Personal Branding – What is it and why booking a personal branding session is a great goal for your business this year. I’m sure most of you have seen this term floating around for a while now. This week I’ll be chatting about it right here on the blog. We will answer the first three of these questions this week and we will visit the rest in the next post.
What is personal branding?
Who needs personal branding?
How do I develop a personal brand?
How to choose a brand photographer?
When do I need to update my brand photos?
Is there a difference between brand photos and head shots?
I have great brand photos; now how do I maximize their use?
So here we go let’s start at the beginning with our definition… WHAT IS PERSONAL BRANDING?
According to an article written by Gary Vaynerchuk, “Your personal brand is your reputation.” Your reputation is how others view you. Your integrity, character, and your work ethic are just a few of the character traits which make up the foundation of your reputation aka your personal brand. So what does this have to do with social media and photography. Good question!
Before the invention of the internet and social media our reputation was solely built and developed through our interpersonal relationships. We actually had to do in-person, face to face business with people to develop our reputation. We had to interact with them enough times to develop a relationship. Once that relationship was established our reputation would form based upon our performance. Once we were able to show people we could be dependable, loyal, punctual, a person of our word, and produce good work, our good reputation began to grow. Of course the same is true if we didn’t perform well. A negative reputation would form if we lacked the ability to communicate well, missed our deadlines or supplied clients with substandard work. Today things really aren’t that different. Except now you can reach thousands of people at once to demonstrate your character qualities and begin to grow your reputation or as we call it now your Personal Brand.
Your Reputation = Your Personal Brand
Now that we have established our basic definition of personal branding let’s ask ourselves, who needs personal branding? Well, if we define personal branding as the old school word reputation, then I would argue everyone needs a personal brand. You probably have a personal brand established whether you realize it or not. Take a peek at your social media account. What topics, pics or post to you share about most consistently? I’ll share mine …
If you look at the grid above you’ll see pictures of me taking pictures, my family, nature and my clients. All of which are very important to me. The only thing miss is my love of coffee. You will see all of those things consistency on my social media. So even if you never read one post I would hope you would see my personal brand as a woman who loves her family, loves God and nature, loves serving her clients and is always willing to sit and sip a great cup of coffee alone or with friends.
Who needs a personal brand? Everyone!
Hopefully at this point I have convinced you that a personal brand is really nothing more than establishing a good reputation. Sure we can all make things more complicated. Add some glitter and gold but if you prefer the stick in the sand method, when you break personal branding down to its core we are simply talking about your online, digital reputation. On to our last question, how do we establish or build that online reputation? It’s simple you just need two main things, authenticity and consistency. Showing up in a way that is true to who you really are day in and day out is the best way to establish and grow your personal brand. True there are other things that help like choosing a color palette, a font family and a “look” for your grid (which falls under the consistency umbrella). But most importantly people want to be able to trust you. In order to establish trust I highly recommend making sure you show up as yourself. If you say y’all, like me, then say y’all. If you hate coffee don’t post coffee pics just because you think that is what people want to see. Lean into who you are and what you love and people will gravitate towards you because they know it’s real.
Be Real and Consistent
This is how you begin to build your personal brand. Being the real you and the posting consistently true to you content. Now if you’re anything like me you thinking this is great Stacie but I still don’t know where to start. I get that so here is what we will do, let me give you a little homework.
Homework … make a list of 3-5 things you would want your ideal client to know about your services. Here is an example:
1 – Wedding Cakes, 2 – Birthday Cakes, 3 – Cupcakes 4 – Custom Cakes
With this example the cake baker’s social media, and websites should feature images and content that show all the types of cakes that baker creates. Just starting out and don’t have a large portfolio yet? Take pics of your ingredients, your favorite baking tools, your cake in progress. I would highly recommend making sure you place yourself, yes your face, in your grid at least every 9th block. Clients want to know the person behind the product. Share your love and joy of cake baking. Share tiny little secrets that have helped you on your journey. Your community will love it because you’re sharing not only what services you can provide for them but you’re also giving them a little something to improve their own cake baking adventures.
Personal branding doesn’t have to be complicated but it is an important part of establishing your business’ reputation that shouldn’t be neglected. Hiring a personal brand photographer and coach can help take the mystery and confusion out of the process. Next time we will talk more about how, when to hire a personal brand photographer. Can’t wait that long? Shoot me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can chat sooner!