If I had an Oreo for every time I heard someone say “but I don’t want to be an influencer” when talking about being a personal brand… well, I’d have a lot of dang Oreos.
And while I’m all for the abundance of Oreos in my life, I’m ready for this comment to go away.
Because there is a belief out there in the online world that being a personal brand means that you have to be an influencer. Especially on Instagram.
But it isn’t true.
The truth is you may already be a personal brand, even if you’ve never downloaded the Instagram app!
Personal brands are companies that connect on a personal level with their clients. When people are deciding on whether or not to work with you by their connection to YOU, then you are a personal brand already.
I would say most service-based businesses, especially in the creative and coaching world are personal brands. Whether you cultivate the experience or not. You already are one.
Before we jump into how to tell if you are a personal brand, as a small business, here is a quick list of personal brand niches.
- solopreneurs / boutique service providers (like a copywriter who is not part of a huge agency, or a social media manager who is also not part of a bigger agency, OBMs, )
- creatives (designers, photographers, planners, djs, florists etc)
- coaches (business, fitness, life, etc)
- course creators
- thought leaders
- digital product creators
A traditional brand is a company that sells a product or service that doesn’t rely on the relationship built with the owner to draw in business.
For example, it doesn’t matter who LuLu Lemon’s CEO is. You either like their active gear or not. They are a traditional brand.
And for some services, especially if the company is larger, you are not creating a connection to the person. You don’t need to know your electrician for him to show up and take care of your faulty kitchen wiring.
When you have a small, creative, educational, or coaching type of business, people want to connect with you as the owner. And that is why cultivating your personal brand is so beneficial.
But this doesn’t mean you have to spend all of your time on Instagram, sharing every aspect of your day-to-day life.
You don’t even have to be on Instagram at all actually.
When you choose to step into your personal brand, you are recognizing that marketing using your face and your personality is an efficient and effective way to bring in warm leads. This doesn’t mean being an open book and sharing everything with the world if that isn’t your cup of tea. You can absolutely be a successful personal brand without sharing your every waking moment on social media.
Now, before we jump in, I do want to say that the most effective personal brands DO use social media, and it is a quick way to bring people into your world and get them invested in who you are and what you do.
This is why so many people do it.
But that’s not what this article is about
3 ways to have a personal brand without social media
1 – Your website
Your website is more than just an online portfolio. It’s a place to spark connections and build a relationship with your ideal clients.
Instead of jumping in and shoving your portfolio and prices for your services in their face, you have the opportunity to really build a connection. You do this through your messaging and through the photos you share.
You see, when people meet you in person and start to think about working with you, you don’t hand them your portfolio and price sheet and then go hide behind a wall, do you?
Well, let’s dearly hope not!
What you do is you chat a bit, you connect with them as a breathing human being first. You usually find some type of common ground that you can connect on. Then you talk about your story and your history. Eventually, you get to business and start talking about what you do, and then the cost of the investment.
When meeting folks in real life and talking with them first, they’ve had a chance to decide if they like you and are interested in moving forward, before you’ve even brought up the details of your offer! They’ve already decided if they are interested, and they don’t even know the details yet!
That’s how the human connection works, and that is what you are strategically cultivating on your website as a personal brand.
Because you don’t have the 1:1 conversation beforehand when someone lands on your website, which is often what the social media part is all about. So you have to cultivate that experience and connection through your messaging, your tone, your voice, and the photos you share. Most specifically the photos you share of yourself!
Then, once they’ve perused a while, you can move the conversation over to your offers.
So yes, you need to show up. You need to share your face and your personality more. Your voice, your vibe, your personality, and your face. It’s all a huge aspect of your brand! And you can’t skip past it anymore.
You need to bring the human aspects of your brand to your website which is not a natively human thing, you know?!
If you do this successfully, you can skip past that social media share…but now you need to think about how you are going to get the eyes on your website you’ve so beautifully crafted.
2 – Your content
This is where your content comes in. If you are going to skip the social media train, you need to dive deeply into the quality content train.
Consumers today are trained to ask questions about the things they need help with. It’s your job as an entrepreneur in the online space to answer those questions. To be the helping hand that guides your ideal customer to the answer they are looking for. And at the same time, if it makes sense for your customer, to the answer of your services.
When you create content regularly, you build trust in a way that doesn’t involve sharing each aspect of your personal life.
It builds trust as you are sharing your expertise with them.
You are helping them, without asking for anything in return.
The goal is that you guide them to their answers, and they want to work with you. But they should get the info they need without requiring a purchase.
The plus side to creating regular content is that Google loves you. And when Google loves you, you start showing up in organic search results for your preferred keywords. Then Google brings you the traffic, instead of trying to create it through social media channels.
You can choose your content-creating a platform of choice. Either blog, video (like YouTube) or audio like a podcast. Choose what you like best. What you can actually commit to showing up and doing consistently. And is delivered in a way that your audience likes to consume!
3 – Your email list
This final step of building your personal brand without social media is to grow your email list. This is how you stay connected to people who are interested in learning more from you and hiring you.
On social media, this is when people follow your account. They are telling you that they want to hear more from you. But the thing is, when using social media, Zuckerburg gets to decide how many of those people actually hear from you.
And that percentage keeps on dropping.
But when you have an email list, everyone gets to choose if they are going to engage with your content or not. They will see it, and you don’t have to play that annoying game of the algorithm.
So, there are three ways to use and cultivate an engaging personal brand as an entrepreneur without ever having to log in to a social media platform.
The plus side, if you do all the steps above, is that you have the opportunity to use social media without sharing your life. You’ll have content and engaging info people want. And you can use that to share on social media without ever feeling like you are stepping into the world of “influencer”
The strategies here are exactly how I’ve created a magnetic personal brand without the requirement of social media. I’m on social media, but it isn’t my main lead generation machine. Creating content like this is what brings people into my world. As I show up to help first, I build trust, and then people reach out to work with me.
Knowing and understanding your brand foundations, your brand voice, vibe and then the visuals of your branding build on the trust you create through these strategies above. But those aspects that are so critical to do, are often overlooked by service-based businesses.
This is why I created From the Brand Up, my 12-week group coaching program that helps you build the foundations of your brand so you know exactly how to show up, what to say, and what content to create to build a magnetic personal brand of your own. From the Brand Up waitlist opens for the Fall 2021 launch in September 2021. Learn more here: