Marketing Yourself Online: Knowing Your Brand

on July 31, 2012 | Sydney | Comments (0)

I may sound like I should be standing in the middle of a shopping centre in a cheap suit clutching a neon sign when I say this – to market yourself successfully online, you must know your brand.

This isn’t a new concept, in fact, personal ‘branding’ is the term du jour and this is due to a boom in the creative industries.  Ten years ago you might have considered yourself an Accountant who liked to paint on the weekends; now, everyone is a “Slashie” – Accountant/Artist, Teacher/Photographer, Chef/Actor.

One young man in my local council is quite the pottery pro and he’ll tell you this before mentioning his parliamentary endeavours.  Mr Clayman spends hours on his blog and Twitter account boasting his talent.

This is the era where millions are working hard to eventually leave their ‘day jobs’ and pursue their artistic dreams.  To achieve a goal such as this, you must market your talent through social media.

Without treating you like a five-year-old or sounding like New Age therapist, you must ask yourself “What am I good at? What do I want to promote?”.  Once you have that down on paper (always, always, take notes) – the rest will flow.

Call yourself a “Writer” and you will vanish in to obscurity like a set of breast implants on the Gold Coast.  What do you write.  What makes you different.  Narrowing down your niche by identifying just one facet of your talent that particularly shines will strengthen your brand – hey, you know what you’re selling!

I’ll offer myself as the example.  I’ve been told several times during my (still early) career that diversity is the key, that you need to excel at tapping out all genres – this makes you a great writer.  Er, no.

I’ve tried my hand at everything, even penning a submission to Mills and Boon (we all have skeletons in our closet).  Finding I couldn’t conjure a convincing Fabio or Haiku to save my life, I settled on baseball.

Yes, baseball.  It’s a niche that is so obscure in Australia, that most people don’t know it’s played here.  Through social media, I’ve promoted my niche in such a way that I’ve managed to secure a faithful audience who devour, comment on and share my work – all because there is only a handful of us that write about the sport in Australia (oh, and because I’m incredibly good at what I do, obviously).

So, take a personal inventory and label yourself.  I’m a Photographer who is specialises in taking portraits of pugs.  I make hand crafted silverware – spoons, no forks.  Defining yourself is vital to building your online presence.  Only once you’ve done this can you begin to create your Twitter and Facebook page.

One way I worked myself out was researching Pages I’d ‘Liked’ on Facebook.  I questioned myself what they offered me.  There is no such Page offering information and updates on “A bit of this, a bit of that – whatever I feel like really.   Just Like my Page because I’m super talented and worthy of your attention”.

You’ll find the Pages you Like are for very different and specific reasons; this is why someone will stay loyal to you online.  Your audience needs to trust that you are THE source of your particular talent.

For further proof, look up comedienne Justin Halpern.  Halpern started a Twitter feed three years ago entitled ‘Shit my Dad says’ to catalogue quotes from his aging and hilarious father.  To date, Halpern has over three million Twitter followers (he follows just one), two book deals and a TV series under his belt.

Halpern would agree that concentrating on just one aspect of his comedy catapulted his online popularity.

Social Media Workshop with Ark Group Australia:

Introduction to Social Media for Professionals
Sydney - 21 September 2012

Anna James is penning a series of articles on social media marketing in the lead up to her workshop ‘Social Media for Professional Beginners’.  Click here to register and feel free to contact her directly if you have any questions  And of course, follow her on Twitter @missannajames.

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