Welcome back to part two of Getting Started with Personal Branding—Personal Branding Horror Stories and Inspiration—from guest blogger, Ashely Sieb. If you missed part one, you can catch-up here. In part two, Ashley shares more tips on creating your personal brand, including how to measure your success, some branding horror stories, and who to follow for more information. Enjoy!

One of the big fears people have with personal branding is that they will “annoy their friends” or have people unfollow them. If that happens, I say fine. “Your vibe attracts your tribe.” You don’t have time for snarky people who don’t believe in your vision and purpose. When you share meaningful stories and connect with your audience, you won’t come off pushy or salesy. I have friends who say to me, “Sometimes, I have NO idea what you do – but I love following your stories and seeing what you do with your life.” Those are my kind of people.

Measuring Success of Personal Branding

When it comes to personal branding, it’s easy to measure your success on vanity metrics, including:

  • Total page likes or followers
  • Post engagement metrics (i.e. likes, comments, and shares)
  • Number of and story video views (YouTube, Instagram Stories, Snapchat, etc)

But personal branding is much more than follower count. I would challenge you to look at:

  • Number of email subscribers – these are people who love you SO MUCH that they invite you into a personal space they cherish a lot – their inbox.
  • Number of personal emails or messages that share how you’ve helped someone
  • Number of speaking opportunities – the more speaking opportunities that you receive, the more people and lives that you can touch
  • Your responsive rate – how responsive and available are you to your followers and fans?
  • Personal Branding Horror Stories

 

Personal Branding Horror Stories

When you put yourself online, you set yourself up for extreme vulnerability and access. People might troll you. People might leave hateful comments. I’ll never forget the first experience with this (beyond when I was pregnant and everyone wanted to point out all of the food that I shouldn’t eat or the exercises I shouldn’t do). I went on LIVE TV in a swimsuit. It was for a client of mine, retro 101 – a fashion boutique on wheels. I had a vintage swimsuit custom-made. I had recently lost 65 lbs, and I got a free airbrush spray tan and make-up done for the TV spot. I felt like a million bucks. Someone wrote on the news post that my swimsuit was heinous and they would never, ever wear it. I wanted to cry, but then I realized, “you know, that’s fine. She doesn’t need this swimsuit because it’s mine. And it represents me.” I owned my authenticity.

So, you might get nasty comments on your pictures or blog posts. You will get people who disagree with you. You will get people who challenge you during a speaking gig. NEVER TAKE THE BAIT. I always say that when someone is hateful, it speaks more to them than you. Stay true to yourself. Acknowledge their emotions but stay true to your story. How does this play out? Well, to the snarky lady who hated my swimsuit – I might respond and say, “I’m sorry to hear you feel that way, but hopefully you enjoyed some other styles featured on the show! We had a wonderful time representing women of every body shape and size. I am hopeful that you’ll find something that makes you feel as confident as this swimsuit makes me feel.”

 

Personal Branding Don’ts

I love sharing ideas in sets of 3’s, so I’ll share these three personal branding don’ts:

  1. Don’t lie about who you are – own your story – every dip and high point that defines who you are as a person. Be unapologetically yourself. Your vulnerability is your superpower.
  2. Don’t view this experience as a crock pot – you can’t “set it and forget it” with personal branding. You need to be available and responsive.
  3. Don’t let one bad experience or snarky person define your personal brand – We all have bad days. Most of us, if we are being honest, have said something we regret. When that happens, don’t hide and run away. Own it. Admit your mistakes. Show that you are human.

 

Who to Follow for Personal Branding Inspiration

If you want to get started with personal branding, here are a few people to start following:

  • Seth Godin – Subscribe to his daily emails and blog posts. They always seem to come at the most perfect time. https://seths.blog/
  • Ally Brettnahcer – She is always telling her personal story and supporting the brand. She shares content from Sigstr in a meaningful way – in fact, it makes me feel crazy for not working there with her! https://www.linkedin.com/in/allytbrett/
  • Neil Patel – He keeps it real with videos and blog posts about his experience as an entrepreneur, marketer, and SEO expert. https://neilpatel.com/
  • Gary Vee – He’s offensive with his language at times, but I love his grit. I love his honesty and realness about his journey. https://www.garyvaynerchuk.com/
  • Ashlie Molstad (@FoodieFitGirl) – Ashlie is a beach body coach, fitness lover, foodie, and mom. She merges those words together through positive and real storytelling. She does promote the products, but never comes off too pushy. https://www.instagram.com/foodiegirlfitness/
  • Best for last – My current favorite woman to follow for personal branding inspiration is Jenna Kutcher, former photographer turned podcast host for Goal Digger. She is passionate about helping women succeed, love their bodies, and live out their passion in life. Her vulnerability is everything wonderful in life: https://www.instagram.com/jennakutcher/

 

Now it’s your turn. Go live out your life with passion, purpose, and meaningful intent. Be available and share the stories from your heart – you can never imagine the lives you will change until you embrace this vulnerability.

And finally, if you’d like to connect with me online – I would love to be a part of your life story! Find me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashleysieb/ You can also follow my blog (which I am reinventing this Fall): ashleysieb.com.