Why It’s So Important to Brand Yourself Online
In this video, I’ll share with you why it’s so important to brand yourself both personally and visually on the internet. I’ll also give you some pointers on how to do it properly. If you’re someone who is trying to make a living via the internet, then this video is for you.
As a creative who is trying to promote themselves, there are two types of branding that you are going to have to deal with. The first is personal branding and the second is visual branding.
Personal Branding in a Nutshell
When it comes to defining your personal brand there are a lot of different factors that come into play. Stuff like your appearance and how you present yourself. Are you clean cut, or a little rough around the edges? Another factor would be your attitude and how other people perceive you. Do you come across as being very forward and aggressive, or are you more of the shy type who’s laid back? What’s your work ethic like? Do people see you as resourceful and outgoing or are you more of the lazy and unproductive type? And a big one will be, are you accessible to your audience? Or are you the type of person who’ll shy away from any type of social interaction?
Personal branding, in a nutshell, is how the world sees you as a person. It’s your personality. And the good news is, there is no such thing as a bad personal brand. Every personality type has an audience. Some people have a kind disposition, while others have a cruel one. Some of you may be introverts, while others will be extroverts. And some folks make decisions purely on intuition, while others analyze the crap out of everything.
What I’m trying to say, is that there is a very wide spectrum of personalities to chose from when it comes to personal branding. And once you start putting yourself out there to the public, your audience will eventually find you. As a creative person, the only thing you really need to do when it comes to personal branding, is just be yourself.
So now that we know you have this incredible personality, how to we help people find you? Well, that’s where visual branding comes in. Your visual brand is how people recognize you all across the internet. See the way it works is, your visual brand will bring your audience to you and your personal brand (if they like you) will keep them coming back.
It all Starts with Visual Branding
So how do we make sure people recognize your work whenever they see it on the internet? Well, it starts by having a cohesive look across all social media platforms. Most of the platforms you’ll be dealing with as a creative, whether it be for selling or promoting, will require you to upload some sort of banner … so let’s start there.
The first thing you need to figure out is how you want to present yourself to the public. There are a few options to choose from. You can use your legal name, like I am. Or you can make one up, like a nickname, kind of how some authors use a pen name. Or you can make up a company name, to give the illusion that you’re more than just one person. It’s entirely up to you.
Now keep in mind that most of the stuff that I’ll be teaching you on this channel won’t require you to register a business name or open a business checking account or even to get a business license. You don’t need a business license to operate a YouTube channel, to have a website, to open an online storefront or to promote yourself on social media. All of the products that I’ll be selling on this channel will be produced using print on demand companies. The print on Demand Companies, are the ones that are producing and shipping the finished product, so they are the ones who charge sales tax. I’m simply an artist who they’re paying a royalty to for using my designs.
Now if you are selling your own custom made products on a site like Etsy, the rules may be different. Someone always has to be collecting sales tax and you may need a business license to do that, so check with an accountant or an attorney (because I am neither of those) just to make sure you’re doing everything by the book. That being said, let’s move on.
Your Elevator Pitch
And once you’ve decided on a name, it’s now time to tell the world what you are about, in one sentence … or less. Just think of this as your elevator pitch. You have to let the world know exactly what you’re about in one sentence. And it has to be a sentence that is short enough to fit on your banner.
When people land on any of your social media pages, it’s important that they’re able to determine exactly what you are about … immediately. Your last post or upload may not be indicative of what your channel is all about. You could have a YouTube channel that’s all about building monster trucks. But the last video you uploaded was of you dressing up like Barney the dinosaur for your 4 year old daughter’s birthday party. Now these big burly mechanics are going to see that video and say,” Yeah this channel ain’t for me”. But if you had a tag line on your banner that said “I build badass monster trucks”, they’d probably take a little time to delve further into your playlists. This tagline is extremely important, so don’t rush it … take your time and get it right.
So now that you have your name and your tagline picked out, it’s always a good idea to let your audience know how often you’ll be posting. No one wants to subscribe to a YouTube channel or social media account that only posts once a year. Especially when you are just starting out (like myself), it’s important to let your audience know that there will be more posts coming on a regular basis. So put something on your banner like “new videos weekly”. If you’re like me and you’re not sure you can commit to weekly video uploads, then say something like “Regular Video Updates”.
As long as you’re posting at least a couple times per month to start, you should be fine.
So now that you’ve got all of the information you need on your banner, let’s start talking about design. First of all, choose a background image that pertains to your hobby. Pick a photo or illustration that suites your hobby best. My channel is about drawing, so a cute cartoon illustration as my banner background, works nicely. But if my channel was about giving legal advice to accident victims, this image won’t be the best choice. And make sure that your background image doesn’t over power the text on your banner. The text needs to be legible sitting on top of whatever image you chose, so make sure there is a good contrast between them. And make sure to use a font that’s easy to read.
When it comes to picking colors for your banner, don’t use more than two or three and make sure they’re complimentary colors that work well together. You’re going to be using these colors on promotional materials, like your video thumbnails. So make sure that they are colors you like, you don’t want to be getting sick of your visual branding after the first few months.
Although the banners on each of your social media sites don’t necessarily have to be identical, they should be very similar to maintain consistency. If you’re not a designer, this is one of those times when it may be a good idea to hire a designer to create your banners for you. These banners will be how people identify your all over the internet. You want a good design, so it may not be a bad idea to spend a few bucks and get them done right. Once again Fiver would be a great place to look for a designer, I’ll put a link to it in the description below.
Choose a Memorable Avatar
While we’re still on the topic of design, let’s talk about your avatar or icon. Some social media websites, like Instagram and Pinterest, don’t have banner options on their account pages. So all you’ll have to visually brand yourself with is an icon. So it’s important that your icon be consistent across all social media platforms.
If you want to use your face for your icon, you certainly can. Just make sure that you use the same image across all social media platforms. I personally use a logo, so that I can put that logo on all of my products. It’s just one more way for people to identify my work. And the cool thing about a logo is, if you start getting popular, you can always trademark it for around $800.
I don’t recommend using generic images as your icon, like your favorite movie or cartoon characters. Those images are the intellectual property of someone else, so don’t try to brand yourself with them … because legally, you can’t. Also keep in mind that whatever icon design you decide on, to make sure it looks good and is legible at all different sizes. Remember most of the interaction with you content will happen in the general search stream of whatever platform the viewer is on. And a lot of people use their phones for viewing social media, so your icon is going to be really, really tiny. Make sure you choose a design that’s still legible at those small sizes.
Now as far as your personal and visual branding go, that’s pretty much all you’ll need to do to get started. But if you watch the video, I’ll give you a personal example of how visual branding, netted me a nice little profit.
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