How to build a strong personal brand
When you're an entrepreneur, you are your business. This means that people will invest in you and your story, as well as your product or service. It's vital then that you develop a strong personal brand that feeds into your business story.
One entrepreneur who knows a thing or two about this is Ceyda (Jada) Sezer, who built a huge online following as a leading plus-size model, and has now released her own clothing range. Here she shares her tips for building an amazing personal brand. Follow Ceyda on Instagram and Twitter.
I was completing my final year MA in child psychotherapy and frustrated with the media’s effected on mental health, one’s image and self-esteem. Around this time, I began modelling and posting my images online.
At a UK size 16 it was a rarity to see a curvy girl in editorial pictures, let alone challenging diversity in fashion. Along with other change-seekers, a conversation and online buzz around ‘plus size’ models and inclusion began. I was then approached by a modeling agency, quit my job, and started modeling full time.
It became clear that social media enabled the opportunity to connect immediately with like-minded others. The online ‘plus size’ community that fused together contributed to the shift in fashion. It’s vital to find your tribe, and because there's power in numbers companies aren’t the only ones dictating what should be on the market.
Four years on, I’ve launched a high-end contemporary womanswear collection which spans from sizes 8- 24, with the key aim to merge mainstream and plus size markets and establis an ethos where every woman is equal. Social media has played a vital role in discovering this consumer need that not only I wanted, but so did thousands of others.
Where to start? Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
When I first starting modelling I began promoting my work as a model and body activist on Facebook. This platform tended to reach a huge variety of different people a few years ago. However, with the dawn of Instagram and Twitter, my Facebook demographic has shifted, now reaching people on average over the age of 30.
Instagram, the visual platform where your aesthetic speaks a thousands words, was perfectly suited for promoting my personal brand. My profile gained more traction because I wasn’t just a generic faceless product. I’d often post my outfit of the day, show behind the scenes on a shoot, and share the products I used. It was important to reveal a bit more personality beyond just modelling and campaigning. When launching my womanswear collection on Instagram I intend to post regular style tips, editorials, lay down shots, and more. It's vital to set yourself apart by keeping quality high; invest in a good camera or a photographer to shoot your product. Instagram is extremely saturated, so standing out is essential. Hashtag keywords that relate to your brand or picture so you can found.
My Twitter following grew organically by connecting with like-minded people, responding to their tweets, and engaging in relevant topics such as body confidence and self-esteem. I’d also redirect followers from my Instagram to my other social media profiles. My following grew when I kept my activity consistent, posted regularly, and engaged with my audience. Although each platform has a distinct communication channel it’s important to upload content simultaneously across all of your social media profiles. Doing so retains consistency and reaches your entire audience, especially those who prefer following only one of your profiles.
Be the expert in your field and find your tribe
I fully immerse myself not only in the plus-size modelling industry but in relative developments that occur within that, such as plus-size clothing brands, law and policy changes, and body activist groups. Being aware of your market helps you to connect with relevant people. Team-building is an essential part of your personal branding development.
Who are you? Be more then your product.
Defining exactly what your brand is and who you are is in a few words will keep you on brand. Consistent, clear aesthetics and visuals is great marketing, yet when your audience understands your personality that is when you’ve created a lifestyle. Often my followers will tag me in a female empowerment posts or a picture of themselves styled how I would wear something. Be more then a product. Anyone can replicate a product but not everyone can have your voice, your personality and attitude.
You want your audience to come to you page and feel clear about what your brand is and what your message is. Remember, keep your voice and narrative consistent. But don’t fall into the trap and be like everyone else - add value. What makes you different? Over the last four years, plus-size modeling has grown tenfold and most is promoting body confidence. This development is fantastic, yet my approach now has to differ in order to stand out and be interesting, which I’m hoping to achieve through the launch of my clothing line.