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Influencer marketing vs. personal branding: what’s the difference?

Every influencer has a personal brand, but not every individual with a personal brand is an influencer.

Some people think that creating a personal brand is just another form of influencer marketing. In reality, influencer marketing is completely different from developing a personal brand.

Personal branding is the intrinsic representation of who you are and your business, while influencer marketing is a way of promoting your brand through collaborations with influential people. 

Influencer marketing is just one of the many ways you can increase brand visibility and brand awareness, depending on your goals, target audience and the type of content you need to create.

Creating a powerful online presence is crucial in standing out and promoting your business. Learning the benefits and process of influencer marketing can help you identify if this is the best route for you to promote your brand. 

Understanding the difference between influencer marketing and personal branding can also give you insight into how to further leverage your personal brand and ensure that your marketing strategies help you achieve your branding goals.

What is influencer marketing?

According to Sprout Social, an “influencer” is someone with sway over their target audience, having specialised knowledge, authority or insight into a specific subject. As implied by their name, influencers can sway their significant follower base on social media platforms.

Influencers can be anybody, as long as they have the reach and following to make an impact. So this can include bloggers, content creators or industry experts. This makes influencer marketing completely different from traditional advertising, which exclusively uses celebrity endorsements for marketing collaborations. With the rise of social media, you don’t have to be a movie star to become an influencer.

Some influencers partner with companies in the form of “influencer marketing”, which is a form of advertising that builds your brand authority and visibility by using the influencer’s existing reputation. These collaborations can include sponsored content, endorsements or free products in exchange for brand exposure.

Influencer marketing can be beneficial to a brand because of the instant access to credibility it provides for a business. It also allows a business to engage a wider audience base and potentially convert them into customers.

What is personal branding?

Personal branding is about how you want people to see you, and it’s focused on outwardly presenting values that you want people to associate with your brand and business. Your marketing efforts, whether that includes influencer marketing or not, are ways that you can reinforce your personal brand and increase visibility. 

By aligning your actions with your statements and promises, you can show people that your personal brand is authentic and credible. Your personal brand allows you to showcase your personality and expertise in a way that sets you apart from competitors and positions you as an authority in your industry. 

The main goal of personal branding is to create an impactful and lasting impression that will build trust and resonate with the target audience. We’ve previously discussed how personal branding can impact real estate agents: It enables agents to dominate in their industry and reach their target audience. Ryan Serhant and Gavin Rubinstein are just some of the agents who have made a name for themselves in the real estate industry. 

Understanding how these individuals harnessed their personal brand can help you in developing your own personal brand.

3 key differences between influencer marketing and personal branding

We’ve shortlisted three key factors to consider for influencer marketing and personal branding and how they compare to each other.

1. Goals   

The main objective of influencer marketing is to increase audience engagement with a specific product or service. Social data (e.g. likes, comments, shares on the post) can also be monitored by the influencer and their partnered brand to review how well the content performed.  

On one hand, you can tap into an influencer’s loyal and engaged audience and increase awareness for your brand while driving sales with the help of influencers.

On the other hand, you can have a more diverse range of goals when it comes to your personal brand. Examples of personal branding goals that you can set for yourself include:

  • Build an audience with your social media platforms
  • Increase your conversion rate with your audience
  • Overcome impostor syndrome and embrace your branding

Your personal branding goals can cover different areas of development in yourself and your business. Your goals can focus on building brand awareness, creating more content, or developing self-confidence as you promote your brand. 

Ultimately, personal branding aims to establish credibility and trust that will create opportunities, attract audiences, and build a strong reputation in the online space. Personal branding can bring success by helping your business become personable and genuine, encouraging your audiences to advocate your brand and purchase your products and services.

2. Intended audience

Influencer marketing is for businesses or brands who want to promote their products or services through influencers on social media platforms. Influencer collaborations help companies increase brand visibility, reach potential customers, and achieve marketing campaign goals. 

However, you need to remember whose best interests an influencer has in mind. While influencer marketing can work, it can be a hit-and-miss, depending on who you collaborate with. An influencer has their own personal brand to maintain, so their representation of your brand or your products and services on their platforms may not be completely accurate or satisfactory. 

An influencer also has a specific target audience that may not completely align with your brand’s target audience. 

Meanwhile, marketing under your personal brand gives you complete control over the intended audience you want to engage. Creating content directly on your social media platforms also ensures that you’re showcasing the best qualities of your personal brand online.  When you share your values and convictions, you attract like-minded people who can advocate for your brand.

3. Content

Influencers work closely with brands to create sponsored content that aligns with their branding and followers. Collaborations with brands often involve endorsing products or services through social media posts using official marketing campaign hashtags. These social media posts consist of short-form videos, photos, vlogs and blogs. 

Meanwhile, individuals with a personal brand create story-driven content, testimonials, and professional advice. Posting these types of content allows them to establish credibility and build strong connections with their audiences. 

There are different content ideas you can use for your personal brand; you can take inspiration from current events and trends and add value to your audience by sharing your insights about these topics. You can also talk about business solutions that are relevant to your field.

Having a solid content strategy and lineup of ideas will help you reinforce the persona you want to build for your brand.

Influencer marketing and personal branding are two terms often interchangeably used due to their surface-level similarities. While both approaches utilise social media platforms to establish a reputation and gain loyal audiences, they are distinct and independent from each other. 

Contact us today to discover how personal branding can help you differentiate yourself from your competitors.

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