Stand Out on Socials with a Personal Brand with Ella Orr

Do you know what a small business owner’s secret weapon is??

Personal. Branding.

I recently spoke with my friend Ella Orr on The Social Brain Podcast to discuss what personal branding actually is, along with a few simple ways that you can inject your own personality into your content.

Prefer to listen to the audio version of our conversation? Go here. 

Personal branding is something that we’ve seen a lot more of since 2020. We’ve started to see more companies show their personality online and reveal the face behind the brand instead of just posting pictures of their products.

Personal branding done right can have a huge, positive impact on a brand. But what does personal branding actually mean and how do you successfully create a personal brand online? 

What is personal branding, and why is it important in business?

Personal branding – and, specifically, building a personal brand on social media – isn't about sharing about your personal life or about your domestic situation. 

It means helping people get to know who you are behind the business and understanding how you can help your target customers. It’s about sharing information about your product or service in a personal and much more relatable way. It's showing the face behind your business so you can build a relationship with potential customers and increase the know, like, trust factor that will have people handing you their money with excitement.

The key thing when it comes to personal branding is being human. Many people prefer to hide their faces behind their brand and believe that no-one would be interested in seeing or getting to know them. They think their audience are just interested in their products. But, as Ella shares in this example, that isn’t the case:

I live in Leicestershire and last weekend I visited a Farmer’s Market where I bought a little bottle of bespoke gin. The guy who was selling it was very friendly and later on in the day, I visited his Instagram page to check out what he was posting and there he was on his stories talking about the fact that he was at the Farmer’s Market, selling his gin. This is a fantastic example of showing the human behind the business and helping to connect with your ideal customers.

“The content doesn’t have to be polished and by chatting on his stories about what he was up to, he was using his personality to actually connect with people on a human-to-human level, rather than just putting up a picture of his gin and saying ‘this gin is X, Y, Z - buy it!’.

Connection is ultimately what helps you stand out and increase your sales.

How do you create content that is personal but still makes you appear professional?

A big concern of business owners is that, if they’re too personal on their feeds, they will stand out from the crowd in a bad way; they will come across as unprofessional and put off their potential customers. 

But that isn't always the case. You can still share personal brand content on social media whilst representing your brand in a professional way.

It all starts with knowing your audience first – and that doesn’t mean knowing where they buy their groceries or what their favourite show is.

It’s about understanding who your product or service is really going to help and uncovering the pain points that are going to lead customers to your solution. Alongside that, you also need to know what questions people are asking. 

Ella says: “What are the things that they constantly want to know the answer to? Is it about the colour? Is it about the measurement? Is it about the quality? Is it about where it's made? Is it where it's been sourced?

“So, it's those usual FAQ type questions, but it's about answering them personally. And you can answer them personally in lots of ways. Personal branding is about being able to say to people: ‘I'm a consumer, just like you. These are the kind of questions that I would be asking if I were shopping around for something so I'm gonna put myself now on the other side and answer your questions.’ And you can do that in a personal way, through relating it to your own situation or telling a relatable story.”

How to build a personal brand as a service-based business versus a product-based business

If you’re a product-based business, you need to have an About Page on your website so that people can meet the face behind the brand and immerse themselves in your story.  

Another way you can bring personal branding into a product-based business is to use behind-the-scenes content. This taps into our human instinct to want to know about people. You can guarantee that people will spend far more time watching your behind the scenes content than they will looking at pictures of your products – yet still, by watching your BTS content, they’re more likely to become invested in your product and have you at the top of their mind.

In service-based businesses you’re likely to be using your personality more because it's you who's selling the services. People are buying you. And a great way to add in more personal content is to showcase your processes or the workflow that happens when you take on a new client.

Behind the scenes content always goes down a treat for service-based businesses, too.

How to feel confident showing your face online

Sharing selfies, talking to the camera, and having photos of your face on your website is important when it comes to building a connection with your customers.

But what if you lack the confidence to be visible? What if you feel like you’re not ready to stand out on social media? 

Ella says: “The first thing is to switch that camera on and have a go. To build up your confidence, you could start posting videos in a small, friendly Facebook group or get together with some local businesses, people that you know and create a group for yourselves where you can practise with each other.” 

Practice makes progress, so the more you get used to creating content that shows your face, the easier it’s going to become. Stories are a great way to get started because they only last for 24 hours and the whole point of them is that they are unpolished and in the moment.

Another popular video format is Reels. Reels are sometimes put on a massive pedestal, but when you break them down, they are simply a 4, 7, 15 second video. They don’t have to be complicated. As long as you plan what you're going to do beforehand, it makes everything so much easier and it’s actually a really quick way to create content - much faster than designing carousel posts!

Once you’ve created a video, you can also reshare it across other platforms to increase your reach and grow your community in more places. 

How are you going to add more of your personality to your brand now?

Ella Orr is a Social Media Marketer and Founder of Much More Social. After teaching for 30 years, Ella retrained in social media marketing and now specialises in helping business owners build a personal brand that makes them stand out on socials and attract their ideal clients on autopilot.

Follow Ella on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and visit her website here.


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