Sedona's Top 5 Tips for Building Your Brand
Over the past year I have learned so much from social media - how to present myself online, what defines good content, and most importantly what are the best ways to relate to fans. I have built my social media following to millions while building a set of morals that I hold myself too.
Here are my main takeaways from the last year:
I started my social media journey when I was injured and in one of the darkest times of my life. I had broken my leg, was unable to play, transferred, and had just been ruled ineligible to play for another season when I decided to start sharing my stories and laughs on the internet. I shared details of my injury and how much it impacted my mental health. I cried. I opened up. This level of vulnerability has taken practice and I remind myself again and again that it’s okay to be my true self in front of millions of people. I went from a depressed, injured, and broken kid to now someone that is able to finally feel seen. The types of things you are vulnerable about will also help you connect to the people that are supporting and surrounding you. I told my stories about breaking my leg and almost losing my life. I opened up about my past relationships and my mental health struggles. When my followers watch these videos of complete openness, I feel like it helps them connect to me in a way. The people that follow me see me as more of a friend than a public figure, and it’s because I am always 100% completely myself. It takes practice and work to do, but it does help fans and followers to relate to you off the court/field.
2) Dedication to posting
This might be one of the most difficult parts of this entire process but it is incredibly necessary in order to build your brand. Posting not only quality and thought-out content is important, but maintaining a routine of posting is needed in order to reach a larger audience. This was one of my biggest struggles when I first joined social media because I did not want to invest time in creating good videos. It will become stressful at times, but investing your time in this will pay off. For example, during the NCAA tournament last year I recorded and documented every second that I could, to give fans behind the scenes access and information. I was posting close to 5 videos a day, showing the food, schedule, funny videos with my teammates, and anything else I could think of. I wasn’t trying to have certain videos go viral, I just wanted to build a page where people could come and be invested in every video. I view my account as somewhat of a collection of my adventures, and I will frequently go back and relive my memories. Posting frequently keeps my followers updated on what and how I’m doing, and it allows them to follow my personal journey for as long as I decide to continue sharing. If you are struggling with posting frequently, challenge yourself to creating at least one post a day for a week. I used to do this every other week and for the week in between I would post whenever I felt like it was the perfect time to document something. This quickly helped me find a new appreciation for social media, and I continue to use this method when I am feeling unmotivated to post..
3) Posting meaningful content
The videos you post, the pictures you like, and any kind of business you represent immediately becomes a part of your brand. The main reason why I have built my platform is to speak on things I believe in and show the adventures of my life. Meaningful content can include anything from posting about a cause you support, to celebrating fellow teammates and other successful athletes. Every post matters and any interaction you create on the internet will build your image and show your fans the real you.
At the end of the day, this is your brand. It’s what you represent and the kind of person you want to be known as. I have so much pride in the brand I’ve built because I’ve put in countless hours of work. For nearly a year, I shot, edited, coordinated all of my own TikToks and learned so many things solely from my own struggles and experiences. I have now fallen in love with studying the analytics behind my viral videos and why they did well - Being able to keep each viewer engaged in my videos by only posting content that I am proud of. If I haven’t posted in a while, it’s usually because I just don’t have good content to post. I try not to force videos or scenarios and have now learned to take care of my mental health while also posting on social media. Being proud of yourself and your brand will keep you motivated to continue building a larger, wider, engaged following.
5) The Impact of an Athlete
If you do want to grow or build your social media account as an athlete, you must understand your initial value as an athlete first. When you wear a jersey or uniform for a program, you are uniting people to join and support not only you, but the institution you play for. Understanding the power in your voice and the impact you can have through your social media will affect the type of content you decide to put out and help you develop purpose to your brand.
All of these things are easier said than done. It takes practice to become skilled at social media and mistakes will be made along the way. If you remain transparent with your audience and set goals that you are willing to put time and effort into, it will pay off. Social media takes work. One viral post will not define your platform. Creating consistent and quality content will not only help you build your brand, but will also hopefully inspire you to take these morals into other aspects of your life.