Step 1: Pick a subject
Step 2: Start planning
Step 3: Get your equipment
Step 4: Just do it
Everyone who sets out to chase their dream struggles with this. Whether you are diving headfirst into your dream or it is something you do on the side, you will undoubtedly encounter this moment.
You hit a wall. You feel stuck. You feel lost. You question your decision to follow this dream. You find yourself wondering if any of this is worth it.
It is this crippling anxiety that you will never make it coupled with a deep sense of failure. You are afraid to let go of your dream lest you lose it. Yet you also fear that your dream is nothing but a fool’s dream.
Everyone around you tells you what kind of job you should be looking for, what you should be doing with your life. Some consider your dream to be silly, but some support you. Either way, it is easy to be bogged down by everyone’s expectations of what your life should look like.
I have experienced this myself. The anxiety. The self-doubt. I spent a fair amount of time struggling with this until I came to a realization. There is a way to fight this.
Whenever you are in this situation with your back against the wall, questioning whether it is worth it, as yourself a simple question.
Why are you doing this? Why does this matter to you?
Sometimes the easiest way to keep going is to remember why you started.
Sometimes you need to take a step back and reevaluate. Is what you are doing now getting you closer to where you want to be? Are you doing it because you want to or because someone else told you that you should?
Take some time to think through what you want to do. Create a mission statement. Figure out your strategy. Even if you never show this to anybody else, this can help you keep focused.
Remembering why you are doing something can help you keep going when times get though.
Another thing to consider. If something truly matters to you, it will matter to someone else.
Remember why you started and never give up.
You may just change the world.
So you want to build your brand.
Where do you begin?
Social media is a great place to start. It’s easy, its free, and (almost) everyone uses it. There is an art to it, though. Each platform has their own purpose and their own quirks. Once you get the hang of how they work and what content works best, it’s amazing what you can do.
Here is a crash course on the three most used platforms.
My first piece of advice, keep all the names the same or as similar as you can. Consistency is key in branding. It also makes it easier to use the same profile picture and banners across the platforms. This makes it easier for people to find you.
Facebook: the Gatekeeper
Facebook is the gatekeeper for social media branding. This is your starting point. You want to make sure that you do everything right while creating the page because some things cannot be undone.
The first question you will get when creating the page is if you are a business/brand or a community/public figure. The first option is for anyone who is looking to build their business’ brand. If you plan on offering any kind of product or service, this is a good option for you. If you are looking to build your personal brand, take the second option.
The next step is naming your page. Make sure it is informative and easy to remember. You will also want to make sure you can use some variation of it on any other accounts you use. For example, my Twitter and Instagram names match my website.
There are some things that you can change after the page is created, but this is no longer an option after you reach 200 followers. Keep that in mind.
Now, on to content. Facebook is good for all kinds of content. Big posts, small posts, pictures, videos. You can share blog posts and other website links. Talk about what you are interested in, share your thoughts on certain debates within your industry, show people what you are doing. Whatever content you put on other platforms, you can put it on Facebook.
Some free tips:
Get people talking. More conversation means more eyeballs on your post.
Avoid the words “like”, “comment”, and “share”. Facebook will show fewer people those posts.
Facebook live is a great way to interact in real time with your followers.
Twitter: the Conversationalist
Twitter has developed an interesting reputation. It has its fair share of trolls, but it also has some people who are looking to help others. The reason I stay is because of the creative community. Twitter has a plethora of writers, gamers, game developers, and all around creative people. If you notice that a lot of people in your field (or with your interest) are on Twitter, you should definitely consider joining the party.
Setting up your Twitter account is simpler than setting up a Facebook. Unlike Facebook, you can update your profile information at any point after it is created. I recommend not changing your Twitter handle, though, as it could cause confusion. You can change your username at any time and still be found. I have seen many people do this to match the season or signify they are attending a certain event.
Twitter can be used to share your thoughts as they come. I tweet a lot of quotes from other people. What I mainly use it for, though, is to talk to people.
At its core, Twitter was made for conversations.
Twitter is full of communities, and in these communities, people love to talk. Finding your people isn’t difficult. Start with the people you know in the industry. Find the thought leaders. Find the people who are active on Twitter. Join their conversations. Add in your thoughts and opinions.
Whatever you do, be polite. Remember that you are talking to a human being. If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it on Twitter.
Also, use hashtags. They can help draw people to you, as well as help you find other people to follow. A quick Google search can help you find the hashtags commonly used in your industry. You can even create your own hashtag for your brand (just make sure no one else is using it)
Instagram: the Showoff
Instagram is all about pictures. You can show off what you do and show off what you love. This can be as personal or as professional as you want it to be. I often post pictures of what I am working on or of quotes that I like.
One thing to remember is that links in Instagram posts are not clickable. This can make sharing blog posts difficult and sharing links from multiple sources, impossible. You can attach a link in your profile and refer to that link, though.
There is one way to get around this. It is something Instagram is perfect for.
This is especially good for writers. It helps you learn how to convey information in three short paragraphs. This can be in relation to your blog post or you telling the story behind the picture. The possibilities are endless.
Hashtags are popular on Instagram too. There is a limit to 30 per post, but they serve a similar purpose as on Twitter.
Now that you know the basics, it is time to get started.
There are plenty of other things you can do to build your brand, like blogging (more on that later), YouTube (keep an eye out for more), and LinkedIn (I’ll get to this eventually).
If you have any questions or want me to go into more depth on any of these topics, let me know.
Until next time!