You’ll pay about $50 for a marketing strategy designed by an anonymous marketer on Fiverr while world-renowned entrepreneur Gary Vee would bill close to six figures for a 60-minute presentation sharing his marketing knowledge. As we approach 2022, it’s clear that a strong personal brand is a solid business asset.
More and more, entrepreneurs are also starting to see their personal brand as an investment that requires a consistent input of your time, money and energy for greater returns.
If you are planning to invest in your personal brand in 2022, having a clear investment strategy is crucial. Just like with stock-market or crypto investments, you can quickly whittle away your resources, chasing the next shiny object. Instead, take note of these five trends that will be important in the coming year.
1. Rise of new social platforms
2021 showed everyone the holy trinity of Facebook, Instagram and Youtube is not all as invincible as we thought — from the infamous Facebook blackout in October 2021 to court hearings involving Instagram’s top executives and rising censorship concerns involving all top platforms. In 2021, we’ve seen new social platforms gaining momentum. Some were driven by a particular community, like Discord, which got a wider spread thanks to the NFT crowd. Others, like Parler, became a space for people with specific political views. If in previous years we’ve talked about micro-influencers within “old” social-media platforms, 2021 deepened this trend, and now we are talking micro-platforms, for specific communities.
With news like Rumble preparing to go public, or Donald Trump planning to launch his own social-media platform, we can only expect this trend to continue in 2022. However, it does not mean you need to triple your marketing team and try to be everywhere. Find the platform and go deep on it, creating original content that best fits the platform’s format.
2. Time to take entertainment seriously
The golden marketing rule says that your content plan should balance valuable educational content with entertainment and inspiration. Some consultants would go as far as establishing proportions of all three of these elements. And then come TikTok users, who smash these proportions with silly challenges like barking at your dog.
While all the dancing and completing challenges might seem a bit too silly, the head of Instagram Adam Mosseri said that the platform is embracing a paradigm shift where users are asking for more entertaining video content.
Back to the idea of treating your personal brand as an investment: You want to be investing in a space that’s experiencing natural growth. At the moment, those are entertaining Tiktok videos and Instagram reels.
You don’t need to sign up for dance classes; just look at the products and services you offer from a different perspective. Think of fun comic situations your target audience experiences and turn them into short videos. And there’s good news: Those are meant to be made on the go and being imperfect is considered an advantage.
3. Make space for deeper (and longer) conversations
When Clubhouse first came around in late 2019, early adopters would spend hours and days on the platform, forgetting to eat and shower. Even though the interest in the platform plummeted rather quickly, Clubhouse stumbled upon a big gap in the market: the internet needs a corner for longer conversations, and audio seems to be a great medium for it.
Facebook is launching audio rooms, Twitter introduced Spaces and the number of podcast listeners has been on the rise since the beginning of the pandemic. We are used to hearing that attention span is getting shorter, yet the formats that offer a space for a bigger conversation seem to be gaining popularity. When you’re building a strategy for your personal brand in 2022, make sure you have a space for deeper conversations with your audience. It might be a podcast, Facebook group or weekly Instagram live.
4. Change “inspirational” to “relatable”
Instagram favors stories over posts. Facebook favors groups discussions over page posts. The pendulum is swinging away from the perfectly polished image and inspirational content and towards solving problems in real life with the support of the community. Even social-media formats that are gaining popularity point towards the change in sentiment. Regardless of the platform you choose, examine the ideas and messages you share.
Being an opinion leader does not mean having it all figured out and showing your perfect “after” picture. The world is changing fast, and often your leadership is needed to ask the right questions or open up about challenges you and your company currently face. Showing your audience the “behind the scenes” of your results or even initiating open discussions with your community will win you more brownie points in 2022.
5. Unite people around a cause and values
Twenty years ago, your personal views on social issues had nothing to do with your professional skills as, for example, a photographer. Today, they can easily become a deciding factor that would repel some potential clients while turning others into your true fans. Studies show four in five customers choose brands aligned with their personal values. The same applies to followers of your personal brand.
Even if your environmental views have no direct connection to the quality of your photography, don’t be shy about integrating your purpose and values into your personal-brand strategy. Your values can motivate people to choose you over the competition.