Marketing coaches are constantly urging small business owners to “show your personality”, because that’s how you can gain people's trust and create a brand that stands out. This advice is a bit vague, and perhaps you've been wondering how to practically implement it?
In this post I’ve compiled a list of different ways you can do it. Choose any you like, or let them spark new ideas that are natural and comfortable for you.
- Instead of a professional mugshot in a suit, let your profile photo include a detail that tells a bit of your story (whether that's your outfit, a prop or your surroundings).
- Share photos of your free time on social media, like walks in nature, beach time, books you're reading, travel... But if it's your business account, don't make it all about your free time – your fans are following you for the work you do.
- Make references to your hobbies in your blog posts and newsletters. Bonus points if you can use a story related to your hobby to explain a concept you want to teach your readers. You can never go wrong with giving value.
- Extra bonus points if you can also use a photo of you doing the hobby as a blog post graphic.
- Pay attention to the way you say hello and goodbye to your friends, and use it in your online communication (newsletters, autoresponders, client emails, etc.). You’re one step closer to using your real human voice.
- If the thing you geek out about (book, TV series, sports, band, the Eurovision...) is making rounds on Twitter and Facebook, chime in and make new friends among fellow fans. Just make sure you don't overdo it, unless you want to work exclusively with people who are World Cup fanatics.
- Take photos for your blog posts in the same places in your home or office. People will see where you work, and they will also get a sense of familiarity whenever they see another of your photos in their stream.
- Get on video! This may feel scary, but nothing shows your true personality like a video – once you’re past the terrified frozen smile, that is. If you’re having a hard time being natural on video, ask a friend to accompany you as you’re shooting, and then talk to them (but make sure you’re looking directly at the camera lens).
- Shoot videos in places where you love to hang out, like your favorite armchair, garden or on the beach (but not if it’s too noisy or windy if you’re shooting outside).
- If you have a pleasant voice and an interesting accent (hello, Brits), do a podcast or a video series. It's a shame not to use that advantage.
- Do your friends compliment your handwriting? Instead of posting text updates on Twitter or the boring text-over-photo quotes on Instagram, write a note, sign it, take a photo of it and share.
- If you have a pet, exploit them for your photos and videos. (I'm not a fan of doing it with your children, though.)
- Do you have an unpopular opinion about a topic? Gather the courage to share it publicly. This is one of the best ways to rally your right people who share your core values.
- The same goes for unconventional ways of doing something. You drink a smoothie instead of coffee every morning? Late riser? Read the newspaper front to back? Fine, these may not be the most unique examples, but I'm sure if you think back to when someone commented on your “weird” ways. Share your quirks!
- If you play music, compose your own intro song for your podcast or video show (like Sean McCabe).
- And you can even play music on camera (like Farideh and Michelle Ward).
- If you like certain visual details like stripes, dots, floral patterns, geometric shapes, or specific colors, buy or decorate your office supplies to match. You'll have more fun working, and they'll look fabulous on your blog and social media photos.
- If you're a visual artist, illustrate your blog and social media updates with your own doodles. (Read more about creating beautiful blog post images here.)
- Share your experience of a personal struggle – not necessarily while in you're the midst of it, but after you've recovered. People who’ve been through the same thing will relate to your story and admire your courage. (example: Everything I know about depression)
- Reference your favorite books, blogs, TV shows, musicians, games or artists in your blog posts. People who share your taste will connect to it, and those who haven't heard of it might appreciate the recommendation. Bonus points if you can tie it in with your creative work or business.
- Fill your office with things you enjoy: art, concert posters, Star Wars figurines, Lego castles, crystals, plants... Same as #17 – it's a great morale boost, and it also helps your followers get to know you better.
- Instead of sending store bought holiday greeting cards, create your own custom design, or hire someone to do it. If you can, use your own photo or artwork.
- Customize all default messages in your email marketing software, shopping cart, and blog commenting script, so they sound like you. Erase all instances of “we” if you work alone. Pay extra attention to the buttons – the default “Sign up” or “Submit” is boring and non-descriptive.
- Hide Easter eggs around your website – these are the details most people won't notice, but those who do will adore them.
Instead of just displaying the "loading" circle like most apps do, Slack shows funny and encouraging messages
- Ditch the boring old “coffee addict” from your Twitter bio and write something relevant. Most of the western world’s population are coffee lovers, it doesn't say anything interesting about you.
- Delete accounts on social media that you don't like using – they're not doing you a favor. What you choose not to do is just as important as what you do. (To discover which social media networks are ideal for you, download my free Authentic Promotion Guide.)
I hope you've found at least one idea you can implement in your business and marketing right now, to let your personality glow throughout your work.
If you know of more ways to feature your uniqueness that helped you connect with your ideal clients, share your story in the comments! I'd love to hear about it :)