How to Integrate Your Personality Into Your Online Brand
Building your brand online can feel calculated, forced and uninspired sometimes. From finding the perfect caption on Instagram to making sure your pitch email sounds warm and inviting, it can be easy to lose your personality behind your brand.
As a branding and web designer, I’ve learned the key to remember is that people follow you as a person, not just a brand. They want to work with the visionary behind the brand, not just the product you sell, so it’s imperative to make sure your personality shines across all digital platforms. These five simple steps ensure your digital brand is as polished, professional and charming as you are in person.
Step 1: Personify Your Audience
The most important thing you can do for your digital brand, is give your audience a name, and talk directly to them. By defining this ideal “reader”, you can address them more confidently, more organically and more easily in your natural voice.
Here is an example, I’ve named my audience Hayden.
Hayden is a stylish woman in her 30s, who enjoys hosting brunch for her life-long girlfriends, baking cookies on birthdays, and using cute straws. She’s in her 2nd career, having left her corporate job to focus on her interior design business and raising her young children. She is sharp, excited to learn, and constantly pushing forward. Never accepting “the norm”, she is always looking to grow her business +brighten her relationships with fellow business women. Hayden understands when it’s time to be serious–but knows there is always time to be a little silly.
Once you’ve built an identity around your audience, you know exactly how to speak to them. Don’t you have a clear picture of Hayden now? If you had to write her a note, you’d know exactly what tone to use?
Step 2: For Every 3 “Business Posts”, Post Something Personal
Many of my clients get hung up on this. They keep their personal and business profiles completely separate and don’t want them to overlap. However, there is a proven formula that creates magic for your readers. After every three content driven posts (sales pitch, blog post, testimonial, etc), post something genuine to the heart of your brand. Keep the image in line with your brand and consistent in look to your other photos, but switch this messaging up. Talk about a struggle in your business or a personal win you’re celebrating. Use this as a chance for your followers to connect with you, to celebrate you, or to cheer you on.
Step 3: Decide on Your Voice + Stick to It
Do you love the avocado emoji? Then use it! Do you speak in short sentences in person? Then keep your captions short. Are you inquisitive by nature? Start your posts with a question. Add your own personality to it – there are no limits or regulations in the digital world, but I recommend keeping things grammatically correct and double checking spelling so your personality comes across as intentional and polished, not accidental.
Create some guidelines for your digital voice and keep it consistent across all platforms – from responding to Instagram comments to email correspondence. (Pro Tip – having these guidelines written out makes bringing on team members or interns so much easier. Everyone has a clear understanding of what is or isn’t appropriate in communications.)
Step 4: Pick Your Signature Piece
I keep a stock pile of props to use for my photoshoots – but I always make sure to keep a signature piece in them. This subtle detail adds so much personality and consistency to your feeds, it become easy for people to recognize your photos without looking at your username. My signature pieces include my gold iPad pro, pink pencils, and a gold mouse pad. By including these elements every few photos, my feed looks consistent and familiar – key to showing your personality online!
Step 5: Talk Back
Make sure to respond to every comment you get. Apps like Iconosquare will let you do it from your desktop, to save your thumbs some anguish. There is no better way to show your personality in your digital brand than to be personable! Thank your audience for following along, answer their questions, cheer them on. This is your chance to engage like you were having a glass of rosé together.
Another fantastic way to let your personality shine is through Instagram Stories! Launching the Stories update keeps your followers native – so they don’t have to click through to Snapchat to see coveted behind the scenes. Use this to your advantage – show people what you’re working on, what you’re eating for lunch, and invite them to engage. If I’m deciding between two pieces I’m ready to splurge on – I’ll take a vote in my Instagram Story! You have more freedom to add personality into your Story since it only lives for 24 hours, relieving the pressure of keeping perfectly “on brand” with every post. I encourage you to sit down with a cocktail and a couple of sugar cookies and really hash out the personality of your brand and where you fit into it. The number one takeaway is to define who you’re speaking to, and write to them specifically. The more targeted your message – the more engagement it will receive as people can connect more deeply to it.
I’ve created The Brand Book to walk you through branding yourself online in a little more depth. It’s the perfect workbook for a #societygal to refresh and find that perfect voice for your brand. Always remember ladies, your audience follows you and your story – not what you sell.