Innovation & The Personal Brand
STAYING TRUE VS. BEING NEW
Innovation is defined as the process of making changes to something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products. It’s also our content theme for the month here at Markon. I love it as a theme for April because this time of year makes me think of changing things up, dusting things off and really kicking that outside-the-box thinking up a notch.
It’s tough, however, when I try to put our theme into the context of personal branding because so much of what we’ve talked about so far is about the importance of consistency and of finding your voice and sticking to it. @@How do you shake things up and keep things fresh while still communicating that it’s you?@@ It’s easy! We’re going to focus our innovative minds on social media because if you’re like anyone else, it’s where you spend a ton of time interacting and (let’s be honest here) where we all go to stalk someone new when we’re deciding if we want to work with them. That being said, by all means use some of these ideas to explore new methods in other areas of your real, non-digital, life as well!
- Launch a short term series or contest. This is something we’re doing this month on our own Instagram; each of us is taking over the channel for a week to share week-in-the-life pics instead of the normal routine of stuff we usually post. It’s a nice little break from our usual content but still stays true to one of our core brand values: embracing everyone’s individuality. A contest would have the same effect of giving you something new to post about but still allowing you to incorporate your tried and true branding.
- Get some fresh graphics. A quick and easy way to liven things up on your social feeds is to update your cover photos or other graphics. You don’t want to change your profile pic too often because you want people to learn to associate your face with content they like but your cover photo or other shared graphics are a great way to show that you’re keeping things fresh and current. We recommend updating these items at least seasonally, but ideally monthly. (Although if it’s been a while… like YEARS… springing for a new headshot is probably not the worst idea.)
- Challenge your metrics. @@Sometimes all it takes to be truly innovative is to be open minded enough to try new things.@@ If you’re sharing high quality content regularly, good for you! But we’re not here because we’re satisfied with the status quo. If you know that videos, for example, always get you lots of new attention and you post one per month, what if you posted two? If you post four great blogs per month, what if you tried doubling that? Sit down with some of your sharing stats and see where you could dial it up to 11.
- Try a new schedule. Along the same vein as challenging your metrics, being open to a new schedule can have lots of positive impacts on your exposure to new faces. At Markon we love using Buffer to schedule posts but I also use it personally to help me manage my own social media. I particularly love the Optimal Timing Tool. I was dubious at first when it suggested that I schedule content to be shared in the middle of the night in my own time zone… until some of that content got me lots of new love from the other side of the world! Apparently I’ve got some friends in Australia and NZ (hey guys!). Being open to a different posting schedule allowed me to gain new followers and connect with new people. Bam!
- Try a new medium. While you’re out there trying new things, how about a whole new platform??? I know, it’s super scary. But it’s time to be on more than Facebook. And, no, automatically reposting your content to other platforms doesn’t count. If you have a Twitter account that you opened in 2008 and then have let sit defunct ever since, people will notice (and not in a good way). If you’re in a particularly visual industry, try Instagram to share pics of your work and connect with customers. Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat… think about how you can express your brand in new ways and choose a platform that supports those goals. @@Whatever platform(s) you’re on, post frequently, with consistency and with your brand in mind.@@
Of course, the trick to innovating your personal brand is to have a well defined brand to begin with. If you’ve taken the time to craft standards and values that represent your brand, you’ll find the fine line between staying true vs. being new much easier to balance. You’ll know how to incorporate new ideas and processes into your workflow that still genuinely feel like you and you’ll have a chance to connect with new people that you possibly wouldn’t have had you not decided to innovate.
This post is the fourth in my year-long series on personal branding. If you missed the first three, on Strategy & The Personal Brand, Passion & The Personal Brand and Refreshing Your Personal Brand - check them out! Next month we’re talking dedication and I’d love it if you followed along. You can subscribe here for email updates or send me your thoughts on Twitter!