Let’s face it: if you are an entrepreneur you are going to be the face of your business. Don’t even consider going to the business brand route— if you’ve read any of my blogs then you’ll know that personal branding for entrepreneurs is going to lead to success in a way that business branding simply can’t.
The trick when it comes to building your entrepreneurial brand is creativity. There are hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs, and each of them is looking for ways to stand out in their industry.
Sure, you can build your social media marketing, paid ads, blogs, and email newsletters. But what is all of that really worth if you can’t create a unique enough voice to make people stop and listen?
There’s a way to do it, trust me. You just have to get creative.
If you’re more of a left-brain person and the idea of having to think outside of the box makes you sweat, don’t worry! I have a strategic approach to creative personal branding that will appease your analytical mind. In fact, that’s what successful personal brands are all about— finding innovative, yet methodological routes to elevate their business.
And that’s exactly what I know how to teach you! Here are 10 tips for creative branding for entrepreneurs.
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In case you don’t know it by now, a personal brand is based around your unique experiences. What you want to do is show people (don’t just tell) those experiences.
First and foremost, you want to be able to layout your past experiences in some way that speaks to your ideal audience. Whether that’s through blogs, videos, or Instagram captions is up to you.
However, it’s not just about your past experiences. You want to bring people along on your journey with you. A great way to do this is by showing behind the scenes content. I personally utilize Instagram stories for this portion. And those who have been following me for a while have heard some of my backstories by reading my blog or they’ve heard my thought process through my YouTube videos.
In fact, in last week’s blog, I really opened up about how stressful it was to take my personal brand platform from a lifestyle content to branding for entrepreneurs. I was extremely worried about fallback, especially since I started my business nearly 5 years ago. The reason I include these small anecdotes in my content is so that I can connect with my audience. And that should include hardships as well as success.
Showing your business process is also a fun way to create that experience. If you have a big event or product release coming up, you should be on social media every day showing your audience your process and building the hype. People love a good success story.
So, what do I mean by “binge-worthy?”
Let’s say it’s Sunday night and you’re watching your favorite TV show. You know you have to get up early for work, but one more won’t hurt, right? You’re already immersed in the story and you just want to keep going to see what happens next, hence the term binge-watching.
That’s exactly the reaction you want to elicit from your audience with your content.
You can do that by creating content that correlates with one another. That means developing step-by-step strategies that your audience needs to come back to in order to learn the next step.
For instance, let’s say you want to create YouTube videos on how to market a book. Your first video might be on gathering beta readers (the first step), the next video might be on how to hire a book designer (the second step), and the last video might be on how to run paid ads for your upcoming book release (the final step). Your audience will have to do each of these steps, and because you have created a path for them to follow, they won’t need to go to anyone else for the next step.
This is a seamless strategy that keeps your audience coming back for more, all while establishing your brand as an authoritative source.
When I teach branding for entrepreneurs in my FREE 5 Day Personal Branding Masterclass, I make a point to learn who my new members are. I do this by following them on social media, responding to their questions, or by creating call-to-action posts in the group so that they feel comfortable asking questions.
A part of your job as a business owner is to learn who is in your community. Just like a restaurant manager might do a couple of rounds to greet customer tables, you need to touch base with your community if you want them to stick around.
This is not just a one and done project, either. Cultivating a community around your personal brand puts you as the leader of that community. Whether that’s online or with your employees doesn’t make a difference. You need to be socializing with them on both a personal and professional level.
A fun way to show your community appreciation is by sharing others in your social media or blog. Utilize that #womancrushwednesday hashtag and promote your favorite colleagues. Or take some time once a month to share the success that your clients have had through your training or service.
I know I make social media seem like the end all be all for successful branding for entrepreneurs, but don’t get complacent on just working on your social media.
There are a ton of outside factors (some you may not even think about) that reflect your personal brand.
How you dress at networking events or company meetings should be a huge part of developing your personal brand. Anyone who has read through my blogs knows that I am all about building your work wardrobe alongside your brand.
A creative way that you can get people to remember you is to develop a kind of “uniform” for these events. Are you always dressed to the nines or in some easily identifiable garment? Find an outfit that flatters you and makes you stand out from the crowd at those large networking events. And while you’re at it, make sure your business card speaks to your ideal client since you will need to bring them to these outings.
You should also primarily focus your attention on your own website and email lists… not social media. Find a way to bring your audience directly to you and the platform that you own.
You can do this by having fun quizzes on your website, freemium devices for email signups, or that binge-worthy blog content we talked about before.
RELATED: What Is Social Media Branding?
To be clear, I’m not saying to go out there and post something controversial or do something outrageous. You can do what it takes to stand out without becoming a menace (on the internet or in real life).
What you want to focus on is what your business does that no other company is doing— at least, not in the creative way that you’ve imagined. This is a great time to dig deep and evaluate your brand mission statement, ideal client, and your overall goals.
You need to be asking yourself these questions: What is it going to take to get you to reach your goals? What is it going to take to get your ideal client to notice you?
You can start with simple things, like utilizing fonts and colors that aren’t used often in your industry. For example, many marketing and brand influencers in my industry use light pink for their branding, so I chose a dark purple.
Overall, you just want to make sure that you are putting yourself out there every single day. This can be a hard pill to swallow for some entrepreneurs, particularly the ones who are already on the fence about having a personal brand. But you’re unedited lifestyle and insight into your business is exactly what it takes to make you rise above the noise.
Tangible paraphernalia still has its place in modern branding for entrepreneurs. As I said, you want to have business cards handy for networking events. However, you want to make sure these bits of paper stand out.
“Creative personal branding defines your story.”
I don’t know about you, but I rarely hold on to business cards, flyers, or paper brochures for very long— no matter how interested in the product or service I may be.
Besides having an aesthetically purposeful layout for these physical branding bites, you want them to have a call to action as well. Use these devices to get people to follow you on social media or to join your mailing list. Your mailing list, in particular, should call for a discount or free offer. Give your ideal customer 10% a product or a free eBook with valuable information.
If there is one method of content production that will help build your personal brand, it’s video. This is the essence of contemporary marketing and you needed to start using it yesterday.
YouTube, of course, is a great avenue to publish your videos. You just need to decide if you want to be a vlogger, an educational guru, an inspirational influencer, etc. Like those TV shows you watch, you want to create a cohesive feel to your YouTube videos (and make it binge-worthy) so that people can feel at home when come back to watch your videos.
YouTube is a ton of work so that you can start smaller. I don’t particularly understand Tik Tok, but if your clientele is under the age of 25, you need to be on this video platform.
For everyone else just getting into video, IGTV is a great beginner’s studio. I post IGTV videos once a week. They will either be clips from longer YouTube segments, or I will literally just get on there and deliver somewhat off-the-cuff advice on personal branding.
As for Facebook, Twitter, and even emails: yes, you should use video on all of these platforms, too.
There isn’t a niche or industry that can’t turn around and offer educational advice to its community. Whether you’re an author, an actor, or a CEO of a tech company, there’s always something to give back to your audience.
Creating a course or some type of masterclass isn’t necessarily a new strategy for boosting your brand, but it’s rarely successful. In order for this to work, you need to have all other aspects of your personal brand in place: a social community, a website, an email list, and proof that your advice actually works.
I have a Personal Branding Masterclass that teaches entrepreneurs how to leverage their unique voice and expertise. It’s designed to make anyone stand out in their market and have desired clients coming directly to them.
Would I have offered this at the very beginning of my journey? Probably not. But with an audience of nearly 100K, and with daily DMs asking me how I have built my personal brand, a free course seemed like the best solution to help my audience.
RELATED: Join my FREE 5 Day Personal Branding Masterclass!
Creative personal branding tells your story. Actually, more than that…
It defines your story.
Even if you had the answers to the best-kept secret about how to become a CEO or to market your author platform, not a single person will care until you define your story.
Once you start to build your personal brand, people are going to want to know more: who you are, where you come from, and how/why you came into your line of work. More specifically, your audience will want to know what from your background makes you an expert in your industry.
Your story helps build that like, know, and trust that consumers are looking for before they become willing to buy from you and your brand.
Which leads me to my final tip for creative branding for entrepreneurs: get personal.
When it comes to branding yourself through social media, blogs, video, email marketing, or networking, all people want to know is who are you to your core.
And that’s what you need to give to them. Sure, you can set limitations and maintain some of your privacy, but if you want to be a loud voice in your market, then you need to show your struggles, your growth, and your triumphs.
Just make sure that you are showing who you really are, not a perfectly curated version. This is why Instagram stories come in handy. It is truly a behind-the-scenes look into the chaos of your (soon to be) Fortune 500 company.
So– don’t over photoshop your photos, use video to show your personality, and just be you.
Now if you want to brainstorm how to apply these ideas specifically to your personal brand, I am here to help you do that. Learn about my private coaching and schedule a free consultation!
About the Author
Hi! I’m Claire Bahn, a personal branding expert, and CEO and Co-Founder of Online Profile Pros and Stratus Branding. I have been helping people strategize and create their best personal brand for over 10 years. As an influencer with over 80k followers on social media, I’ve learned so much about the importance of creating and maintaining your personal brand. I want to help you leverage your personal brand to develop the authority, influence, and trust you need to exceed your business goals.