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Social Proof: Predictions About The Future of Personal Branding

We explore predictions about the future of personal branding through the expert opinions of Social Proof interviewees and my own thoughts based on general market trends.

5 min read Flow
Tamilore Oladipo
Tamilore Oladipo Content Writer @ Buffer

Personal branding has become an increasingly important aspect of successful career growth. It’s a big part of why we created Social Proof, our series tackling the topic. We interview amazing individuals with different goals who grew their brands on social media to further their career and business prospects. Thanks to social media, individuals have more control than ever over how they present themselves to the world. As the landscape of social media continues to evolve, the future of personal branding will be shaped by these changes.

In this article, we will explore the future of personal branding through the expert opinions of Social Proof interviewees and I’ll be making my own predictions based on general market trends. Stick around to dive into the developments that are set to shape the way we think about personal branding in the coming years.

Creators will need to find a balance between authenticity and oversharing while creating an identity of their own

People are increasingly wary of buttoned-up, “professional” content that doesn’t feel genuine. So Fadeke Adegubyi emphasizes that “Anyone building a personal brand should lean into authenticity.” However, it’s also vital to find the balance between authenticity and oversharing. Resist the temptation to give away every detail of what happens in your workplace, and get up to speed on HR’s guidelines for what can and cannot be shared.

Fadeke also shared that people need to build identities outside of their employers, and in a recent edition of The Jungle Gym, Peter Yang echoes this idea. He shares three questions that people might start to ask themselves:

  • What's my zone of genius?
  • What's my long-term goal?
  • What's my plan to get there?

As the economy and tech industry go through another shift, more people will look inwards and ask themselves who they are separate from their employer and how they can craft an identity that is wholly theirs.

In-depth content will be more valuable than short social media posts

You can grow a large audience on a social media platform, but how are you going to achieve the goals of personal branding like showing your expertise and providing value upfront to keep the professional opportunities coming? Jack Appleby says, “If you're building a personal brand based on a profession or your business expertise, there is immense value in having content that is deeper than a single social media post. Twitter is great, but 280 characters on their own only go so far.”

Whether it's a newsletter, an encyclopedic YouTube video, a Twitter Note, or a deck that you've shared online, creating an in-depth piece of content on a channel that you own is where you can go from someone who's in the space to someone who's provided value. In tandem with this idea, turning large pieces of content into smaller chunks for repurposing on different platforms where you might not need to make as heavy an investment will also become part of the personal branding future.

Personal branding will become more permissionless

As people explore and expand what personal branding and content creation mean to them, the means of creation will become permissionless. That means you will be able to easily start growing your personal brand using any method you choose. Social media might be the primary way people build a personal brand, but we will start to see more people evolve how they communicate themselves online.

Steph Smith shares, “... all of those forms of content [newsletters, podcasts, Twitch streaming, YouTube videos] plus new ones are going to be part of people's personal brands. Of course, in a given creator, they're not going to have a personal brand across all those platforms, in many cases, but they're all going to be part of that future.”

You may become popular for sharing your expertise for free in a podcast that you publish through Anchor, writing Twitter Threads, or starting a Substack newsletter. Regardless of your choice, the barrier to entry for creating content to support your personal brand will go lower than ever. With access to diverse means of creation, you’ll be able to shift your focus to quality.

Personal branding will become like running a business

With most online creators, you may think that the people with huge platforms are doing so much work alone – that’s often not the case.

Tori Dunlap shares, “I think the future of personal branding will be much more like running a business. And that will also change how consumers think about brands. It will become more widely known and accepted that the people you see online likely have a team supporting their creative efforts, no matter how relatable they are.” In addition to adding legitimacy, developing a team and treating your personal brand like a business can help accelerate growth and mitigate creator burnout.

“There’s also an opportunity there for people to connect with a company and a mission to foster diverse thoughts, general diversity, and connection with many people around a particular mission,” adds Tori.

My predictions for the future of personal branding

I wanted to jump in and add my perspective here as well, having conducted several interviews on the topic and read a lot of research and opinions. It’s clear that the future of personal branding through social media will likely continue to evolve and change as technology and social media platforms develop. Some potential trends in the future of personal branding through social media include:

  • Increased use of artificial intelligence and automation: We will begin to see increased use of AI and automation in personal branding on social media. For example, AI-powered tools and bots could be used to help manage social media accounts, support content creation, and engage with followers.
  • Continued growth of video content: Video content is already an important part of personal branding on social media, and this is likely to continue in the future. Already educational and tutorial/how-to content are popular among 30 and 27 percent of Internet users respectively. And as technology improves and more people have access to high-quality video production tools, we can expect to see more engaging video content across social media.
  • Growth of the multi-hyphenate: More people will integrate and communicate all their skills and interests as one career instead of separate parts. We will see more YouTubers with a day job as product designers or fashion house owners as newsletter creators. This is the idea behind Polywork (aka LinkedIn’s younger sister) – to help communicate every part of your personal brand.

Overall, the future of personal branding through social media is likely to be shaped by a combination of technological advances, changes in consumer behavior, and shifts in societal attitudes toward privacy and data security.

By staying attuned to these changes and adapting to them, individuals can ensure that their personal brand remains relevant and effective in the digital age. As our experts and research have shown, personal branding is an exciting and dynamic space full of possibilities for those who are willing to embrace it.

💡 Start building your personal brand in Buffer today! Document your ideas, create drafts based on them, and schedule your content all in one place.

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