A Comprehensive Guide to Branding Yourself on Social Media

These days, every content producer has a virtual podium. Social media has empowered them with multiple channels. In many cases, they come equipped with audience members, who are already in a feverish mood to consume content. But not everyone may feel this way. Some refrain from using social media to promote their personal brands. Unfortunately,...

These days, every content producer has a virtual podium. Social media has empowered them with multiple channels. In many cases, they come equipped with audience members, who are already in a feverish mood to consume content.

But not everyone may feel this way. Some refrain from using social media to promote their personal brands. Unfortunately, it has become fashionable to label personal branding efforts as vanity projects. It can be linked to the overall saturation in content quality, given the increasingly explosive reach of social media channels.

Older folks, aka the self-hating millennial, may even call it a “Gen Z thing” – branding social media activities as outcomes of self-obsession

But branding yourself on social media is the most human thing to do in 2020.

Prof. Yuval Noah Harari, in his seminal book – Sapiens – once said the difference between our species and every other species on this planet is our capacity to create, document, share, and stories.

Think about it.

We find ourselves always in pursuit of a story-line, constantly branding outcome-based narratives to a target audience – whether a successful career, a harmonious relationship, a spiritual purpose, or even a suitcase filled with money. They are based on our cultural and social understanding of these narratives.

Considering the opportunities provided by social media, content producers are better equipped, these days, to communicate their stories and build a personal brand.

It is why personal branding on social media is not just a marketing principle to sell goods and services. It is how you can influence people and sometimes – the world at large.

How personal branding can create a positive impact on your life:
  • Showcase your expertise and thought leadership
  • Conduct informal market research
  • Network and build meaningful relationships
  • Strengthen your search engine presence
  • Evolve your personal branding efforts into business ventures
How personal branding can create a positive impact in other people’s lives:
  • Offer valuable advice, tips, hacks, and recommendations
  • Give followers a sense of belonging and purpose
  • Be a positive influence in helping work towards shared goals

It does not mean you need to sell branding stories to customers. Instead, you must understand they are already following some of their own. As a social media content producer, help them extend, reinforce, or improvise their preferred outcomes.

Publishing good content regularly isn’t a strategy. It can only get you that far. You can’t get results from social media by just covering the ‘media’ part. If you want to be successful at it, be ‘social’ too. Let’s look at a few checklist items to master the art of being social:

  1. Define your branding goals and set milestones that you need to cross to move to the next stage.
  2. Create a mission statement that defines the person you are and the type of social media experiences you want to deliver.
  3. Connect with those you want to build relationships with; let them know you exist beyond the paradigm of being a frequent content publisher.
  4. Create conversations with them, don’t merely offer bland advice or sales pitches; give them reasons to be a part of the conversation.
  5. Engage meaningfully with their content; call it backscratching or karma, it’s still the essence of being social in a shared universe.

10 tips to accelerate personal branding momentum on social media

Do what thought leaders ought to do

Creating thought leadership is more than an act of goodwill because personal branding is a gift that can keep on giving. It builds trust in the minds of customers, which influences their purchasing decisions. It’s an open invitation to authenticate the caliber of experience they are likely to receive.

Thought leadership can work hand-in-glove with social media marketing. There’s a difference between blowing one’s trumpet through half-baked content curation and boosting personal brand value with credible content generation. Understanding the line of separation comes from the inclination to stand out by selling unique insights, not saturated information.

Who’s killing it?

Jason Keath

A LinkedIn influencer, famous author, Fortune 500 consultant, and founder of a leading social media agency.

What you can learn from Jason
  • Share ideas that awaken other people’s disruptive thought processes
  • Keep your name out there through media outlets and digital publications
  • Write extensively for your business’s social channels – use your personal brand to unearth business opportunities

Sound more human and less bot-ish

While creating a personal brand, hyperbole and jargon can be one of your worst enemies. With the amount of information made available for customers, content fatigue is a real threat. It’s not only because buzzwords are being overused. The problem lies in how diluted their context of branding usage has become.

Today’s social media users are bloodhounds when it comes to sniffing out clichés. But the thing about clichés is many of them are true. Still, they deter customers because of how hollow they sound. Hyperbole and jargon are not always instant attention deflectors. Depending on the audience, they can work to the advantage of your personal branding. However, if you use them because you’re too lazy to think of something else, that’s when you start to disengage the audience.

Who’s killing it?

Gary Vee (Gary Vaynerchuk)

A 5-time NY Times bestselling author, charismatic public speaker, passionate serial investor, and co-founder of one of the hottest advertising companies.

What you can learn from Gary
  • Be mindful of who you are and rock it like there’s no tomorrow
  • Give proof of your success, without looking like a showboat
  • Get edgy when you mean it – don’t pull any punches if you’re sure of what you believe in

Produce authentic content

Authenticity is perhaps a content marketer’s greatest ally. Even ingenuity is second in line to its command. It shows customers that you don’t take their expectations for granted; you respect their ability to distinguish exaggerations from insights.

To quote a famous playwright: “Ours is the age of substitutes: Instead of language, we have jargon; instead of principles, slogans; instead of genuine ideas, bright suggestions.”

Give your customers a non-substitutable reading experience. A few questions to ask yourself to be sure of sounding authentic:

  • Is this how I would talk at a dinner conversation with people I like and respect?
  • Am I coming across as a superhero who can do no wrong, which makes my personal brand seem fake?
  • Am I a good listener, or am I rambling non-stop without asking for and listening to feedback?
  • Do I share proven data that backs up what I say?

Pick the right social media channels

Content is the king in social media, but without a democratic kingdom – heavy can be the head that wears the crown. Where you post, your content plays an influential role in determining how successful you can be. But trying to find out which social media platform is the best to promote your personal brand is like figuring out which wild stallion is the easiest to tame.

Every last of them comes with their own set of challenges. Select the one that best suits your content narratives; and has the audience who have the traits that are most conducive to your personal brand.

Remember, being social is not a one-time activity. Don’t earmark Mondays or Fridays to engage with people. Make it your daily mission. So, you ought to post regularly on your most valued social media channels and keep the rest active.

For instance:

  • Pinterest – 2 times a day
  • Facebook – 1 time a day
  • Instagram – 1 time per day
  • Twitter – 5 times per week
  • LinkedIn – 3 times per week

Who’s killing it?

Michaela Vais (@Elavegan)

An Instagram influencer with over 1 million followers, and Pinterest influencer with 1 million+ monthly viewers.

What you can learn from Michaela:
  • Create a sticky identity and stick to it across all social networks
  • Tell more visual stories – don’t be miserly when you purchase audio or video recording equipment
  • Keep your YouTube always active even if it the branding isn’t blowing up the charts

Don’t hide your expertise and talents

Don’t sit around and wait to be discovered. Nobody is scuba diving below the surface of the talent pool to find diamonds in the rough in today’s hyper-connected recruitment world. Instead, you should offer proof of your abilities across relevant platforms; show to the world the parts of you that already shine brightly.

Showcase yourself as a brand. Grab that spot on search results.

Are you starting your career as an AI software developer? Just got promoted to Senior VP of Marketing? Maybe, you are a new entrepreneur who has a great idea to solve a significant healthcare problem. Don’t steer away from these subjects while producing content for social media. A simple Google search would lead people to know what they do. Why not use your personal brand to your advantage?

Building credibility is easier when you already have some branding ground to stand upon. But it isn’t enough to know what you’re good at. Embrace it fully as part of personal branding. One way to do it would be to figure out what else you are good at!

A natural sketch artist? Visually translate your views and opinions.

Does the camera bring out your personality? Put out more video content.

A voice to die for? Podcast your way to personal brand popularity.

In case that wasn’t clear enough – in the words of Benjamin Franklin“Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?”

It’s a lot simpler when you know how to brand yourself in front of people.

You might also like: How Social Media Influencers Impact Your Business

Spark two-way conversations

Publishing useful content is just half your personal branding strategy. If you don’t regularly engage people and consider their feedback, you may end up giving up the throne. It’s futile to have one-way interactions with them about how royal you are. To grow your kingdom, you must create high-yielding conversations about their welfare that, in turn, will make them more loyal to you.

What you can do to increase social media engagement:

  • Be mindful of context – make sure you fully understand what your followers are reacting to before you respond
  • Try to reply within an hour – the lack of quick response can be misinterpreted as a lack of concern
  • Anticipate crisis responses and be ready to execute them in case of unintentional controversies
  • Keep a track on your responses – social media interactions are akin to emails; don’t lose them
  • Exercise empathy – respond in a personable manner instead of reacting like a bully or a victim

Build real connections with data-packed social insights.

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Four more quick tips to kill it on social media

  1. Ensure that your name, profile, imagery, and vibes are similar across social profiles so that your readers don’t get disparate experiences.
  2. Join relevant groups and communities and contribute to their growth – human interactions can be backlinks too.
  3. Connect the people in your network so that you become an ecosystem of social media accounts that drive actual value.
  4. Encourage people to share their stories on and make sure they know that they are being heard – branding is driven by interactive social networks.


In the business of social media, everything’s personal. That can lead to good, bad, and ugly situations. You can come out with all guns blazing and re-energize your career as a powerful brand on social media. You can end up touching people’s lives. You may end up wasting a lot of time by branding virtually nothing. Or it will have you throwing your phone from a height that is guaranteed to break it just that you don’t hear another notification tone.

Personal branding on social media platforms is a tough piece of business. Keep in mind that navigating through it needs as much gumption and guts as it does strategy and planning.

But it’s a small price to pay because being a brand on social media always pays off.

Also read: 18 Social Media Challenges Marketers Face in 2020

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Christy Bharath is a writer, with 13+ years of content marketing and branding experience. He helps clients tell their stories across industries like Banking, Retail, Healthcare, IT Services, etc. He also trains writers to help them generate authentic and creative content. Christy is a birdwatcher, and he tweets @contentbirder.