5 Instagrammers Who Are Crushing the Personal Branding Game

Instagram is a visual playground for 800 million users and counting, according to stats compiled by Smart Insights. While part of the social network’s draw might be following celebrity accounts, there’s another benefit: The platform offers stellar examples of personal branding.

I’m not talking about those celebrities who do it for a living. I mean regular, everyday people who integrate Instagram into their daily lives. They might not be household names, but following each of their feeds is still a fascinating journey.

The following six Instagram accounts show how those of us who aren’t famous can successfully use the platform to boost our personal brands.

1. Jenna Kutcher (@jennakutcher)

Jenna Kutcher is a photographer, podcaster (Goal Digger) and educator based in small-town Minnesota. And although she may photograph weddings, her personal Instagram account isn’t full of brides and grooms. Instead, she posts high quality, stylistically similar images of herself and her family, along with inspirational quotes and landscapes. She includes personal captions with each photo, delving into her life and struggles as if talking with close friends.

Kutcher’s business experience gives her the credibility needed to host webinars and courses on all things marketing and entrepreneurship, as well as photography. And when she has something to promote, she doesn’t shy away from including a call to action and URL asking her followers to sign up.

Don’t be afraid to follow her lead; after all, how can you get your followers to take the next step if they don’t know what that step is?

2. LeJuan James (@lejuanjames)

LeJuan James is a social media sensation. As a comedian “representing Hispanics around the world,” videos are his thing—he started on YouTube and then transitioned his audience to Instagram. He knows which type of content is his strong suit and he laregely sticks with what he’s good at.

Oftentimes on social media, users feel pressure to copy the cool new trends they see in others’ posts, but that’s a recipe for failure when it comes to brand consistency. Like James, if you know you’re strongest in one type of content, it’s OK to make that your focus—even if that means bucking platform trends.

3. Nora McInerny (@noraborealis)

is a writer, the host of Terrible, Thanks for Asking podcast and founder of Still Kickin and Hot Young Widows Club. Her Instagram bio is short and sweet, but it matches her profile and her brand to a T—which are all about how she’s making the most of her life, and how she’s helping others do the same. She talks about going through really hard things, like loss and grief, but her feed is also full of pictures of her children and motherhood and this beautiful thing we call life.

Your Instagram should be a zoomed-in view of your product, not your product itself. If you run a dry-cleaning business, no one wants to see a bunch of pictures of the building’s exterior. You need to show them the people, the before-and-after shots, the lint balls, and the behind the scenes.

4. Jasmine Star (@jasminestar)

Jasmine Star is a photographer, so her photos are high quality, but her highlights don’t just show the facets of her life—they teach, too. Star is also a business strategist, and she offers easy-to-try tips for entrepreneurs through her posts and her bio. She regularly writes captions that are longer than 300 words, and she speaks very deliberately to her audience, which is a critical element of personal branding.

Yes, long captions might turn some people off. But they’ll keep others around. If you know what your audience members want to hear, give it to them straight in a long post if that’s what it takes. Just remember that the only path to failure is trying to be everything to everybody.

5. Elizabeth Gray (@thegraytergood)

At first glance, hand-lettering artist Elizabeth Gray’s profile might seem to be solely focused on her art, but the true heart of her Instagram account lives within her Instagram Stories. There, she posts everything from tutorial videos to inspirational quotes to snapshots of her cats and coffee. She keeps her photo posts centered on her work, letting the art shine, and she allows fans into her life through her Stories, adding depth to her profile.

Instagram’s Stories platform is becoming a popular place for consumers and brands alike to connect with others. Use yours to offer content that complements your main posts, giving your audience another channel through which to interact with you.

The post 5 Instagrammers Who Are Crushing the Personal Branding Game appeared first on SUCCESS.

3 Ways to Start Improving Your Personal Branding

how to improve personal branding
Personal branding is good for some businesses, but it’s also bad for a lot of businesses. Becoming the face of a business is a powerful marketing tool, but what if you want to sell the business in the future? It’s more difficult to sell a business when you’re the face of the company.

But for a dentist or a law firm, personal branding can be beneficial. In this case, you want to be the face of a business.

Personal branding in today’s world goes beyond billboards that have a professional’s face splattered all over them. Businesses have a lot of assets that need to utilize personal branding to build a strong, personal brand.

If you want to improve your personal brand, you’ll want to start by:

Becoming a Credible, Professional Resource

If you’re going to leverage your personal brand, you have to be a resource and face that people trust. Credibility is the difference between a professional charging $50 an hour for their service or $300 an hour for their service.

You want to be the resource that people trust, and this can be done in a variety of ways:

  • Guest posts
  • Social media
  • Blog posts
  • Connect with other organizations

You want your face to be in as many places as possible.

Use the Same Photo on All Assets

personal branding use repeat images
People need to know your name and face. If you’re using bad photographs or a variety of photographs across multiple channels, this will do more to confuse people than to actually help your personal branding.

A good example of personal branding in action can be seen with the personal injury attorney at Sigurdson Law .

You’ll notice a few things immediately:

  • Header featuring the firm’s owner
  • Pictures of all team members for further branding
  • Twitter profile with a similar picture

I did notice that the attorney didn’t have a picture on their LinkedIn profile – a big mistake. There needs to be consistency across all channels.

The goal is to use the same picture on author accounts and marketing, too. When people see the picture, they’ll correlate it to the firm and the sound advice it gives to clients.

Start Helping Others in the Industry and Potential Clients

You need to be able to expand your reach, and this is best done by helping others. If you’re not helping others, you’re failing. The goal is to genuinely help others, and this will be able to grow your brand.

Go on social media, and try and find others in your area asking questions.

help other in industry and clients
Using the example of an injury lawyer from earlier, you can search for others in your area that may have questions about their personal injury case.

Respond to these individuals and provide valuable information, such as:

  • Linking to a resource you have on the topic
  • Linking to the answer somewhere else
  • Answering the question directly

If you start helping others, it will reflect good on your brand and also help you start building your brand as an informative, influential person in the industry.

Photos courtesy of gettyimages.com

What Does Personal Branding Mean to Different Generations?

Do you have a personal brand? For most, the answer is yes.

Even if you haven’t made a conscious effort to do so, you developed your brand the moment you stepped online.

Before social media became as ubiquitous as it is today, an individual’s “brand” was largely built around what they were like in person – how they dressed, spoke and behaved.

Today, it is easier than ever to shape a personal brand and carve your digital footprint.

To help us understand what personal branding means to different generations, we looked at some of the attitudes, interests and behaviors of Gen X (aged 36-54), Millennials (aged 22-35), and Gen Z (aged 16-21).

Generation X embrace digital change.

Gen Xers are often thought to be behind the digital curve compared to their younger counterparts. Our research reveals something different.

In fact, this group stays clued into changing digital trends and is more likely to get online via their smartphone than a PC/laptop.

Smartphone ownership is at 95% or more, regardless of age, and more than 4 in 5 Gen Xers use the internet as the first point of call for information.

Millennials feel the pressure of technology.

Interestingly, more Millennials say they don’t understand computers or new technology than Gen Xers.

34% feel that technology makes their lives more complicated.

There’s an internal conflict here for Millennials: while they say technology complicates their lives, 66% are constantly connected.

What’s more, 57% feel more insecure without their mobile phone than their wallet.

This might be a result of the fact that Millennials grew up during a period of rapid technological, economic and societal change.

They’re the generation that created social media, but they also struggle between their desire to be constantly connected and their concerns over the impact technology has on their lives.

Gen Z spend the most time on social media, but older counterparts aren’t far behind.

Over 98% of all generations access social media from any device every month.

Unsurprisingly, as the first generation who grew up as digital natives, Gen Zers spend the most time here, averaging 2 hours 48 minutes on social media on a typical day.

However, Millennials and Gen Xers closely follow, at 2 hours 35 minutes and 2 hours 10 minutes respectively.

The most popular platform for active engagement in the past month is Facebook for Gen Xers and Millennials, while YouTube takes the lead for Gen Zers.

Outside China, Gen Zers are also 52% more likely to engage with Snapchat than the average user.

Gen Z are more image-conscious and care about others’ opinions.

attitudinal segmentation, making them over 10% more likely to fall into this segment than the average user.

This reflects Gen Zers greater interest in subjects relating to their personal image, like fashion and style (34%) compared to other generations.

Millennials and Gen Xers are more interested in professional interests, such as politics, personal finance and investment, and news and current affairs.

Gen Z (42%) is also more swayed by other people’s opinions than Gen X (31%).

Both Millennials and Gen Zers care more about uniqueness and standing out in a crowd than Gen Xers.

Their interests are also reflected in how they present themselves online.

For example, younger generations are more likely to be concerned with how they look online, and use social media to showcase their unique personalities, meticulously curating their personal brand to reflect how they want to be perceived by others.

Their experiences are carefully styled, recorded and shared on social media.

Gen Zers are also more selective about who they share with online by actively engaging with Snapchat and Instagram more than Millennials.

Gen Z and Millennials use social media for entertainment.

Over 55% of Gen Zers and Millennials fall into the segmentation, including those using social media for entertaining content, to consume sports content, or following vloggers.

45% of Gen Z and 42% of Millennials use social media to find funny or entertaining content.

This is compared to 29% of Gen Xers, who are also 20% more likely to advocate a brand if they get access to exclusive content or services.

They’re also more interested in ‘viral’ celebrity culture than other generations and are more likely to follow actors, singers and musicians, vloggers and comedians.

This presents a great opportunity for influencer marketing using the likes of Snapchat or Instagram, providing brands overcome authenticity issues associated with influencers.

Influencer marketing not only provides entertaining and easily-consumed content to a group who are admittedly more easily influenced, it also taps into the community connection they desire.

Over 37% of Gen Z say they would by a product/service simply for the experience of being part of the community built around it.

Gen X are more purpose-driven in their use of social media.

Gen Xers are more purposeful in how they use social media. This is probably because the majority are professionals at the peak of their careers with families, and as a result are more time-restricted.

They use social media most to keep-up-to-date with the news (38%) and search for products to buy (28%).

They also share fewer photos/videos on social media and follow news organizations more than Gen Zers or Millennials.

Falling into the , 30% follow contacts relevant to their work, clearly reflecting what life stage they’re at and the role that social media plays in their professional life.

Gen Xers’ online persona is more profession-driven and pragmatic than other generations.

Unique experiences and love for the brand are important across all ages.

Over 58% of audiences we looked at, regardless of generation, would prefer to spend money on a unique experience than a status brand.

This tells us that offering an exciting and unique experience is something that will engage these audiences.

Across all generations, 30% will engage in advocacy simply for the love of the brand.

Gen X stick to what they know while younger generations want brands to elevate them.

Gen X consumers are in their prime spending years, earning more than their younger counterparts. They’re also more likely to be brand loyal than Gen Zers.

3 in 5 Gen Xers agree that once they find a brand they like, they’ll stick with it.

Reflecting this, Gen Xers are less inclined to try new products and are more risk averse – they like to stick with what they know.

They’re also more likely to find out about brands/products via ads seen on TV and in-store product displays or promotions, compared to the other audiences.

High quality and rewards/discounts are important factors here for brand advocacy. Brands need to take this into account and act quickly if they wish to engage this lucrative audience.

For Gen Zers and Millennials, image plays a key role.

15% of both Millennials and Gen Zers say they would advocate a brand that enhances their online reputation.

17% of Millennials and 21% of Gen Zers also want brands to make them feel cool/trendy. For this reason, influencer marketing and celebrity endorsements remain significant opportunities, in particular for Gen Zers who are 40% more likely to find out about new products and brands via vlogs.

Both appearance and entertainment matters to these cohorts and dictates much of what they do online, so it’s up to brands to leverage this to their advantage.

Online behavior is largely determined by life stage.

Across generations, these consumers all care about how they “look”, but what that “look” is depends on the life stage they’re at.

For example, younger generations are more interested in what makes them cool/trendy while older generations are more practical and family-oriented, not relying so much on social media prestige.

Millennials sit somewhere in between, both age-wise and behavior-wise.

This means brands need to tailor their offering to each audience and not take a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Targeting any generation, it’s important that brands communicate in an authentic and transparent way.

Marketers who can earn the trust of their consumers, understand their needs and values, and fit in with their lifestyles and the image they aspire to will reap the rewards.

The Personal Branding Strategy That Got Me On Par With Top Sales Leaders

personal-brand-sales-pros.jpgWhen I think back to my early days in sales, I owned a consulting firm, and I desperately needed to build a personal brand.

CEB stats show that 77% of B2B buyers said they only speak to a salesperson once they have performed independent research online. In other words, if you don’t have a strong personal brand, you’re not going to win over your buyer.

When it comes to building a personal brand, I’ll be the first to say I failed many times doing it. But finally, after many late nights staring at my computer screen, I finally hit something that worked.

What I recognized was that in every industry, there are rock stars. In the industry I was trying to target, my buyer was the VP of sales, the VP of marketing, and VP of sales enablement or sales operations. I recognized that if I wanted to get the attention of those VPs of sales, marketing, and sales enablement, I needed to align myself with those who already had their attention.

In marketing terms, you would call this, ‘influencer marketing,’ but I want you to forget that. In sales terms, it’s called socially surrounding the ecosystem of your buyer. And sales, rather than marketing, owns the initiative.

This is what I did: I drew a map of the typical VP of sales and/or marketing. To do this, I went into their LinkedIn profiles, I looked on them Twitter, and I started searching who these VPs had tagged in Twitter Lists and who they were following as influencers on LinkedIn.

I found common elements. There was this group of top sales leaders who they all followed: Ken Krouge at InsideSales.com; Trish Bertuzzi, and Jill Konrath. I saw all these sales leaders and I thought to myself, okay, well right now when I call a VP of sales, he or she does not know me. So what I need to do is ensure that I’m grouped in the same conversations as Ken Krouge, Trish Bertuzzi, Jill Konrath, and other kinds of these people.

Next, I began engaging with Ken’s, Trish’s and Jill’s content. I started reading it, started commenting on it, started liking it, started creating my own derivatives of their own contents. I would even do reviews of their content.

Josiane-Feigon.pngThe engagement doesn’t end once I’ve built my own personal brand. To this day I still like, comment and share posts from top sales leaders. 

And what happens is you then get on their radar. Because you’re liking, commenting, sharing, retweeting their information, they start to notice that there is this guy in Toronto, Canada who finds them interesting. What happens is they naturally start taking notice of you, and when you create original ideas or you leave a comment on something they’ve done that is interesting, new, fresh, might engage with you too!

Then, your buyers, the VPs of sales and marketing start noticing that the people who they love, follow, admire and learn from also are also interested in this guy. This guy, Jamie Shanks in Toronto, Canada.

All of the sudden, you start slowly getting lumped into the same conversations as these people. And that’s where, for me, it all began.

Taking Online Value Offline

Of course, the real moment came for me when I attended Josiane Feigon’s session at the AA-ISP Leadership Summit in Dallas, Texas in April 2012. About 10 minutes into Josiane’s session, she asked the audience for specific examples of sales success leveraging social media. I sprung up and said, “We have been helping clients send LinkedIn InMail to prospects with a 12- to 20-percent message-sent-to-new-lead-created ratio.” That moment forever changed my life. After the session, Gary Ambrose and Ken Krouge approached me to exchange business cards. They both asked me to call them to discuss doing a joint webinar and ebook on the topic of LinkedIn. The rest is history.

This ebook was the result of socially surrounding the ecosystem of my buyers, and helped me bring a strong personal brand in the process. Source: InsideSales.com.

So to be clear: you have to rock offline to rock online. And you need the business acumen to back it up. Social allows us get insight into top sales leaders, but offline allows us to truly make an impression.

In my experience, building a personal brand isn’t just about sharing content from industry experts. There’s a million blogs on LinkedIn and Twitter on how to do that. The reality is, if you want to create a real brand, you need to be aligned with the people that already have a brand.

This strategy is no different than when your parents probably used to say, “show me your friends, I’ll show you your future,” and that old adage is so true—especially in the modern sales environment. Because those who you hang out with are those who you become.



5 Simple Inbound Tactics You Need to Use for Personal Branding

For example, let’s say you’re an expert in the latest marketing technologies. You’re always staying in the loop on the latest and greatest tools. When a big martech company unveils a new upgrade to their suite, you can be the go-to expert for your followers and your network. Your audience will want to know your perspective on it. 

Generally speaking, people are far more likely to trust you over what they hear from companies. In fact, Nielsen’s 2012 survey found that 92% of consumers trust earned media, like word of mouth and personal recommendation from other people, more than other forms of advertising. 

To put it simply, your word carries more weight than what brands and organizations say, likely because you’re a real person who prioritizes your audience’s interests and needs over anything else.  

3. It Builds a Valuable Network.

Naturally, the more you engage online and develop your brand, the more people you will meet, both online and in person. Your social connections within your industry are super valuable. 

Your connections can provide you with insights that are outside your realm of expertise and present you with unique opportunities, in terms of your career (e.g. refer you to an employer for your next big step in your career), your current role (e.g. share the content you or your team creates for your organization), and your personal life (e.g. social outings and friendships). 

They can also introduce you to others within their personal networks, so your network can continue growing. 

4. You Will Amplify Content.

When you’re working in marketing, you’re creating and sharing content on behalf of your organization. So as you build your personal brand, you’re earning a lot more followers who you can share your company’s content with. 

This helps expand the reach and boost engagement of your company’s content, which you’re working hard on. In fact, MSLGroup’s infographic presents interesting data: Brand messages reached 561% further when shared by employees, compared to the same messages being shared through brand social channels. 

Using your personal brand to advocate for your organization is great both for your organization and for your credibility. 

But building and maintaining your personal brand isn’t as easy as just sharing your company’s content. You need to brand yourself as an expert in your particular field.

And the best way to do that is by adopting the inbound methodology. You’re solely focusing on educating your followers. You’re not just telling people to trust you; you’re proving that you’re worthy of their trust. 

When you use inbound techniques for your personal branding, you’re establishing yourself as a thought leader and setting yourself up to succeed in inbound cultures within the marketing world. 

Here are some basic inbound marketing practices you need to use for personal branding:

1. Prioritize Authenticity and Being Human

Personal branding is not just about gaining attention. You’re using your brand to educate others and connect with communities within marketing who you can learn from. 

If you’re just sharing content without reading it or commenting on it, you may come off as disingenuous and seem like an automated bot. Take the time to actually read content you’re sharing, and believe in the content you’re creating. Writing a post on LinkedIn just for the sake of creating content is never a good idea. 

Your personal brand messaging needs to be authentic, just as your messaging is when you’re marketing your company’s brand. 

Your company doesn’t just throw out blog articles without any purpose or intent. They’re creating content that educates their buyer personas and adds value to the industry.

The same should go for you and your brand. 

2. Be Consistent In Your Messaging

Just like the content marketing strategy you create and follow for your company, you also need to stay consistent throughout your online presence. Ensure your messaging aligns across all platforms.

For example, if you produce a vlog suggesting that PPC does not deliver enough ROI, then write an article about why paid ads are the best investment marketing teams can make, you’re contradicting yourself.

Your followers will question your position on the topic of PPC and, in turn, wonder if you even stick to your guns on any topic. Failing to deliver a consistent message through all aspects of your personal brand will diminish your credibility and could potentially drive followers away. 

3. Leverage Each Channel

There are so many channels you can use as a marketer, and diversifying your social media marketing strategy is essential in the digital world. The same goes for your personal brand.

Think like a social media marketer — build a personal branding strategy that works with each channel. As you brand yourself, you’ll learn what content does best on each channel.

For example, if you’re writing long form blog articles, share them on Medium or through your LinkedIn profile.

If you build a cool looking infographic, share it on a visual channel, like Instagram. Twitter is great for sharing your original content, like your long form blogs, but you can also engage with other marketers by participating in Twitter chats. There are plenty of companies and marketing professionals who pose questions to a specific hashtag, where others can jump in with answers and spark insightful dialogues. 

4. Establish a Frequency and Stick to It

Imagine if organizations only created blog articles or hosted webinars every now and then. What if they only posted to social media when they felt like it?

Followers would drop off. Audiences would be less engaged and disinterested. Competitors would leave them in the dust. In other words, their marketing strategy would fail them. 

The bulk of success from marketing strategies comes from high value content delivered on a consistent basis.

Your personal branding strategy needs to operate like a content marketing strategy for an organization. Don’t just blog or share when you feel like it.

Inbound marketers understand the value of staying active and consistent in their industry. Your followers will notice how often and when you post and engage, and they’ll start looking forward to hearing from you. So don’t leave them waiting!

5. Join and Engage in Communities

The world of marketing is vast, and it’s continually growing. More and more communities and associations are popping up, so there are plenty of places where you can engage with other enthusiastic marketers. 

You can join professional associations, attend networking events, and jump in on conversations in LinkedIn groups. No matter where your community resides, whether online or in person, you should strive to stay active. 

Ask questions, deliver answers, and follow up on ongoing conversations. This is what makes marketing so unique — most marketers are so passionate and excited to support one another.

The more you engage, the more you (and your brand) stay top of mind with others. 

These five simple marketing techniques all fit into the attract, engage, and delight stages of the inbound methodology. When you go inbound with your brand, you’re building a strong, credible reputation.

Marketing is a competitive industry, which is why personal branding is essential for every marketing professional.

There are four major benefits to building and maintaining an active personal brand:

When you’re building your online presence, you’re likely focused on sharing and commenting on content from the industry’s top thought leaders. As you continually engage through your social media, like posting in LinkedIn groups, you’re showcasing your expertise and knowledge.

Not only will this boost your number of followers, but it will also demonstrate that you are a credible source of marketing insights. You become an authority in your space.

Another byproduct of establishing your authority and developing a credible voice — you gain the trust of others in your space. 



Deal Of The Week: Brand Yourself With A Corporate Logo — For Free!

Deal Of The Week: Brand Yourself With A Corporate Logo — For Free!

Where’s the beef?

AFP Contributor / Getty

If you’re a masochist or a Millennial, has Arby’s got a deal for you. Visit Port City Tattoo in Long Beach, California, on Saturday, and you can get the fast food chain’s corporate logo tattooed on your body for free. For those who have long desired to mutilate their bodies with a cartoon beef and cheddar sandwich but have been reluctant to pay for the privilege, your lucky day is at hand. Arby’s is billing the promotion as an opportunity to have a “sandwich for life,” albeit in the form of ink on your skin. The gimmick follows a similar marketing stunt by Domino’s Pizza in Russia earlier this month, in which the pizza chain offered lifelong free pizza to anyone who tattooed the company’s logo on his body. While the company intended to run the promotion for two months, it had to end the deal after just a few days for fear of going out of business.

“More than a million people would have come to demand pizzas,” explained 24-year-old Natalia Koshkina. “After all, this is Russia.” To permanently brand one’s body with a corporate logo in exchange for free cheap pizza requires something of a nihilistic worldview, but the prevalence of such nihilism does not surprise in a country renowned for its various suicidegames.

The nihilistic advert offer has now reached Western shores, and a 2017 study from Pew Research Center suggests it may find takers. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, tattoos and piercings among teenagers and young adults are more popular than ever, with 38% of Americans between the age of 18 and 29 sporting ink. Tattoos have traditionally remained confined to the domain of warriors and criminals, which violent trades demand brutality, for good and bad respectively. In recent years, tattoos have gained cultural acceptance in even more genteel realms, where typically they commemorate a meaningful event or relationship in one’s life.

But what of tattoos that denote nothing special at all, for apparently no reason? I recently met a Millennial retail worker who had tattooed the phrase, “sh** cray,” in cursive on his index finger. Another coeval acquaintance recently tattooed citrus fruit over his joints. Yet another has inked random geometric shapes all down her arm. The Russians traded their flesh for pizza; a growing group of Americans respects their bodies even less. The Long Beach tattoo stunt is a marketing gimmick, but like its pizza counterpart in Russia, Arby’s may attract more senselessly ink-eager Millennials than it bargained for. Looking around the culture, who can help but ask, “Where’s the beef?”