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It is crucial to pay attention to all the variables and to be
able to influence anthem so as to make brand connection that will be conducive
in your brand image; otherwise those connections will not be effective and in
some cases will cause an opposite effect to damage your personal brand. This is
one by effectively establishing yourself to the mass’, finding your niche,
networking to all your connections, then capitalizing on all the connections,
bonds, partnerships, and friendships built along the way.

Keywords: Branding, Personal Brand, Niche,
Establishment, Networking, Culture, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Trump

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 Personal Branding is a key aspect, it is
increasingly useful and expected of the rise of the millennial generation and
those coming after them. When starting a personal brand, there is an additional
amount of effort that must be completed rather than just showing up on a
particular platform. This is because your personal brand is the practice of
people marketing themselves and their careers as brands rather just another
resume or social media account, this is what is known as “self-packaging”
(Lair, Daniel J.; Sullivan, Katie; Cheney, George (2005)).

First and
foremost, the layout of social media platform is the first impression people,
and potentially a sponsor or employer will see. For many students in college,
it is often thought you can just send someone your resume and that may land you
a job, but as reiterated from above; in these times, people aren’t just looking
at resumes. Personal branding is a lengthy process and during a student’s
college career is the prime time to make sure this digital representation of
him or herself is one that will show off the best image.

Establish Yourself.

yourself as a brand is more than just thinking about “who you are.” A key to
this is finding all the strengths & weakness. The best way to determine
your personality is to use a SWOT Analysis (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities,
and Threats). A SWOT analysis can be used in any decision-making circumstance
when the anticipated final-goal is clear (Humphrey, Albert; December 2005). This is key to finding what makes you
stand out and how you are personally unlike the crowd, these traits are what
will make the difference.

Example: Donald Trump

Having an established name is the essential
goal of the constant process of building your personal brand. This is what people
will find when they google you on the internet. Like many celebrities and
business,’ a chosen image or statement will leave an impression in the mind of
others about your brand (Creating Your Personal Brand – Los Ellis 2009).
Real-estate giant, celebrity host of the Apprentice, and now President of the
United States, Donald Trump is one of the greatest examples of this use of a
personal brand. His name is extremely established, thus, his name is a powerful
personal brand. When people see “Trump” written on hotels, golf courses, wine,
or even jet planes or his daughters fashion line; it demands respect to a sort.
We all know the name Trump and the wealth and success behind it. This brand
name was a leading factor to Donald Trump’s presidential victory.

Own Personal Image

In my own personal brand, I like to establish
myself in the running community. My focus has been through Twitter, but I am
slowly moving my way into using YouTube and a WordPress blog. I started my
social media growth after sending off a series of running history tweets. These
tweets focus on Track and Field history, as well as, cross country running,
training, and other related gear in running. After the success of the I Play
Track Foundation, I used that follow-ship to foreword my followers into my
running career and new branding on WordPress and YouTube.

My charity, the I Play Track Foundation, was
the brain child of one of my hobbies of giving back to the running community
and a tweet that went viral. I once tweeted; “I can’t wait to play track this
season,” and the tweet got famous with thousands of retweets, favorites, and
quotations. This is due to the fact runners do not play running, or play track.
Now, I had already been handing out my old track spikes or shoes I hardly wore and
gave them to kids who could not afford brand new shoes, so this decision to
create a charity was simple. With the tweet getting popular, I saw the
marketability and brand image potential in it; thus, I named my charity after
it. I have been called out at local cross country races as the “I Play Track
Guy” on a few occasions all due to social media.

Find Your Niche

In order to find your niche, you must find a
specific areas that drive set you apart and motivate you. This is what will be
key to marketing your own personal brand. “Niche marketing identifies a
specific segment of an overall market and then tailors a marketing plan to the
habits and preferences of that market segment” (Marketing My
social media plan is focusing on my Ultra-Marathon Career, thus the trail
runner and outdoorsmen community, ( On the
other hand, immediate tweets about training and running history are primarily
on my twitter account (@JustRunFuller). My charity is strongly Facebook based
and now loosely Twitter based, however, although, all my social media will
direct you toward the charity.

My Niche

Like all athletes, runners seem to fit under
one umbrella, or in this case the niche of running. The niche I focus my social
media on are the following; Trail Running, Track and Running History, and
Training. Each of these niches pull from different demographics; for example
the Track and Running History can reach into a large group of users. This is
due to the fact of motivation and awe from younger runners, and nostalgia from
older runners.

The photo below is the tweet I sent out that
feeds to this group, certainly a niche inside of the greater niche of running.
On the birthday of Steve Prefontaine, I sent out a tweet about his career. This
is attractive to the younger generation as he a legend to sport of runners and
is the most popular name young runner hear about, but, since he died at the
tender age of 24, many older generations recall seeing or hearing about him


tweet resulted in; 119 retweets; 243 likes; and over 30 quotations, which were
them viewed by more follow bases. The tweet itself brought about 19,573
impressions with just over 2,000 total engagements, of that, nearly 400 people
continued on to click onto to my twitter page and I gained 81 total new
followers based of this single tweet.

this tweet was followed up with a WordPress post. 342 people from twitter (not
including Facebook or LinkedIn) then went on to view the post from following up
and read the WordPress post. This means only 58 people decided not to read on.
For as low-key as my social media account is at this stage, that tweet was
fairly success, especially from the follower gain.

This tweet and its success in my books was an
example of successful niche marketing as it was targeted based on certain
characteristics, such as demographic of my follower base.

Engaging and Identifying the Culture

Once you find
your niche, the best way to become known is to get involved in numerous groups
and activities. It is ok to let people who you are and what you are about. This
is another way get your name out in the community and to network. Every niche
has a specific culture.

culture is defined by the passion shared among individual runners for the sport.
There is a sense of belonging through the mutual understanding of the
challenges and rewards faced by every runner. We all know what it feels like to
run an incredible race. We also know what it feels like to be injured and
temporarily unable to train. We also all know how to appreciate the little
things, like a great training run or meeting split goals in the workout. These
shared experiences build incredible empathy within the community, which is why
the community is so encouraging.

encouragement within the running community is shown through the excitement of
the crowd. There is never quiet at meets and races while people are competing.
The adrenaline rush experienced as runners pass by both friends and strangers
cheering them on is indescribable. There is no greater feeling than this.
Strangers cheer on strangers and competitors even offer words of encouragement
as they pass by sometimes. Yes, some people are in it for the win, but everyone
is there because they love the feeling of pushing themselves to their limits
and testing their physical and mental strength.

is a major shared value of the community. Runners are so physically tough. They
endure weather of all types, even when they should probably stay inside for
their own safety. Workouts and long runs test each person’s limits as they are
driven to the breaking point and then keep pushing anyway. They run up
mountains, sometimes just tough hills though, and don’t stop, regardless of the
burning pain in their calves. Runners also have to be mentally tough to endure
all this. They keep fighting through that voice in their head that tells them
to stop. They conquer their own minds: their biggest opponent. For that reason,
running is freeing. Runners power up hills and through bad days and come back
stronger. They work through their problems and release stress, all while
staying fit. Regardless, all runners free themselves from the constraints
placed on them by the rest of the world and take time to take care of
themselves. In that freedom they find peace, this is the culture that defines
what my niche is.



Networking are essential to the social branding;
they’re an excuse to start a conversation and continue on a relationship both
friendly and professionally. Once you’ve made a solid network connection and
they visit your site or platforms, they’re there to celebrate your social media
and update, and you should capitalize on it.

attending events, which I like to do often, I like to meet race directors and
race winners. They’re probably pretty successful, and definitely know more than
I do. This is why I always find an excuse to talk to them wherever I can.

is a great place to connect with coaches and other athletes, just as using the
proper Facebook groups associated to your niche. Connect with everyone, send
people respectful messages asking to learn more about their work, and maintain
those relationships. It will show you have a take-charge attitude and it will
get you noticed, this will lead to more traffic to your page. n

My Networks

For myself, I am a
member of over 100 running related groups over Facebook, this allow me to keep
up with the latest and greatest of running trends. This also allows me to post
strategic advertisement, blog posts, and polls in the proper running niches and
groups that relate to what I am attempting to run a campaign on. I am also a
member of around 30 or so LinkedIn running and coaching affiliated accounts,
the same rule goes for these groups I am associated with.


Over my
career, I have been coached my numerous people from a professional marathon
runner, Mark Looney to Bob Schul, who won the Olympic Gold medal in 5000m in
1964. This connection with Bob Schul has lead me into contact with other
running Olympians and World Record Holders such as Jim Ryun, Billy Mills,
Maurice Peoples, Mel Pender, and many, many others. This mutual connection also
allowed me to meet and train under former world record holder Johnny Gray, which
then lead me into a friendship with Olympian, Duane Solomon. Through my cross
country career I have also connected with many coaches all over the country
from many within our conference, Lynn, Nova Southeastern, Tampa, and Florida
Southern; to those outside our conference such a former Olympian Steve Spence
and into smaller schools such as IU-East. I was also able to make positive
connections with Pat Reagan who coaches over at SCAD – Savannah and is a
professional Ultra-Marathon Runner and an American 100k Champion. Reagan now
aides in my training for the Ultra-Marathon and it was my impression upon him
at a local college meet is where we met.

running, this has also been an extension of my charity where I have made
connections with folks who have either donated to the charity or have requested
shoes. I have several coaches who also have podcasts that I have made use of,
as well as, a radio station. It has also given me connections to several race
directors and events that I have special access too. This has been a big plus
into myself getting free media attention due to cross promotion or just charity
affiliation, free race entries, and becoming a member of the planning committee
by invitation.

running isn’t the only connection I have, I have also used my rank of Eagle
Scout in the Boy Scouts of America to excel myself and my personal brand in the
scouting community. These networks landed my three jobs and many contacts
across Saint Leo University, and the Tampa, St. Pete and Sarasota area. This,
along a few very responsive and active Facebook communities, I have been able
to branch out and more connections across the country. One of these
connections, an Eagle Scout from North Carolina, I was able to connect with and
spend the weekend free at their house to go hiking and running. The only fee
for me to stay was to teach and do a merit badge session for the local troop he
was in charge of. This was one of my best examples of connections I have made
outside of running, I will later on continue to do these connections as I must
travel for my running career.


Personal branding for
me is considerably formative, as I am still growing and attempting to build up my
audience greater. When I look at the analysis over my social media account, @JustRunFuller,
as of 7:36 PM on January 30th, 2018 my tweets over this 28 day
period, I earned roughly 11.6K impressions per day. Of this audience and my follower
base, reportedly 54% of theme show interest in running and jogging, while 53% show
interest in sporting events and 42% show interest in sport news. This is followed
by sport themes at 39% and Olympics at 32%. When it comes to television interest,
81% of my followers report at “sports themed.” The number one interest group according
my follower analytics was music at 57%, this is definitely reflective at the average
age and education level of my follower base. 59% of my follower base is between
18 and 24 years old, while 25 to 44 years old adds up to only 34%, of course this
is reflective to the 55% of audience showing up as “completed high school” level
and 31% at “completed college” level. This is thus, reflective into why Twitter
is my most effective social media. Due to the age and interests of my followers,
my analytics report as the consumer habits of 76% of my followers as “quick and
easy” with spending habits at 70% for regular credit cards and 61% for premium credit
cards, as compared to only 17% choosing other methods. This is why 140 character
tweets is the most effective platform for my base based on age and interests. 

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