As humans we crave connection. Accelerated by the pandemic, more than ever we’re seeking to interact, learn, connect and buy from people. Real faces. Real voices. Real relationships we can trust in unsure times. 

As a result, building personal brands (or empowering your employees to do so) is making a lot more business sense than ever before.

But how can it be done in a way that helps you – the individual – and your business to thrive? 

Today I’m sharing three learnings from my journey to support you to show up with more bravery, and authenticity, on yours

1. Create your goals and boundaries

Social media is addictive because it’s meant to be. Designed to give you the dopamine hit that your brain craves, it keeps you coming back for more.

When I started building a personal brand online, at times I felt like I was in a race I didn’t realise I’d entered. 

Likes. Followers. Comments.

There wasn’t a destination in sight. As a result I felt myself caught up in the rush. Posting just to keep up – and sometimes losing my voice along the way.

By shifting to setting clear goals, or milestones, and boundaries, I was able to stay much more grounded and true to myself. This meant when I did show up, it was reflective of who I was, not who I thought I should be. 

To realign with your purpose for being on social you can start with these questions:

  • What’s the goal for you? 
  • Why does it matter?
  • When will you choose to engage?
  • What times will you choose to protect?

Once you have clear intentions and boundaries, build in accountability to stick to them. Deleting apps off your phone or communicating your goals to your partner can really help when seeking to create or change your social media habits. 

2. Own your story

Something that often comes up for people who are looking to navigate the personal and professional line of having an online presence, is how much of their personal stories they should share. 

There are myths that you have to always be vulnerable on social media to make an impact or be heard. 

Whilst storytelling can be an amazing tool for cutting through the noise and connecting with people, the key to using story is allowing people to find emotions in your story that they connect with.

This may involve you sharing things that feel a little personal. But can choose which parts you want to share. The important thing to remember is that sharing your story on social media is not for your benefit.

It is for your audience to feel connected to you. 

Perhaps for them to be encouraged or inspired. 

Allowing yourself to be seen can feel strange. But often the way we feel is far more exaggerated in our brain than how it is received.  

I’ve found the braver I’ve been about sharing my story and who I am, the more I’ve been able to help people who are afraid to share theirs.

But it’s ok to start small. Begin by sharing something that feels a little more than perhaps you might naturally feel comfortable with. Then allow your confidence to build in sharing other parts of your story as you feel able to own them. 

Always share your story in the context of when it makes sense for your audience to read it.

3. Clarify your message

Most people who run their own, or lead, purpose-driven businesses have a deep motivation for doing what they do. They want to make a difference and have a message to share.

Sharing your message online is a powerful way to reach people with it. 

But when you start to show up online as the face of your business, sometimes the collision of the different parts of your identity can be uncomfortable.

For me there was a stage in my business where I felt conflicted as I struggled to align my voice and identity; I was ‘creative and a bit woo’ business owner in one corner, professional brand consultant in another and fun mum in another.

I felt like I was having an identity crisis – and many people I help who are starting to get visible online feel the same.

But I found there was a consistent thread that ran through it all. When I looked at all expressions of who I was and what I stood for, my purpose and message had always been about enabling people to be more fully expressed in their difference and who they are, so that they could create more beauty, colour and impact in the world.

And there will be a message that unites all parts of you too.

Allowing yourself to explore and create this one cohesive message can be incredibly powerful and will support you to feel confident in showing up authentically and consistently as you – wherever you choose to do so. 

You are not a collection of separate people – so your online presence doesn’t need to be either.

The world needs your skills and the difference you, and your business, is here to make.

But building a strong online presence that supports you in that mission, is not just about showing up in the right places or with the right message for your business.

I believe it’s about creating intentional presence, owning your story and allowing your voice to truly reflect all of you.