Having a large number of followers is a normal expectations when you’re building an audience around your personal brand. However, that shouldn’t be the starting point of your strategy.
One of the first steps when defining your personal brand is figuring out who your audience is. If you’re a consultant, you’re looking for corporate clients. If you’re a coach, you’re looking for clients as well. Your target audience is made up of all the people who you want to associate with, whether they end up being your clients, they recommend your business or simply connect with you to discuss common subjects.
This community that you’re building is made up of different people with different goals. Once you’ve identified the main groups that will be forming within the community, you can learn more about them and engage with them by offering valuable content.
Define what his community looks like and how you want it to function:
- What people do you want to attract?
- How do you want these people to find you?
- What are their goals, their challenges?
- What will they find within this community to help them achieve those goals or surmount those challenges?
- What makes you uniquely qualified to help these people?
- How will they interact with you or amongst themselves in this community?
The list is not exhaustive. You can continue this exercise until you’re able to describe the image in your head down to every detail to someone who asks “What is your community like?”.
Let's look at the three main steps you can take to define and build an audience around your personal brand:
1. Attracting potential clients
First and foremost, you’ll want to attract the people who you want to conduct business with. Like any marketing strategy, this will require a good market research and an acquisition plan. Build a persona of your ideal client and create a detailed profile of who they are and why they would need you.
Think which tactics and channels would be best suited to attract these potential clients and what the entry point in your community is. Once you have them there, create and deliver valuable content tailored to their needs and desires. Use that content to engage them and recommend yourself as a great business partner that can help them get there faster.
2. Getting supporters
Not all of the people who admire your ideas or share your content will become clients. A great number of them will be fans or supporters without having any real need for your services. These people, however, are a great way to get recommendations and to have your content shared with other potential clients who have not yet heard of you.
People working in the same industry as you or who are interested in the same things will be interested to read your blog or any of your guest articles in industry publications. Make sure to share these in your online community of followers.
They will also connect with you on social media so make sure you’re present on the channels that they use most frequently and that you’re constantly posting and sharing good content.
3. Scaling your audience
Now is the time to talk numbers. Once you’ve figured out what works best for you in terms of tactics, channels or type of content, you can scale your efforts to increase your audience.
To get here, you’ll need to run many experiments and figure out how to grow organically. Artificial growth with the wrong base audience can mean no leads, and therefore no clients. Even your supporters might not be sticking around for too long if they were in the wrong target to begin with.
Document your experiments and make sure you have reached your personas before investing in a scaling strategy. Once your audience is growing organically at a steady rate, invest in what works to attract more people to your community. Invest double the time and money you spent on creating your content to promote it. Otherwise you’ll have some great content that people won’t get to read because of all the other great articles people are publishing every second of every day.
The right audience for your personal brand takes time and effort to determine. Once you have defined it correctly, you’ll need to test different channels and strategies to find out what works best.
Then, with the right content and the right investment in engaging your audience, you’ll be able to get new clients and supporters that will recommend you.
Don’t rush into getting everyone to like you and join your community. It’s better to spend more time in the research and testing phase than to invest straight ahead on a hunch and fail to see any results.