Personal branding is one of the most popular “professions” of the 21st century, which has actually become dominant in the digital market in the last 5-10 years. This is not talked about at school and is not taught at the university, but only the lazy one does not want to become a blogger, creating an “empire” around his brand. Some are engaged in the promotion of an exclusively personal brand in the context of lifestyle, while others – as an accompanying factor for their own business.
Now I have a second path of development, or rather its reverse development (from a personal brand to a business, and not vice versa). When I just started blogging on Instagram, I just shared moments from my life, telling stories based on my experience and sharing tips on moving to Italy – on the principle “I succeeded, you will succeed”. Surprisingly, about 500 subscribers from friends and acquaintances took my information as an axiom and actively shared it with their friends and acquaintances. So, thanks to word of mouth, I got my first clients.
However, when asked about “Will I be able to move to Italy for sure? How to do it?” became prohibitively many, and there was not enough one pair of hands and 24 hours a day, I assembled a team of like-minded people, which, ultimately, grew into the international online company ENROLIT upon admission to the best universities in Italy.
On the way from a personal account to an online company, I made many mistakes related to the development of a personal brand, and that’s what we’ll talk about today. To be fair, I will say that I managed to avoid some mistakes thanks to the analysis of the competitive field, and from some I learned a lesson on my own.
Expertise is important in the development and promotion of a personal brand, but in the desire to be useful, it is very important not to overdo it. One of my main mistakes at first was the fear of presenting “unnecessary” information to the audience. I was convinced that I had to share extremely useful posts and stories on my blog, otherwise the audience would lose interest in me as an expert. As a result, they began to perceive me as a search query with free issuance of information: “Okay, Kira, how to go to study in Italy?” The posts were more and more formulaic, and the information was boring – the blog gradually turned into an inanimate object. I managed to fix this and liven up the blog by adding more myself and more topics of interest to me. But it wasn’t easy.
Participation in GIVs
Every blogger who promotes a personal brand is faced with a situation where a new subscriber costs more and more, not to mention the cost of a CTA. An easy way out of the situation is to participate in a circular marathon with other bloggers or become a sponsor of a competition (Giveaway). Despite the fact that marathons can be useful, and the audience is as close as possible to the target audience, and the number of subscribers is growing at the speed of light, in the end everything may not turn out as you expected. After the end of the competition / marathon, you will have exactly the number of subscribers for which you would have paid initially using other promotion tools. Only now, not all of these subscribers will be “live” and active, and the ER indicator of your account will most likely decrease significantly. And messages in Direct with a proposal to participate in such activities, you will have to rake for another six months, no less.
Nickname and personal brand description
A non-trivial error that I encountered was the wrong Instagram account name. My nickname was originally @karrie__k. Such a nickname for new subscribers did not mean absolutely nothing, people did not even understand my name and most often they called me “Karina”, not “Kira”. In addition, such a nickname was difficult to remember and write (double “r” plus two underscores).
So I learned the main lesson – the nickname should be simple, memorable, and the description of the profile as clear and reflective of the activity as possible. Now my nickname sounds like @kosareva_kira, and in the profile description there is a reference to my company and a real case: “I won 2 million to study in Milan and received 520+ clients”.
Fear of broadcast difficulties
Having revived my blog and changed my nickname, I began to talk more about myself, about my clients, but here again a mistake – the fear of broadcasting the difficulties that I face in my work. For a long time I have not written in my blog about difficulties and problems. Until one day, at my own peril and risk, I decided to share with subscribers (yes, potential clients) the story that I have an escorted client who was refused a scholarship, or rather, she was not on the preliminary lists of those who won the coveted funding from the university. Then I told you step by step how we solved this problem. Spoiler – she ended up getting a scholarship. The confidence of the audience increased, and after all, when I began to tell this case, I was not sure that everything would turn out in favor of the client. But I was honest and the audience supported me. Conclusion: sincerity with the audience is the key to trust.
To be honest, this has not happened to me, but I know enough examples when opinion leaders begin to work on the principle of “take while they give”. They actively promote on their blog those goods and services that they do not understand and which they themselves do not use. For example, ads for dietary supplements and vitamins often cause a wave of negativity from subscribers. Firstly, if you do not have a medical (or near) blog, then this immediately raises doubts. Secondly, even if your topic is suitable for advertising dietary supplements, without personal consultation and passing the necessary tests, you can easily harm. Moreover, both the body of a living person and the delicate organization of the blog, where a mistake can be costly.
After 4 years of developing my blog on Instagram, I clearly understand that sometimes it is worth learning from the mistakes of others, and not just from our own, in order to minimize the costs of developing a personal brand and gather the most loyal audience around me.