What Shakira teaches us about Personal Branding

Image courtesy of facebook.com/shakira
Image courtesy of facebook.com/shakira

Personal branding is often defined as the practice of individuals marketing themselves, their achievements, and their careers as a brand. Every day, individuals are unintentionally building their personal brand. When you decide what to wear for the day, do you think about how others will evaluate you? You probably do when you are dressing for work or for a celebration. What we are doing in these situations is branding ourselves. When Facebook users post unique pictures of themselves, post a comment or share a news story, or wish their friends a Merry Christmas, they are gaining Social currency, which has become more important with the increase in Social Media usage. Social currency increases your followers’ chances of further Social Media interaction with your Social pages.

A perfect example of successful personal branding through Social Media is the internationally infamous singer, Shakira. Not long after her performance at the 2014 World Cup final, her Facebook page reached over 100 million likes.

Shakira became the first person on the planet to reach this milestone in July. However, it wasn’t just her performance that made her so popular. The singer has been utilizing her Facebook page since late 2007. She commonly posts life milestones like her pregnancy in 2012 and the birth of her child in 2013.

We are always branding on Social Media, whether we like it or not.
Granted Shakira’s page was created for the purpose of branding herself, it is still proof that personal branding is heavily affected by Social Media. Although this may seem obvious, many users do not consider the negative ramifications of their posts. We all have friends who have posted inappropriate images or text to their Social Media pages. This generally causes them to lose Social currency with other users. Ensure that your posted content is presentable, inoffensive, and not bothersome. Posting too often, or sending random friends Farmville invites to increase your in-game currency will quickly get you unfriended. No one wants to be bombarded by solicitations. Losing friends decreases the size of your network, so be careful of burning bridges.

Authenticity is important.
Many of Shakira’s posts on Facebook are unique and authentic. Her post on July 15, 2014, showed a picture that someone drew of her and her son. The post also thanks the person who created the illustration. People like to see authenticity in posts, especially on personal pages. Posts that make users seem more down-to-earth can truly help your personal branding attempts to appear genuine. Content updates on LinkedIn generally need to be more professional, however, on Facebook people like to see more personality. When Shakira reached 100 million fans, she posted a video thanking her fans. The video was not professionally edited, and Shakira is featured as an “everyday” person in typical clothing, which helps to add authenticity to her “Thank you” video.

Update your content constantly
Blogs are a great way to update your content. Find something interesting and thought provoking to talk about. Blogs are a good source for content updating because they allow for you to stay relevant. Make sure to update your Social Media pages regularly as well. Shakira is constantly updating her page with interesting pictures and news updates.

Keywords, Keywords, Keywords
The title says it all. Keywords are crucial to branding now that the Internet has grown so tremendously. Hashtags on Facebook and Twitter have made the process much easier and they help followers to recognize and categorize the post. Keywords and key phrases will also help people find you when using a search engine to inquire about you and your brand or related topics. Shakira uses keywords with hashtags on many of her posts as a form of promotion.

Passion gives you strength
Passion should drive you to brand yourself. After all, you should be passionate about your achievements and the events in your life that have placed you where you are today. One look at Shakira’s page and you can see what she is passionate about. She loves music, her family, and her non-profit organization. These passions help to drive her to keep posting interesting content. This concept applies to personal and regular branding. If you don’t show passion in your branding, how can you expect audiences to be interested in your brand?

When you successfully brand yourself, you increase your chances of becoming more hirable, interesting, and influential. These ideas also apply when branding a product, service, or an organization. Any exposure that audiences have to your brand can and will affect how those audiences perceive your brand. Personal branding is not something that can be fully achieved over night. A lot of time and effort was put into Shakira’s Facebook page over the course of six years to achieve 100 million fans. Personal branding through the use of Social Media pages is a labor of love, and one post at a time, you too can achieve Social branding success.

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