The term “personal brand” certainly has many definitions. And every marketer has a different perspective on what building a personal brand should look like. While some define it as the way you promote yourself, others describe it as a combination of a person’s interests, beliefs, and skills.
But one thing is certain — a personal brand is about who we are and how we manage ourselves in front of people. Building a personal brand is often associated with a social media presence and many question whether it can help us achieve our goals or make it more difficult.
In this episode of Rep Your Brand, Nick Bennett welcomes Amanda Natividad, the Marketing Architect at SparkToro. Amanda is known for her interesting Twitter threads and has a unique perspective on the concept of personal branding. Nick and Amanda get into personal branding, how it is connected with reputation, what people don’t like about it, and how our presence on social channels can encourage or discourage employers from hiring us.
“If you are consciously thinking about your personal brand, it’s helpful to have one North Star in mind.”
Some People Don’t Like the Term Personal Brand
“I don’t know if anyone likes the term personal brand. I don’t really like it, but I admit to it. But I think people generally don’t like the term because it sounds disingenuous and icky. I think talking about your personal brand is essentially saying that you care what other people think about you and your whole life. We’re told that you’re not supposed to care what other people think. But acknowledging the existence of your personal brand is admitting that you care what others think about you and that you find ways to manage those expectations at scale.
I don’t walk around my house tweeting and saying to my family, ‘Hold on, I’m adding to my personal brand.’ I’m aware of it, but it’s not something I forthcomingly talk about. Because at the end of the day, I’m just being myself.”
Does Personal Brand Equal Reputation?
“You can have a terrible reputation and a strong personal brand. You can have a weak personal brand and have a strong reputation in your community because, ultimately, your reputation is your standing with others. So, it’s impacted by the way you treat people, who you are on a one-on-one or personal level, and the personal brand piece is just what you project outwards.”
Focus on Making Genuine Connections with People
“My goal became, ‘How can I never have to do a traditional job hunt again?’ And I encourage people to consider that as their goal. If you think about how you can avoid the traditional job hunt, you can start to think about things like, ‘How can I better connect with people? How can I find more people in my professional network? How can I learn from my industry peers or industry heroes? How can I find a way to meet these people at scale?’
Those are all things that are related to work, but it doesn’t mean that you have to only think about work because when you’re trying to network with people […], you’re trying to make genuine connections with people. You’re trying to kindle some kind of friendship. When you’re trying to make meaningful connections with people, you are thinking about the whole person. You are thinking about their profession, but you’re also thinking about how they treat others, what interests you have in common, and stuff like that.
If I want to avoid a traditional job hunt, what can I share about my experience and my expertise? […] What I do is share the things that I’ve learned throughout my career. Hopefully, other people can learn from it, whether or not they are new to marketing. Or people who are marketing experts can still see it and go like, ‘Oh, that’s an interesting perspective,’ or ‘That’s a fresh perspective that I haven’t seen before.'”
If You’re Being Purposeful About What You Say, You Can Be Purposeful About What You Attract
“When you’re purposeful about what you say, what you write, and what you put out there, you are essentially creating a magnet for yourself. You’re creating a magnet to attract the people who are looking for that content. If you’re being purposeful about what you say, then you can be purposeful about what you attract.
I wrote a blog post on it [how to do effective cold outreach]. It took off, a lot of people have read it, and hopefully, it has helped them. […] The flip side of this is that a lot of people started reaching out to me to ask for cold outreach advice that was veering into conversations I didn’t feel like having. I didn’t want to do cold outreach for other people. I didn’t write this in hopes of getting hired as a cold outreach consultant. But that’s a good example of you attracting what you put out there.”
The Biggest Mistake Marketers Make — Talking Only About Marketing
“A mistake that a lot of marketers make is that they think they have to only talk about marketing. And I think there’s a way you can balance that nine-to-five content with five-to-nine content that makes you a whole person at work. I think that when most marketers are thinking about growing a personal brand online, they think about, ‘Oh, I have to only talk about marketing,’ which I don’t think you do. I think you can talk about marketing 80% of the time so that people at least know why they would follow you or what you do. 20% of the time, it can be the five-to-nine stuff. And I think people feel like they have to choose one or the other when I truly think you can have both, and you should have both.”