It feels like everyone is an “influencer” these days, am I right? To set yourself apart and ensure you build a valuable brand, you need to take a few steps to tap into your personal story and learn the fundamentals of digital marketing. Read on for 5 ways to market yourself & build your online presence.
1. Tap into your personal story
A personal brand is much more different than a company brand. Not only are you trying to market a product or service, but you are also trying to communicate your value to an audience.
One of my favorite parts of our most recent podcast episode with Lissette Calveiro was our conversation around bringing our personal story into our personal brand. As women of color, we often struggle in recognizing our value and worth. The first step in developing our personal brand has to be rooted in getting rid of this belief. If you are a woman of color and feel like this, know that you are not alone; this is imposter syndrome.
Your brand is tied to your personal story
We must believe that our brand or business is tied to our personal story. And since our story is only ours, there is no way that any two businesses or brands can be identical! Some methods to tap into your personal story include:
- Creative writing
- Creating vision maps
- Talking to your family and friends
- Tracing links across your experiences
- Observing your routine
- Monitoring your emotions
The key is in practicing whatever makes you feel in touch with yourself. What we are trying to uncover here is your authenticity. A brand is not personal if it is not authentic.
2. Identify your expertise
Once you tap into your personal story, you will start to identify what feels most authentic. For anyone creating a personal brand, creating from a place of authenticity will show. Not only will you build a relationship with your audience, but you will also find the creation process a bit easier. Speaking about something you know will be way easier than speaking about something you don’t know about or aren’t even interested in.
Some questions to ask yourself when identifying your expertise include:
- What do you care about and why?
- When do you feel the most confident?
- What feels easy for you to talk about?
Always hone your skills
Once you feel you’ve identified your area of expertise, you will need to continue staying relevant. Say your expertise is in blog monetization. What worked for your blog that you created 2-3 years ago will not work 2-3 years from today, especially when considering the oversaturation of online content.
For example: you’re an expert in blog monetization. A media outlet asks you to be a guest contributor, and you write an article that doesn’t at all include mention of some of the latest, trendiest forms of social media for cross-promotion. This is not a good look, because it shows that you are not doing your research to keep your expertise fresh.
Free education resources
On the Yo Quiero Dinero Instagram page, we made a post all about free education resources to launch your side hustle. These can be just as useful for learning the skills to market your brand once you’ve built authenticity and have identified your expertise.
3. Find your niche
It won’t matter how deep you’ve been able to connect your brand to your story if there is no one to tell it to. This is where your audience niche comes in. Your story won’t connect with everyone in the online world. It is your job to identify who would best connect and why.
Identify your target audience
Returning to the blog monetization expert, you can’t just say your target audience is bloggers. This is too wide. Go deeper → your target audience is a blogger who is a woman. Go deeper → personal finance blogger who is a woman. Deeper → personal finance blogger who is a millennial woman of color.
Just when you think you have identified your target audience, challenge yourself to get more and more specific.
Also do your research! Start following relevant hashtags on Instagram, for example, and get to know the space for this particular hashtag. Try to identify the audience this hashtag draws.
Fill in the following sentence frames to start narrowing down your target audience:
- My target audience member is ____ years old
- She wants…
- She feels…
- Her day-to-day looks like…
- As a consumer, she is…
- Her social media usage is primarily through…
- She is most concerned about…
The more specific, the better!
4. Engage with your following
Once you have your niche identified and following, you have to engage with them. You’ve done the work of crafting and presenting your personal story and bringing in your target audience into your community. If you don’t engage, any trust you have built will soon be broken!
Try to respond in a timely manner, give personalized comments when the situation calls for it, and continue providing accessible, reliable content to your audience.
More engagement ideas include:
- Commenting on some of the top posts in your niche hashtag
- Going on IG Lives to engage in real-time with your audience
- Responding to others’ stories or calls to action (CTAs)
Lissette has even more audience engagement ideas over at her blog.
5. Network with other brands
This last point is perhaps one of the final steps. What better way to grow your audience than by expanding the scope of your network?
When you identify some of your niche hashtags, you should make an effort to communicate to some of the top creators in this space. More than wanting to introduce yourself to their built audience, you should also want to build a community at the creator level.
Building my community within Instagram’s Latina personal finance education niche has been crucial to my brand establishment. Not only do they serve as a sounding board, but we have also been able to collaborate on so many great events, such as our free Side Hustle summit in early spring of 2020.
The more you get your business, brand, and story out there among your online network, the more authentic relationships of support you will have. Remember, as women of color entrepreneurs, we must practice uplifting each other. And as a women of color establishing herself in the public online space, we have the potential to positively impact the lives of many. If you were looking for a sign to create your personal brand and learn to market yourself, this is your sign!