Personal Branding – A Beginners Guide

So you’ve finally started doing what you love. You’ve taken the leap, you’ve made the decision, and you’re investing in yourself. That’s literally the coolest thing – you are taking charge of your life in a way very few people have the courage to. But where to from here? 

As a start-up business –  print, television and IRL advertising are costly and unattainable options – so your business is the most likely to gather an initial customer base through digital marketing. But DAMN – there are a thousand types of everything on the internet. It kinda feels like putting your hand up as a service provider feels like shouting into the void, right? 

Dawning Digital wants to help. We understand that starting up in an era of so much immediately available competition can be daunting, but not everyone can afford to hire a one-on-one consultant to manage your Social Media. So here are some tips for starting up your online presence in your time!

1: Define your brand

In one sentence, can you define your brand, what you do and who you serve?

It’s tougher than it seems, huh?

We’ve compiled a toolkit to help out. Answer the questions in the post below (no skipping – they get pretty tough) to help you get to the core message that embodies your ideal brand, and start your path towards attracting your ideal customer. 

You may think “I wanna sell stuff, why do I need to answer all this?”  At Dawning Digital, we believe that what creates a loyal customer isn’t immediate smoke and mirrors, but conflating a brand with your unique message. We want to create relationships through intrinsic meaning, strong values and consistent voices. Your enduring “why” in this questionnaire is going to be the backbone that supports the growth of your brand.

2: Do your research

So now you know who you are – but do you know what you’re up against?

You can learn a lot from your competitors, whether it’s observing and adapting their strengths to your own message, or seeing where they fall short and improving on those facets of their marketing plan in your own execution. Take a look at the website and social media profiles of those offering a similar service in your area: what’s doing well? What’s doing badly? What do you like and what do you dislike?

Your brand needs to shine in comparison to competing brands in order to nudge clients over to your side of the transaction – so don’t be afraid to use your competitor’s weaknesses to your advantage. Do they have a drab, difficult to navigate website? Make sure yours is colourful and intuitive! Do they have comments indicating that their channels of customer communication are sluggish or delayed? Divert your attention to immediate replies or acknowledgement. Do they have a reputation for lack of continued follow-up with repeat customers? Create a loyalty rewards plan that makes coming back to YOU the very best option.

3: Establish a consistent Brand Vocabulary

As an entrepreneur, part of your being is creativity. You’re a thousand-ideas-a-minute person. And we get that you probably want your brand’s online presence to reflect that. But the way to build up an audience in this era of information overload 24/7 is to create a consistent, recognizable identity  that triggers associations and repeat page visits within your target audience. So how do you consolidate all your ideas into a consistent Instagram grid? 

The answer is aesthetic. You need to create a “brand board”.

It doesn’t need to be a professional undertaking. You can, on your own, gather a colour palette, a mood board, and decide on some fonts that define your brand. Compile and save these in an easy access format and always refer back to them when creating content. Let these be the paintbrushes you go to to create the image you want your clients to see. No matter how “out there” an idea or product depicted in your digital content  is, with a successful brand board, potential spenders will associate your branded aesthetic with the values they already know your brand stands for.

4: Talk to Your Audience

As a customer, the only thing cooler than finding a brand whose values you really resonate with, is finding a brand whose values you really resonate with and then that brand commenting on the photo you just tagged them in. 

Your customers are the reason you get to do what you love, but when you first encounter growth in your platform follower count, it’s easy to think of them as “just another number”. The key to gaining new followers may lie in the tips above, but the key to retaining the followers you’ve found is in making them feel heard. 

So we at Dawning Digital encourage maintaining a high level of community management on your posts. Reply to all comments – whether it’s answering questions, appreciating compliments, or acknowledging your potential avenues of improvement. Take time to read direct messages and personalize replies – let your customers know their efforts are not in vain. Ask questions in image captions and through platform specific polls – allowing customer feedback and trends to influence your brand direction going forward. 

One loyal customer who invests in 70% of the new offerings you present is worth more fiscally than 5 new, once-off purchasing individuals in the long term!

So, what now?

Ultimately, Dawning Digital can give you the tips we have at hand for growing your audience (and they work pretty darn well if you ask us!) but every business is going to be a uniquely challenging experience to send out into the world. We stand by building pillars of identity, information, aesthetic and engagement – but how you decorate this foundation is entirely up to you. You’re living in a time in which what you love could be seen by the whole world if you tap those thumbs right, and we can’t wait to  see what you have to offer!

If you’d like a little help starting out – or changing up your MO – book a consultation call and we’ll help shine some light on your way forward.