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Insights from Alt Summit: Unleashing the Power of Personal Branding in Your Business

Amber L. Gray, female CEO of Trusty Oak, talking on her cell phone and wearing the Alt Summit conference T-shirt

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending my first Alt Summit, a conference tailored specifically for creative women entrepreneurs and content creators. This thoughtfully curated event brought together speakers and attendees from across the United States, Canada, and beyond. I was glad to be a part of it.

The conference centered around two major themes: embracing diversity and fostering burnout-busting self-care. These topics were featured in many keynotes, workshops, and round tables. I attended a range of sessions and found the most valuable and actionable advice in those focused on personal branding and social media.

One session that left a lasting impression was the panel discussion titled “Brand Mastery: Transforming Personal Influence into Money.” Here’s a brief recap of the top marketing takeaways for small business owners and freelance virtual assistants from this enlightening session.

Brand Mastery: Transforming Personal Influence into Money

In an era where consumers care more than ever about the people behind the brands they buy, personal branding is no longer a choice for founders and freelancers. Users of your product or service are doing their research before they sign up for your mailing list, book a call, or buy what you are selling. This means we must take an active role in shaping our own digital story. If you aren’t creating the narrative for your online presence, it doesn’t mean you don’t have one – it means that you aren’t in control of what others see about you when they Google your name or your company name.

Speakers on this panel included Jessica Abo, Aliza Licht, and Amy Nelson. They shared this insight summarizing why your personal influence matters:

Your personal brand is getting your name dropped in rooms you are not in.

With a strong personal brand that accurately reflects who you are and why you do what you do, your reputation can open doors for new opportunities and empower your network to contribute to the growth of your organization.

How does the public see you?

If you want to take control of your online presence, start by Googling yourself to see what comes up. You might also try searching via an incognito window in your browser so your own online activity does not influence the search. Take some notes about what you find and ask yourself:

Is self-reflection matching your public perception?

If things aren’t in alignment with your self-reflection or not much about you is coming up, here are some practical ways the panelists shared to elevate your public perception.

  1. Repetition is reputation. If you are like me, you may feel like you are saying the same things a lot. You may wonder if you sound like a broken record and feel that you need to get fresh ideas for more content topics. However, there is huge value in repeating yourself because what you talk about the most is building your reputation and your personal brand.
  2. Use the 1:5 Rule for social media posts. No one likes a bragger, and we’ve all unfollowed someone online who never stops selling. One simple way to ensure you don’t get muted is to post following the 1:5 Rule. For every one time you “toot your own horn,” amplify at least four other voices.
  3. Define your brand guardrails. Perhaps you’ve heard the advice to make a “not to do” list as a way to keep yourself focused on your goals. Similarly, it helps to have a list of topics you want to avoid when sharing online. To take that a step further, make a list of people online who make you cringe and why. This will give you a visual guide for staying true to yourself and creating valuable content your audience is craving.

For more educational resources on personal branding, follow my friend, Rusty Shelton, on LinkedIn and pick up a copy of his latest book, The Authority Advantage.

The insights I gained from attending Alt Summit were invaluable, particularly the emphasis on personal branding and how it can transform personal influence into business success. The tips from the session on brand mastery provide actionable strategies to help you take control of your online presence and elevate your public perception. I will be considering how to implement these strategies in my own business. 

Is personal branding an area you find challenging in your business? If so, consider how you can apply the panelists’ advice on repetition, the 1:5 rule, and defining your brand guardrails. Remember, building a strong personal brand is not only about shaping how others see you but also about opening doors to new opportunities. Stay true to yourself and your values, and don’t hesitate to reach out for additional resources to enhance your journey. You’re on the right path to building a powerful brand that can elevate your business to new heights. Keep pushing forward!

Want someone to help you elevate your personal brand presence on social media? We have a team of marketing VAs ready to help you.

Learn more about our social media and content creation services below. 

Amber Gray

Amber Gray is the founder and CEO of Trusty Oak, an Austin-based virtual assistant company providing administrative and marketing support to small business leaders, authors, and creative teams. A people-first approach to hiring, along with a scalable growth model have positioned Trusty Oak as a flexible, dependable, and affordable alternative to hiring administrative and marketing employees. In 2021 and 2022, Trusty Oak was named Freelancer Hiring Platform of the Year, and in 2021 Amber was recognized as Austin Business Woman of the Year.

Before founding Trusty Oak, Amber spent five years at a rapidly growing digital agency based in Austin, TX. Four of those years, she was responsible for hiring and leading both local and virtual teams while working closely with clients ranging from CEOs to bestselling authors to build their brand online. As VP of Operations, Amber helped lead the company’s growth to #15 on Austin Business Journal’s Fast50 List in 2014.

As a female founder and leader of a company that has quickly established a recognizably special culture within a non-traditional workforce, Amber has energized and empowered women from diverse professional and personal backgrounds to go against the grain of historically standard female roles in business, technology, and leadership. Trusty Oak provides an opportunity for experienced admin and marketing professionals to work independently as freelancers, but with a supportive internal network consisting of other ambitious and resourceful remote workers.

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