision board with goals and dreams. Then make it happen.
Years ago when I was starting my blog I created a vision board by cutting out words and pictures from magazines. I didn’t hold back on my dreams and I put things that I really wanted to do and achieve even though at the time none of them seemed within my reach.
I had things like a photo of a fancy desk with an iMac computer. The Eiffel Tower because I’ve always dreamed of visiting Paris. You get the idea. These were big, big dreams! But also words like: be bold, powerful, and use your voice. While I was creating it, I thought about all the things that I hoped that I could achieve from my blog – and it didn’t even exist at the time.
I found this poster board behind my desk a few months ago and guess what? I had achieved each and everything that I pasted on my vision board. I found my voice, created a blog that people loved, I’ve visited Paris, and I’m typing this on my iMac.
I don’t tell you those things to brag but to let you know that putting your dreams into words and pictures can help make them real and make them happen. I’ve truly built a career and life that I love from my own hard work and some strong WiFi.
Putting your heart and soul into building your personal brand is worth your time and effort to build your life and succeed at fulfilling your dreams.
If I can do it, you can too!
Extra credit reading:
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick
#GirlBoss by Sophia Amorusa
Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business by Barbara Corcoran
Reach! Finding Strength, Spirit, and Personal Power by Laila Ali
Article sponsored by T.J. Maxx as part of The Maxx You Project