Mastering Your Personal Brand with Social Media

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By Allison Finkl

Have you ever googled yourself?

To my surprise, not everyone googles themselves. Maybe I am just a bit self-centered, but the statistic still shocked me.

A couple years back, I decided to Google myself to see what future employers might find. To my dismay, I discovered that they would perceive me as a 12-year-old star soccer player with a Pinterest board filled with “tattoo I want” and “easy DIYs.” Clearly not the image I wanted when applying for social media manager positions as a 23-year-old.

So, I took advantage of social media to change my online personal branding and present myself as the educated, graphic design lover and social media professional that I aspire to be.

So, take a moment and google yourself. What do you see? Is it accurate? Do you want to be known for something else? If so, let me help you build a stellar personal brand using social media. (It’s not that hard, I promise.)

Side note to the English majors who noticed our use of the word “googled.” The word “Google” should have an initial capital letter, but the word “googled” should not.

What is this “personal branding” word?

Let me explain personal branding in a non-boring yet easy-to-understand way. Personal branding is the process of defining and promoting what you stand for as an individual. In simple terms, it showcases your experiences, values, and skills as a human being.

The perks of having a killer personal brand (according to Soocial):

  • Want to get noticed and be known? It only takes 5-7 impressions for someone to remember your brand (AKA YOU!)
  • Looking to get a job? An applicant with a positive online reputation is favored during the hiring process to some extent by 85% of US recruiters and hiring professionals.
  • Selling something? 78% of salespeople who use social media to sell outperformed those who don’t.

And these were just the first three statistics I saw. Check out Soocial for even more encouragement to work on your personal branding.

Find what makes you sparkle

This may be the most important step. Without discovering your identity, values, and passions, your personal branding will not be so “personal” and tailored towards you. Finding what you truly value and are passionate about can be tricky, trust me. But here’s a tip on how to get started.

One of my favorite social media icons is Neil Patel. He created a quick and easy exercise to do to discover who you are.

Consider these questions:

  • What are your interests and passions?
  • What are your best personality traits that you’d like magnified?
  • What do you value the most?
  • What is your mission statement?
  • What would you like to achieve?
  • What legacy would you like to leave behind?
  • What words do you want to evoke when your name is mentioned?

Take 10 minutes and answer these questions. Your personal brand is based off these questions, so be honest with yourself.

Unleash your inner social media rockstar!

Now it’s time to showcase the king/queen that you are! Let’s get that google search to be on point.

We now know our identity, values, passions and what we want to be known as (woohoo!). Picking what social media platform to use will be a bit easier.

There’s a plethora of social media platforms to choose from: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, Reddit, YouTube and many more! So, which one is the best for YOU? Review the audience demographics, distinctive features, and content types of these platforms and then choose a couple that align with your personal brand.

A glance at popular platforms

With data collected from Smart Insights, SocialBee, and my personal opinion


  • Audience: 63% women, 44% ages 18-29
  • Distinctiveness: visually focused, high influencer culture
  • Content Posted: photos, videos, live streaming, carousels


  • Audience: 64% women, 41% ages 30-49
  • Distinctiveness: broader age demographic, used for networking and socializing, great advertising abilities
  • Content Posted: photos/videos, text-based, live streaming, reshares, events


  • Audience: 59% women, 63% ages 18-29
  • Distinctiveness: instant communication in video or photo form that goes away after a certain amount of time
  • Content Posted: photos, unedited videos


  • Audience: 54% men, 46% ages 30-49
  • Distinctiveness: made for networking on a professional level, job search and recruitment access
  • Content Posted: text-based, images, videos, articles/blogs, documents


  • Audience: 69% women, 52% ages 18-29
  • Distinctiveness: short video only entertainment, more likely to go “viral” on this platform, trend based
  • Content Posted: short videos


  • Audience: 56% men, 40% ages 30-49
  • Distinctiveness: longer videos, large audience variety, a form of television
  • Content Posted: videos, reels (short videos)


  • Audience: 56% men, 43% ages 18-29
  • Distinctiveness: microblogging heavy, real time updates, public conversations
  • Content Posted: text-based, images, memes


  • Audience: 67% men, 47% ages 30-49
  • Distinctiveness: anonymous based, encourages conversation, based around communities
  • Content Posted: forums, questions, links

Need help choosing the right platform? Think about your target audience. If you want to target professionals, I’d recommend LinkedIn. If you want to showcase your graphic design skills and visual aesthetics, Instagram might be the way to go. Are you into politics, news, or engaging in conversations? Twitter could be your platform of choice.

Remember, there is no wrong answer – follow your instincts!

Content is King (or Queen)

Alright, you have identified what you want to be known for and the platforms you are going to use. Now, how the heck do you even begin creating content? The big answer:  it’s all based on the research you just did. For example, let’s say your friend Amy wants to be known as a foodie content creator. She chooses Instagram and TikTok as her primary platforms. On Instagram, she posts valuable content such as food reviews and recommendations for different cities. On TikTok, she shares vlogs, food reviews, and aesthetically pleasing food videos. Consistency on both platforms helps her gain a significant following, attracting restaurants and brands to collaborate with her. When you look Amy up, you are also about to tell exactly who she is, what she does, and evidence of her strength at it.

I mentioned valuable content. What is valuable content and why is it important?

Valuable content is the type of content that serves your audience with useful information. It goes beyond being visually appealing and provides real value. Utilizing high-value content will not only attract followers, but also keep them engaged and coming back for more.

Examples of high-value content Amy should use:

  • TikTok on “5 must-go restaurants to go to when in Austin.”
  • Blog about “My honest review of ATX Cocina and whether you should go or not.”
  • Instagram carousel post on “The best appetizers to bring to a Pot Luck”

Last minute tips:

  • What’s that secret sauce to gaining a following? Consistency.
    • Don’t go from posting about dogs to your favorite hand soap to a political post. This is confusing. People won’t know what topic you will give them, therefore, not wanting to follow or engage with you.
  • Don’t forget to measure and analyze your content.
    •  Measuring your performance will help you gauge what type of content is working for you. The higher the likes and engagement of a post, the more you should upload content like this.
  • Be authentic.
    • Corny, I know. But it’s true! It’s nice to look at inspiration of others personal identify online, but you are not them. Take them as inspiration, but don’t copy. There is 7.8 billion people in the world. That means 7.8 billion different personal brands. Be weird. Show off your goofy traits and interesting skills. Be you.
  • If you can add an image, do it!
    • According to Medium, “Posts that include images produce 650% higher engagement than text-only posts.
  • Stay with the trends.
    • Look, I understand there are 10,000 new trends each day. But if you could find one or two a week that coincide with your branding, you can easily make sure your account is consistently up-to-date.
  • Engage with your community.
    • Respond to comments, messages, and mentions and show genuine interest in what your followers have to say. Collaboration and networking can go a long way in expanding your reach.


Your online personal branding is not a “you did some work and now you can stop.” This is a never-ending task if you want to gain the most out of it (that sounds intimidating, it’s not). It truly is what you make of it.

So… go ahead, google yourself and prepare to revamp your online character and create a brand that accurately reflects you. You can influence how others see you and open many doors by using the power of social media. Remember, the goal of personal branding through social media is to spotlight your own identity, values, and interests.

Go out there and be the authentic you. You got this!

If you made it this far, congrats, I have even more tips for you… my favorite tools as a content creator:

  • Graphics: Canva
  • Videos: CapCut (download on laptop if possible)
  • Captions: Chat GPT
  • Inspiration: Pinterest
  • Photo filters: Lightroom

About the author: Allison Finkl is an advertising graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin. Previously, she received her Bachelors of Arts in Advertising from the University of Miami. She is currently a creative marketing intern at SweatPals.

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