The thought of putting yourself out there for the whole world to see is daunting for most people. For the introvert, it can feel super overwhelming. Luckily, it’s actually not as tricky as you’d think… There are heaps of ways to build your personal brand using digital marketing techniques without having to step too far out of your digital comfort zone.
So, what are you waiting for! Open your Insta in a new tab and follow my handy guide below…
What is a Personal Brand?
Gone are the days where branding was just for companies or influencers. Thanks to our increasingly digital world, it’s something we all can do on Instagram (and really should be doing).
Essentially, your personal brand is the way you market yourself on social media! Typically, your goal is to promote yourself (including a business or hobby) and show the world your very best qualities. Over time, you’ll start to build a reputation based on the qualities you are projecting.
It’s kind of like being an influencer, except you aren’t leveraging this reputation to work with others, it’s purely for you!
Check out the accounts below to get a vibe for what a personal brand might be like…
How do I Curate my Image?
All good personal brands have a goal. Maybe you’re an up and coming fashion designer who wants to share your designs with the world via Instagram? Perhaps you’re a life coach who wants to share some motivational quotes and get some new bookings?
Ultimately, when you’re deciding on what direction you want to take your brand, you need to keep in mind that it has to be a sustainable direction (you need to be able to keep it up), and it needs to be a direction you are comfortable with. This can be the trickiest bit for introverts.
When you’re thinking about this, it really helps to be super self-aware. Part of this is knowing what kind of introvert you are.
The Four Types of Introverts
According to research by psychologist guru Jonathan Cheek, there are four main types of introverts! If you’re not sure what category you might fall into, try taking a quick online quiz like this one from Buzzfeed (confession: I got social introversion!!).
- Social introverts prefer to stick with a close group of friends rather than with the masses. They arenÕt necessarily anxious or shy, it’s just a preference!
- Thinking introverts are super deep and like to have alone time to dream and imagine. They’re very introspective and thoughtful.
- Anxious introverts are more socially awkward or self-conscious around others. They spend a lot of time thinking about the past.
- Reserved introverts like to take their time before making decisions or acting. This might come across as shyness, but in reality, they are just super thoughtful.
Now that you’re armed with this information, you might be wondering: how do I get started?
My Answer: Use digital marketing to work with your introversion, not against it.
Digital Marketing for Every Type of Introvert
You might have a good idea of what you stand for and how you want to market yourself, but the best way to get there is really to get comfortable with digital marketing techniques. By following these simple steps, you can develop an authentic personal brand.
Optimize your Profile
First things first, you’ll want your profile to be discovered EASILY. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to post a lot or message all sorts of people (talk about draining); it just means you need to understand Instagram SEO (search engine optimization).
Recently Instagram launched a new keyword search feature rather than just the typical hashtag search. This has opened a whole new dimension to gaining traction and expanding your reach. Gone are the days where your success rode on a hashtag. Now, it’s all about using #keywords in your captions and bio to make sure you’re at the top of everyone’s searches.
The best way to do this is to have a think about what your brand is all about. By doing this, we can significantly reduce the volume of posts and focus on optimizing them instead. Over time, you’ll be able to expand the reach of your personal brand to more people to help grow your network.
Take a look at how well @HungryWonderBae’s bio incorporates keywords important to her brand. Phrases like “food blogger”, “sweet tooth” and “matcha love” all project her love of food to the world and make it easier for other foodies to find her on Insta.
So, make sure your bio has vital information about you so that people interested in your brand can find you easily!
For example, try including your location, job title and some buzzwords that describe your brand. If you wanna know what people are talking about, try using Google trends! While it doesn’t show what is being searched in Instagram specifically, it can give you some general ideas of what to include.
Build a Content Strategy
One thing ALL introverts have in common is that we aren’t that keen on putting ourselves out there all of the time. It could just be that you get a bit of posting anxiety when you’re posting yourself or things you’ve made, or it could be that you just find it draining having to produce content. This is where having a solid digital content strategy can help us out.
A huge part of digital marketing is deciding how to convey your message or brand in the most effective way possible. Often, this is done through different types of content, i.e. repurposed content, curated content, user-generated content and created content.
For the introvert, constantly supply ‘created’ content can be draining and not a good time. So, consider trying out some different content styles.
One of the best #LifeHacks for introverts is curated content. With curated content, the work has already been done for you! All you have to do with this kind of content is re-share other people’s posts, blogs or videos on your page. The huge benefit of this is that it saves you a lot of time and stress yet still allows you to interact with your audience and make a statement.
Check out how @SarahRav showed her audience her values by re-sharing a post by @TheOpenInvite, a Self Love account. In one simple post, we can see that Sarah values empowerment, self-love and supporting others’ journeys.
Overall, focus your strategy on doing what introverts do best: being authentic!
Engage your Connections
The third key step is expanding your reach and developing meaningful connections with your followers. Luckily, steps 1 and 2 would have helped you set the groundwork by helping people find your brand and delivering content that speaks to them. Now, it’s a matter of focusing on maintenance and growth.
Community management is super relevant in this stage. Community management is the art of taking care of your follower base. and believe it or not, often the most successful community managers are introverts! Why? We tend to be more sensitive than other people and are excellent listeners. This can mean we are more attentive to and in-tune with the conversations and thoughts of our followers.
To perfect the art of community management and to gain those meaningful connections you crave, all you really need to do is listen and join the conversation! Replying to comments, tagging followers in posts and replying to DMs are great ways to build a community around your brand and to show members that you care about them.
Just take a look at the comment section on @HikesAustralia’s Instagram. She replies to every comment and engages directly with her followers. These simple things can go a long way.
If you’re finding that constantly staying on top of your page is giving you burn-out, there is absolutely 0 shame in allocating a certain amount of time for it each day (we can’t all LOVE socializing 24/7). Once your ‘gram’ time is up, log out and take a break!
By doing this, you can separate YOU time from your BRAND time.
Watch and Review
Your final step in this personal branding journey is to monitor your page. This is where introverts THRIVE because it gives us a chance to reflect and see if we are getting what we want out of our Instagram.
To help track your progress, it’s good to get familiar with some of the key insights Instagram provides you (see below) and monitor the ones relevant to your brand and the goals you’ve set for it.
If your goal is growing and expanding, some of the main ‘insights’ you’ll want to look at include a growing follower count, increased reach and increased likes.
Alternatively, if you’re focused on providing value for your audience, you might want to look at the number of shares, saves or comments received by your posts as this indicates people are engaging with it.
These tend to be the main goals and insights that Instagrammers monitor, but there are heaps of other KPIs you can set and monitor (check out AmpJar’s list).
Overall, if things aren’t going as well as you hoped, ask yourself why? Conversely, if things are going really well, see how you can keep up the momentum.
Ultimately, try out different strategies and see what works for YOU and your brand. It might be scary at first, but use these introvert specific tips and trust in the process! Great things take time, and I’m confident that if you put in the work, you’ll have a thriving personal brand in no time!