Ep. 136 Building your personal brand on social media

building your personal brand on social media

In today’s episode, Anna looks at building your personal brand on social media and takes you through a simple 3-step framework to help you figure out your social media strategy.

Although your personal brand lives and breathes in every online touchpoint, in every interaction, social media remains an exceptionally powerful tool for building your personal brand – now more than ever. Follow this 3-step framework to build your brand effectively online.

Want a simple 3-step framework to figure out your social media strategy? Check this out.

*Resources mentioned during the episode*

Level up with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate



Building your personal brand on social media


Hello there. Welcome back to the Reimagining Success podcast. I’m Anna Lundberg and we are talking all things personal branding and specifically looking at how you can build your personal brand online and even more specifically how you can build it on social media. Now, as ever if you’d like support with this, do send me a message on any social channel, of course, where we’re already connected Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or you can of course, book a call directly at onestepoutside.com/call. Lots to dig into, lots of resources here of course in the podcast, but so much more that we could do together if you’re really finding this interesting and you’re seeing the power, you’re seeing the potential, the possibilities of getting clear on and building your personal brand. Do get in touch and I’d love to help you do just that.

So look, we’ve talked about what is personal branding and it’s what people say about you when you’re not in the room and it comes across in every touch point as we call it in marketing, every interaction. It’s in the emails you send, it’s in voice messages you leave, it’s in your body language. It’s in the way you dress, the way you behave, your comportment. Is that a word? How you behave, how you speak to people, certainly how you come across online, which let’s face it, at the moment at least, is one of the main ways in which people have been able to get to know you at all. And in any case, social media is such a growing and already well-established avenue channel, where you can build your brand and where you can interact with people.

It’s such a blessing. I know Facebook for example, is a bit of a mixed bag, but think about the possibilities, the opportunities that have been created for us as small business owners. We just couldn’t have competed with the likes of Proctor and Gamble and all these big brand giants before. We didn’t have the money. Facebook has allowed us to build a free community actually to some extent, and also of course, to pay not so much actually, to promote our brands online.

But that’s a side topic I suppose, but just to say the power, the possibilities that exist thanks to social media. Now I hear from some people, you know, I hate social media or I don’t want to be on Facebook. I’m not on Facebook. And that’s really important to dig into, first of all to understand why do you hate it? Is it something you can overcome? And if not, to be honest, let’s look at another way in which you can build your brand. Now I would argue there has to be, there probably will be some way in which you can choose a channel that you are going to be comfortable with. And we’ll have an episode about this next week actually, about how you can feel good about your personal brand and building that. But there is I’m sure, a format and medium that you will enjoy, that you’ll feel authentic doing, that is perfect for connecting with your ideal clients.

So don’t give up entirely, hear me out, and let’s have a think about how we can make this work for you. But it’s important to make this for you. As ever, there’s no point in coming reluctantly to, oh, I think I should be on Instagram and then feeling really awkward and resisting and not being consistent. So really important to think about how you can get comfortable, how you can enjoy this and how you can show up in the right way.

Now in this episode, I am assuming that you’re clear on what you stand for. So if not, go back to the last few episodes, I have a few episodes, I think back in sort of episode nine, ten as well, where I started talking about how you can find your brand story. And again, we can work together to help you do just that. But I’m assuming you know your bigger why, your mission, your values, your beliefs, and importantly, and I will raise that now, why you want to have this personal brand? How is it going to serve you within your career, in your business? What are the opportunities you hope it will create? Again, an episode a couple of weeks ago. And really understanding why you’re doing this.

This by the way, will help you get more comfortable because you’ll see a purpose to the things that you’re doing. You know, I had a client the other day say, oh, I’m not really putting my stuff out there. I feel so uncomfortable with self promotion. I get it. But look, do you want to have a business or not? Don’t think about it as promoting yourself. Think about it as promoting a community, building a community, that’s a great way to feel better about it. Sharing your client’s and peer’s stories. That’s a great way as well. You’re not just talking about yourself. And finding a way to serve. You have something to offer people. You’re not just saying, Hey, look at me. I’m amazing. I’m certainly not doing that. I hope it doesn’t come across that way. I’m not here to say, look at me and my amazing life.

I’m definitely not the kind of person to be posting all those fancy jets and Hey, this is me with Oprah and so on. There are people who do that and I think it works for them and that’s what they want. But you don’t have to do that. So again, it’s about you finding a way to get comfortable, but you do need to sell otherwise you’re not going to have a business. It’s going to be a charity or a hobby. But here we’re talking about building your personal brand. So okay, again I’m assuming you know what you stand for and why you’re building your personal brand, why this is important. So let’s ask a few more questions. I’m going to say who, what and where. So first of all, who? Who is your audience? I know it’s a big question. When we look at your business model, we talk about, okay, do you want to work with companies or individuals? If it’s companies, do you want to work with startups or big corporations, charities or NGOs?

If you’re working with individuals, what are the demographics? So things like age, income, perhaps gender and so on, but also importantly, psychographics. What are the problems they’re experiencing? What are the challenges? What are their wants, needs, desires as well as their fears and concerns and challenges? So who is your audience? Specifically in the context here for your personal brand, link this back to your objective. Are you looking to get a promotion within your company? In which case you need to expose yourself and not expose yourself that way, but expose your professional attitude, your results, your professional self really. Expose who you are and get that exposure to other parts of the organisation, the decision makers, the key stakeholders who are deciding about that promotion. Are you looking to change into a different department? By the way, internally, you need to balance that quite delicately don’t you? You need to talk to the new team without upsetting your existing manager and so on, but there’s a way to negotiate that quite sensitively and sensibly.

Are you looking to change company? Then of course you need to be building your network. And that’s when we start looking at social networks and in particularly perhaps LinkedIn is a fantastic one, hard to beat really when it comes to professional networking. Do you want to be putting yourself in front of people? Again decision-makers, stakeholders, possible future employers in other companies in your industry. Do you want to change industry? Then of course, your audience needs to be people outside of your industry. I was trying to move away from luxury and beauty when I left my job and I had done my initial consulting assignment. So I needed to really push and really do the hard work to show that I had done other things. To take on projects, to work with startups and entrepreneurs to increase my coaching work and so on, so that I wasn’t just this person who had this luxury and beauty expertise.

Again, are you looking to start a business? Are you looking to grow your business? Are you looking to raise your prices and you need to elevate your brand to a new type of audience who can afford a higher level of service? So who is your audience?

And if you want to, you can pause now and have a think, grab a pen and paper. I know a lot of you listen as you’re walking or doing the dishes or whatever else. So you can always come back to this as well. But the first question is who is your audience?

Now the second question, and this is my passion. This is where I love to spend a lot of time with my clients and with myself as well. It’s what I did in my final years at P and G, at Proctor and Gamble, when I was doing my digital marketing consulting. And that’s coming up with your content themes: content territories, content buckets, content pillars, choose your word. It’s the sweet spot between, on the one hand what you want to talk about, this is what I stand for. These are my beliefs. This is my mission. This is the change I want to see in the world. And on the other hand, what your audience really cares about. Which format makes the most sense is going to be a secondary question, so you don’t want to get obsessed with okay, I’m going to do a video, I’m going to do a podcast, I’m going to write an article. No, think about the theme, the topic, first. What’s going to make sense.

And again, it’s between you and your audience. So it’s important that it ties into the questions that your audience might have. The needs they have. The desires they have. What’s going to resonate with them. But of course, you’re not just going to do a … Certainly the type of business I’m trying to build and I’m trying to encourage you to build, you don’t just want to listen to the market. You want to make sure that resonates for you as well. And of course, you’re building a particular brand with a particular objective, a particular aspect to it, dimension and purpose. So it’s important then that you’re not just following whatever latest trend exists, but really being purposeful and intentional about what you’re building.

So what are your content themes? So I have now my five pillars, which have effectively become my content themes.

So I have your personal definition of success, mindset, confidence, and resilience. Pillar three is choosing the right business model. Four is building an effective personal brand platform. Ta-da! That’s what we’re doing of course now in these next few months. And five is designing flexible work-life integration. And you may or may not notice this, but I’m actually cycling through these pillars.

I work through these five pillars through my business incubator where I take clients from idea internally inside a corporate job, to transitioning out and actually getting that income, getting those first few clients. We work through the five pillars pretty sequentially. I cycle through the five pillars with my business accelerator community, where I’m helping new entrepreneurs and business owners really establish themselves in the market, elevate their brand and get that consistent revenue from a business which they love, which they’re great at and which is getting them the success that they’re after. And I’m cycling through the five pillars, the five content pillars as it were, on the podcast too. So if you do a bit of analysis, go back on my episodes, you’ll see that I do a couple of months now in personal brand. I’ve just done a couple of months on the business model, previously on mindset and confidence and resilience. And before that, the first pillar defining success.

So it’s not that your audience necessarily will know that this is what you’re doing, but it’s to make sure that the things that you’re posting about are relevant. And again, helping you hit your objectives. It’s not just, oh today. I feel like pasting about this. There is a role by the way, for spontaneity, I like to have certain things pre-scheduled and then of course, I’m happy to come on and talk about some anecdotal or some live element that’s going to be relevant and so on. But really important to be strategic so you’re not just posting willy-nilly when you feel like it.

So the first question was, who is your audience? The second, what are your content themes? Again I told you about my five pillars. Of course, I didn’t have these when I first started, but you might have a pillar which is more sort of mission led big beliefs. For me, that really is the, I believe it’s important to redefine success, to get clear on what success means for you and not just follow the norms, follow what you think you should do. What is your big belief? What’s one big picture topic that you might want to have and focus on? Then actually one bucket might be your own personal stories. Although I think your personal stories can also feed into the different buckets. There might be one which has a bit more teaching, a bit more how to. I have a client who does meditation coaching and aerial … She calls it aerial. Is it aerial yoga, aerial acrobatics? I don’t know. It’s amazing. It’s something that looks pretty scary to me, but pretty incredible. But those might be three topics.

You might actually have sort of your areas of expertise: the coaching, the meditation, mindfulness is an important one. The aerial body image could be something, or confidence. Let’s think of another example. Maybe you’re a graphic designer and there might be a bucket which is all around colours. There’s another one around sort of graphic elements and shapes and things. There’s something around logos. Quite specific perhaps, but everything from the big picture. This is what I believe. And I want to get people behind this. Maybe your values, sustainability, maybe you have a passion for tattoos or for surfing or whatever that is. So bring in a bit of personality because we’re talking personal brand here as well.

And I’m talking mainly here again about being an entrepreneur and running a business. That’s the content buckets that I’m using. But again, trying to make this relevant for you if you’re staying and if you don’t yet have a thought of leaving, really think about, okay, in order to get this new job, promotion, shift into this different company or industry, or just, I say just, but open up for possibilities, like speaking on a Ted stage, being asked to come on on an expert panel, whatever that looks like. But being more present in the media perhaps. Coming on Good Morning Britain or something like that in the UK and being consulted in the press and so on. So think about, okay, what do you want to be known for? What are your big pillars? What’s the value you can bring? What’s your expertise and think beyond of course your current job title.

There might be an element of credibility you need to talk about. In fact, there definitely will be in terms of that you’re good at speaking. So you need to illustrate that as well. Not just talk about a topic, but demonstrate that you can come on and speak on a podcast, on a stage, whatever that looks like. So who’s your audience? What are your content themes? What are you going to talk about? And then where? Where are you going to post this content?

So where is your audience active? Which are the channels you’re going to choose? And yes, this is only number three. So we tend to go LinkedIn, Instagram, video. No, we need to start with understanding the audience. We need to then go to the content and only then do we think, okay, where does it make sense to put this content? And there are a couple of things. As I said, one is where is your audience active? Most people are on Facebook. Most professionals are on LinkedIn. Instagram tends to be a little bit more female, maybe a bit more fitness coach-y, nutrition-y, fashion-y. Some broad strikes, but of course there’s much more nuanced differences as well. So one aspect is where is your audience?

Another of course is what’s suitable for the subject matter that you’re talking. I’ve always felt a bit reluctant on, well at least initially, on talking about quitting your job on LinkedIn, but I mean, isn’t that the best platform for it because people are on there because they’re looking for new jobs, shifting direction, looking to make those connections. So actually maybe a bit counter-intuitively, it’s a fantastic platform. LinkedIn has a very high calibre of professional, on their CEO’s high level executives. They have a high average salary and a pretty good platform for most of us as well.

 And of course, certainly if you’re looking to change jobs, get that promotion, shift into another company or industry, that’s a fantastic way to make connections, build relationships, sidestepping really, the formal application process for a job.

So where are they active? What’s relevant? And then importantly, again, bringing it back to you. What are you comfortable with? Now there’s a level of discomfort with, oh I don’t want to do video and so on, which is just normal nerves that you need to get over. And then there’s a level of no, you know what? I hate, whatever it is and I would never want to do it. So if you really do hate, for whatever reason, Instagram, then don’t do Instagram.

Or if you hate showing up on live videos, if you hate that pointy music-y thing that people do on the reels, fine, don’t do it. You know, I played around with it. I actually quite enjoyed it, but I just found I didn’t have time for it. So I’ve taken a step back from the TikToK and IG reels, but I think it’s still a great place to be. And if you’re a bit younger and cooler than I am, if it really suits your audience that’s a great place to be. So thinking about what you enjoy, do you like writing? Are you good at writing? Are you more sort of a speaker? Do you turn up and show up well on camera? Do you enjoy that?

You can pre-record things, it doesn’t have to be live. Or maybe you love the buzz of doing things live. I’m such to perfectionist that when I started doing video, I re-recorded them so much that I ultimately decided to do live just because then I couldn’t edit it because I was going mad. By the way if you are, and we had an episode on this a few weeks ago, if you are looking at building a portfolio career where you have different revenue streams, perhaps slightly different career paths almost, then you might consider of course, different channels. It might be that you retain LinkedIn for the more professional corporate side of things. And then you use Instagram. I had a client who was doing charity consulting on the one hand, that was LinkedIn, and then adventure photography and that was Instagram. So that’s completely possible. It’s not about lying. It’s just about being coherent and cohesive and making sure it makes sense for the channel.

So that’s it for today, how to build your personal brand on social media. Of course, lots more to talk about. As ever if you’d like to get in touch, you can hit me up, as they say on any social channel where we’re already connected. You’ll feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, follow me on Facebook or message me on Instagram. And you can always book a call at onestepoutside.com/call. But again, let’s recap one more time. Hopefully you’ve paused and had a think about this already, but if not, then come back to this later and do a bit of mind mapping, do a bit of idea brainstorming around who is your audience? What are the content themes in that sweet spot between what you want to talk about and what your audience wants to read about and hear about and needs to hear about? And then finally, where. Where is your audience active? Where does it make sense for you to be present and what kind of formats, where, how is it going to make sense for you to show up?

Thanks so much for listening and I’ll see you next week when we’re going to talking about how to feel good about your personal brand. Bye for now.

If you’re ready to start to reimagine what success could look like for you, here are some of the ways in which Anna can support you:

Get private mentoring for your business – Partnering with a business coach can help you see those blind spots and get both external accountability and expert guidance to take your business to where you want it to be. www.onestepoutside.com/freeconsultation

Get private career coaching – Individual coaching is fully tailored to your specific goals and desires so we can create the programme that works best for you, with the support that you need to move forwards. www.onestepoutside.com/claritycall

Grab a copy of Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5 – After interviewing 50 people who have left the corporate 9 to 5 to forge their own path, Anna has collected their stories in a book that will inspire you with the possibilities that are out there and reassure you that you’re not alone in looking for an alternative. www.leavingthecorporate9to5.com

Join the One Step Outside the 9 to 5 Business Incubator – This is your roadmap to transitioning from a corporate job into setting up a meaningful business that will bring you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment outside of the corporate 9 to 5. www.onestepoutside.com/9to5

Level up with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate


3 Responses

  1. Hi Anna 🙂

    I’ve been quite busy with personal things this spring + early summer, so I am not caught up on your podcast (I haven’t even listened to this episode yet).

    The term “social media”, however, is a particular “pet peeve” of mine — because I have yet to meet a person who can give a quick + easy (or even *ANY*) definition of what that term is supposed to refer to. Until that point, I will continue to consider it to be meaningless mumbo-jumbo.

    I have very high expectations of you — after all, we all know you are the quintessential “good girl”, right? Well, so now I expect you to either define or denounce this term. Do you care to step up to the plate + give it your best shot?

    🙂 Norbert

    1. Thanks for your comment. I think the most straightforward definition would be ‘social’ in the sense of offering a two-way interaction, a conversation, as opposed to the traditional broadcasting media – TV and print – of the past. In this episode, I’m referring to LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook.

      1. Yes, excellent! 😀 #UcanAlwaysCountOnAnna

        That definition (IMHO) refers to the entire Internet (at least — perhaps also other technologies), For example, when I type “OneStepOutside.com” into a browser, you (and/or other companies who track this page via code integrated into the HTML) are informed of my request to view this page. Likewise, depending on the way the page is coded, there may be some awareness of my mouse-pointer, or quite probably links clicked.

        The way the term is commonly used (w/o a precise definition), it is usually limited to a few brand names — probably first and foremost FB.

        Note, however, that the Google search engine is perhaps the most advanced tracking company. I remember pretty much all of Google’s history (since I work in roughly the same field, albeit w/o their brand name orientation). Many years ago (maybe about 15 or so), they changed the links on their SERPs to no longer present the actual URLs indexed, but rather pointing to the GOOG’s own tracking links (this was one of their first moves into the spyware industry, later they significantly expanded with their mobile phone projects) Therefore, most of the criticism of “The Social Dilemma” is actually most appropriately targeted at Google itself.

        I, myself, have strongly recommended avoiding such spyware and “PII” information brokerages. One of my first successful recommendations was in a community started by eBay-founder Pierre Omidyar (omidyar.net) — as a result, eBay acquired shopping.com (and therefore significantly reduced the company’s dependence on spyware firms like Google).

        🙂 Norbert

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