I start­ed my busi­ness, Hunk-O-Mania, before the era of social media and dur­ing the ear­ly days of inter­net mar­ket­ing. While build­ing my com­pa­ny, I neglect­ed my own per­son­al brand — and in the last few years, I’ve aimed to make up for it by embrac­ing social media plat­forms as a way to build my brand out­side of my busi­ness.

Craft­ing a strong per­son­al brand on social media can take time, but it can also yield sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits. Based on my own expe­ri­ence, here are a few tips on how to build your own authen­tic brand on social media.

Know that you’re only limited by your imagination.

Com­pared to the pro­mo­tion­al meth­ods of the past few decades, social media is tru­ly trans­for­ma­tive. Imag­ine build­ing a name for your­self before Insta­gram. You could take out mag­a­zine ads, write a per­son­al blog or run TV com­mer­cials. For TV oppor­tu­ni­ties, you were con­strained by a pro­duc­er; there were lim­its to what you could say and lim­its on the con­tent you put out. With social, there are essen­tial­ly no lim­its. You can show­case pho­tos of your hike one week to give peo­ple a way to con­nect with you per­son­al­ly, then share posts about the fruit smooth­ie stand in your neigh­bor­hood the next week so your fol­low­ers feel they’re along for the ride as far as your day-to-day rou­tine.

Know that you're only limited by your imagination

Remember that your personal brand can transcend your industry.

Build­ing your per­son­al brand allows you to freely explore dif­fer­ent avenues and open more doors. This is espe­cial­ly impor­tant for entre­pre­neurs, since they often must be will­ing to embrace fail­ure and try new things. As an entre­pre­neur, you may even­tu­al­ly decide to change the direc­tion of your com­pa­ny and career. As the face of your com­pa­ny, it’s a good idea to be a spokesper­son for your prod­uct or ser­vice while also pre­sent­ing your­self as an inno­va­tor, an author­i­ty and a unique per­son­al­i­ty. As your career pro­gress­es, you might be under con­sid­er­a­tion for board seats or oth­er advi­so­ry roles, and a strong per­son­al brand can give you a leg up on the com­pe­ti­tion. Since the future of any sec­tor is uncer­tain, it’s impor­tant to build a per­son­al brand that tran­scends your indus­try — that way, you can go from, say, run­ning a soft­ware firm to man­ag­ing a restau­rant chain. It’s your brand that inspires con­fi­dence, com­pe­tence and trust, which are all cru­cial for suc­cess in busi­ness and with peo­ple.

Communicate with followers one-on-one to drive meaningful engagement.

Talk­ing direct­ly to fol­low­ers is one of the best ways to form rela­tion­ships. You of course need inter­est­ing con­tent and great pic­tures, but the one-on-one com­mu­ni­ca­tion is vital, espe­cial­ly when you’re start­ing out on social.  Engage­ment with fol­low­ers shows you’re an authen­tic per­son and care about estab­lish­ing a rap­port with peo­ple, not just build­ing your fol­low­er count.

SOURCE: Entre­pre­neur