Build your Personal brand

Allie Thompson/Fourth Estate

Sydney Cole holds a presentation on personal branding through social media


In an age where social media has touched the lives of almost everyone, it is important to use the platforms available to build and promote your personal brand.

On Thursday, Feb. 21, a workshop was held in the MIX headed by Sydney Cole, a candidate for a master’s in communication as well as a graduate professional assistant at SP@RC Lab. This resource is useful for students looking to further their research and design. The workshop was about how to build your personal brand through social media platforms, specifically LinkedIn and Instagram.

Personal branding is the promotion of “your unique set of skills and experience,” Cole said.  Those who benefit, such as CEOs, entrepreneurs and job seekers, do well by promoting their personal brand through social media. Not only could it help one find a job but also make, as Cole said, “one-on-one connections” with people in their field. There are several platforms available to kick off a personal brand, such as blogs, podcasts and social networks.

Case Kenny, the founder of, a personal development blog and podcast, is one example of a successful personal brand. To kick off his brand, Kenny utilized the platforms available to him to reach an audience with the same interests as his.

“He is really great at promoting his passions,” Cole said. “Social media can be accessed by anyone.”

The emergence and rise of social media networks fundamentally changed the way in which people can promote their brands, as social media’s influence is only growing. “71 percent of businesses use Instagram, compared to less than 50 percent in 2016,” Cole said.

Using social media tools to build a brand “enhances brand recognition and thought leadership,” Cole said. It is also important in building trust and credibility. In this case, one should “brag, but don’t exaggerate or lie because it will come back to bite you,” she said.

When it comes to biographies, it is essential to have a few versions for different profiles. Also, take advantage of character count because “it might seem like a lot, but it’s not,” Cole said. The use of hashtags and keywords can also be used to a brand’s advantage.

Besides Instagram, LinkedIn is also a great platform to promote a personal as well as professional brand. “Recently, I reached out in LinkedIn [to] someone in Brightest Young Things…for a potential internship,” Cole said. “They referred me to someone, and it was great.”

When it comes to actual content, there are several things to consider. For instance, Cole said that “your content should be accurate and customer-focused.” Find an audience that is interested in the same passions and get a broader reach in that way. Additionally, timely content which uses “current events, pop culture and holidays” as ways to attract audiences is also useful.

“Develop content, use ads and share articles [on LinkedIn],” Cole said. These are fundamental activities on LinkedIn when building a brand. For instance, “a person I’m connected with shares articles related to her company … now I know what [her company] is,” she said.

Being active on a social media platform is essential to maintaining an audience as well as reaching more people. “When people know who you are, it’s easier to have outreach,” she said.

“[The presentation] was very in-line with what I have been reading, and [the information] was expanded,” Ashley Hill, a graduate student studying communication, said.

The LinkedIn component was also very informative. “[I] really liked that [Cole] talked about LinkedIn,” Hill said. “I didn’t know a lot about it.”

Social media is “pretty easy to use and free to use,” Cole said, which is why it is important for those looking to build and expand their brand to use these platforms to their full advantage.