You’ve aced your education and optimized your services. Now it’s time to rev up your career to prime level. Here’s how to fine-tune your personal branding strategy.
Lead a real discussion
Make sure that your brand conveys who you are and speaks volumes about your core values. Marika D’Auteuil, a Montreal-based makeup artist who has been harnessing the power of social media for over a decade—she was an avid user of Myspace back in the day and a very early adopter of Facebook and now can be found on Instagram @LaPetiteVengeance—credits her popularity to the online profile she created. “Showing your work is great, but you have to let your fans and followers into your life to create a sense of proximity,” she explains. “That’s what creating a vibrant and dynamic conversation is about.”
Palma N’Sheluvzit, owner of The Hair Spot in Toronto and winner of the Contessa 23 Avant Garde Hairstylist, always speaks her mind. “Someone once told me I was raw, so if you come and see me in the salon I’ll say it like it is. Showing you who I am doesn’t scare me. Who you see on Instagram is who I am,” she shares.
Get out there
We live in the era of reality television—just think of the Kardashians. The most successful YouTube users—some who are raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year—have been busy posting precious pixels of their lives every single day for years.
“You don’t have a choice: You have to fine-tune your image and get out there if you want to get noticed,” says D’Auteuil. However, that doesn’t mean anything goes. Both she and N’Sheluvzit agree that you have to carefully edit what you post. It’s about being the curator of your personal story—one that will establish and make your brand relevant to your target market. For example, N’Sheluvzit steers clear of personal information. “I don’t publish family pictures because that’s really not what my brand as a hairstylist is about,” she says of her Instagram account @Palma4Hair.
This is also where online etiquette steps in. You would never bombard your clients with phone calls and emails about booking their next appointment, in a similar way over-posting definitely has a negative impact. You become an irritant and people just stop following you.
“I never post [on any social media outlet] more than four times a day,” says D’Auteuil. That being said, people also crave an authentic connection. According to N’Sheluvzit, “Our industry is a lot about smoke and mirrors, and my job is to make people feel beautiful every day, so I personalize what I say a lot more. In the end, it’s you who your clients want to connect with, whether that happens when you do their hair in the salon or if they follow you online.”
Strike a balance
What does success mean to you? Is it generating more revenue, building a strong contingent of followers or creating new business opportunities? First and foremost, you need to be honest with yourself to find out what you are hoping to achieve with your brand. And don’t forget to measure your satisfaction, too. That means really loving the brand you’re building or you aren’t going to do it the right way. According to Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, “You don’t need thousands of followers to make an impact on social media. But you absolutely need to be authentic in the way you are presenting yourself—that speaks volumes.”
Presenting herself in an authentic way is a part of N’Sheluzvit’s brand focus. As she says, “I don’t measure my level of success by how many followers I have. I measure how what I do impacts the people around me and who really wants to connect with me as a person.”
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