How Technology Kickstarted an Era of Personal Marketing

Over the past couple of decades, we’ve seen an explosion in personal branding and personal marketing efforts. People are developing personal brands, networking, and operating as independent individuals more than ever before.

But how did we get here and where does it go from here?

The Era of Personal Marketing

Today, there are many good reasons to build a personal brand and invest in personal marketing. For some people, it’s a basic career move; they want to look good for recruiters and job interviewers who are researching them for a potential position. For others, it’s a way of marketing their services to others; real estate agents, for example, have been marketing their faces and personalities for years.

There has always been at least some emphasis on making yourself look good for potential employers and potential clients. But today, you’re expected to have a robust social media presence and a digital marketing presence that supports your personality, your authority, and your potential fit with an organization.

How did this come about?

Key Developments

These are some of the key developments that led to the era of personal marketing in the first place:

  • Social media. One of the obvious developments is social media. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter make it trivially easy for a person to create a profile describing themselves and make that profile visible to the entire world. We can connect with billions of users who also use these platforms, interact with posts we find interesting, and showcase both our career achievements and our personalities at the same time. This wasn’t possible, at least not in the same way, before the mid-2000s.
  • Online research. Online research is a related, yet distinct development. Companies and individuals alike have nearly unlimited information available to them. When they want to make a decision about who to hire or who to work with, they conduct a quick Google search. If they find no information on a person, that person is immediately at a disadvantage.
  • Decreasing trust in institutions. It’s also worth noting that in the past couple of decades, trust in institutions has fallen. People are less likely to trust big brands, the government, and even nonprofit organizations, due to skepticism and fear of being manipulated. That’s why more and more people are turning to individuals they trust, rather than institutions made up of individuals. The power of the individual has therefore risen.
  • The rise of the influencer. A byproduct of many of these factors is the rise of the social influencer, a person who is collectively perceived as an authority on a given subject and with a sizable audience. Increasing trust in individuals and the sheer reach of social media support this paradigm. As a result, many companies and individuals want to work with influencers directly because they know how powerful they are – and many people strive to become influencers after witnessing the influential power they wield, resulting in cyclical interactions that drive the personal marketing machine forward.

Important Tips for Personal Marketing Success

If you’re going to thrive in an era of personal marketing, there are some important tips you’ll need to follow for success:

  • Separate your personal brand from your true identity. Your personal brand is something you can decide for yourself.
  • Remain authentic. That said, it’s important to remain sincere and authentic. Make use of your best personality traits.
  • Take advantage of multiple platforms. It’s not enough to create a LinkedIn profile on its own. Try to capitalize on many different marketing and PR platforms.
  • Build yourself as an authority. The more authoritative you look, the more trust you’re going to earn. Build yourself as an authority by getting featured in noteworthy publications and being associated with other influential figures.
  • Scrub unflattering information. Search for any unflattering information about yourself on the web and try to get it removed if possible.
  • Keep your information up to date. Always keep your profiles as up to date as possible to stay relevant.
  • Stick with the latest trends. Personal branding and social media technologies are always changing, so try to stay on top of the latest trends.

The Future of Personal Marketing

So what does the future hold for personal marketing? It’s hard to say. It seems unlikely that people will reverse their momentum, reducing trust in individuals and back toward institutions. It also seems unlikely that social media will go away, or that it will remain the same indefinitely.

Chances are, the trajectory of personal branding and personal marketing will evolve along the same lines as social media’s evolution. As social media begins to transform its format and as public perceptions of social media change, so too will our era of personal marketing.