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Monday, March 31, 2014

5 Tips on Branding Yourself

Happy Monday everybody! If you've been reading lately, you'll know I'm a senior finishing up my undergrad, and I have a ton going on. A major component of my omega project is on personal branding, and how the world sees me. This is even more important because I have an Etsy shop that goes on to reflect me as a buyer.

This morning, I've been working on my personal brand - and bought my very first domain! What I'm finding about my personal brand is that it isn't working together. All the pieces are pulling in different directions and not working together towards the same goal. That needs to be fixed!

Whether or not you own a business, or work for one, or are unemployed, you should always be selling yourself. Many of us have products that we brand, but tend to forget that we ourselves are also a product. We are all unique and have different talents - and need to showcase them. In turn, I wrote up 5 tips that will help you if and when you are branding yourself (and you should be!).

1. Have a personality - and stick to it. One of the main things I learned through my marketing classes is that every business has a personality. You as a person have a personality, so shouldn't it make sense that your personal brand reflects that? Whether you are posting on your blog, your facebook, twitter, or instagram, your posts should carry a consistent tone or mood. If you typically post happy, upbeat, and motivational updates - your followers may be put off if you update with a pessimistic outlook. Of course, overall it's your space and you should feel free to post whatever you'd like. Just understand that your followers are staying updated for a specific reason, if you stray from your personality, your follower base may be impacted.

2. Have a cohesive design. As a designer, I can't stress enough how important it is to have a cohesive design. Whether you have a website, blog, facebook, shop, business cards, and letterheads, it's imperative to pay attention to the colors, logos, phrases, photos, and information that you use. You don't necessarily need a professional designer to do this for you (though you could always hire me!), it can be as simple as making sure your profile picture is consistent and using the color green. When your followers view you across your social media channels, it will make your brand and your personality more memorable.

3. Make a list of all your social media profiles. This is huge! GOOGLE YOURSELF! You will be surprised (and probably terrified) by what comes up. When I do this, I generally google two things: first, my full name and second, the username I use for the majority of my accounts. When you come across an account that maybe you forgot about (I'm talking to you - MySpace), or no longer use, log in and delete the account. After all your mistakes old accounts have been purged, go on and make a list of all your current social media profiles. Ask yourself the following questions: Are they adding value to my brand? Do they have a personality in line with my brand? Does the design work with my other profiles? If you answer no to any of these questions, try and figure out why; and brainstorm what you can do to change that.

4. Don't overdo it. In the age where social media is exploding, it can be tempting to spread yourself thin across social media profiles to gain more coverage. I am personally an offender of this. The reality is, if you are working on 5 or 6 social platforms at a time, they aren't going to be as strong as if you were just perfecting 1 or 2. People are more likely to want to follow a profile that is strong and established. Once you have established a strong presence on one profile, it'll be much easier to migrate those fans across your new profiles as they become available.

5. Ask a friend. Often times, we get too close to a project to see its flaws. It happens with designers all the time! We are always working collaboratively and having our work critiqued by outsiders. It is always a good idea to have an outsider's opinion. So go ahead and ask (an honest!) friend to check out your profiles and make sure they make sense and most importantly, work together to show you in a good light!

So there you have it. 5 tips on branding yourself, websites, profiles, businesses - straight from my brain!

Want some more inspiration? Check out my branding board on Pinterest! As always, feel free to leave any questions in the comments section!

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