Using Social Media to build your personal brand without making it a 24/7 Slog


This week, I’ve got good friend Christine Gritmon on the show. We sip on some coquito and have a good chat about using social media to build your personal brand.

I’ve just seen @laurapcreative #MwahTV episode on with @cgritmon! I now love COQUITO! Click To Tweet

C: In this episode of Mwah TV, it’s me, Christine Gritmon from Christine Gritmon Inc. Laura has asked me to be her special cocktail correspondent this week, so we’re doing a fully virtual episode from all the way here in Nyack, New York.

L: And I’m here in Newcastle.

C: Stick around to see me sharing my advice on how to use social media to build your personal brand without it feeling like a 24/7 slog

L: And don’t forget to share with everyone how we met.

C: So we met briefly at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego, California in 2017.

And we talked a little bit, but really

I just remember everywhere I saw you,

thinking, “I can’t get enough of this girl’s look,” this whole vintage thing, I just thought it was amazing. I also have a love of vintage but I’m nowhere near your level, girl. So I just, I remember noticing you everywhere we went.

And then of course, when I heard that we were both gonna be back in San Diego in 2018 I had to book a shoot with you.

This was, I think this might’ve been actually like my first branded lifestyle shoot, now I do a bunch of ’em but the fact is, I think this was the first one where I was really like, “You know, I’m ready to step into my brand and sort of own it.”

And you were the perfect photographer to capture that. First of all, you get the retro vibe and feel second of all, you’re really fun. We also just vibed, I mean, you’d have an idea and I’d instantly be game for it.

Doing yoga in the middle of the street, Christine Gritmon holds tree pose in San Diego Gaslamp District for her headshots session with Laura Pearman

I’d have an idea and you would know the best way to possibly shoot it, we were just sort of wandering around this neighbourhood that neither of us knew terribly well and just finding all of the best spots, finding all the little hints of red here and there.

A Batman Logo encrusted laptop moment of christine at gaslmap district in San Diego for her headshots with Laura Pearman Photography

I mean, we even waited for like a trolley train to pass by because it was, of course, red. It was such a great shoot that when I came up to Newcastle in 2019 for ATOMICON.

Event Photography Inspiration - Atomicon 2019

I made sure to book a shoot with you and I will again the next time we’re on the same continent.

L: Yes, that’s right. I am still massively in love with that photo we got with you and the red train when we did that shoot together.

Walking with powerful San Diego Trains, Christine walks in tandem with the train for her San Diego Headshot by Laura Pearman Photography

Christine, please tell us which cocktail you selected to accompany your Cocktail Correspondence for this week’s episode.

C: Today, I’ve made a little something called coquito.

Some people call it Puerto Rican eggnog.

It is not eggnog, they’re both creamy drinks with some alcohol in them but it’s not eggnog. For one thing, some people do make coquito with an egg yolk.

I am not in that camp, I do not make it with eggs, lots of actual Puerto Rican people do not make it with eggs, so I feel like it’s still legit.


So coquito is really easy to make, it’s so simple, it’s just the ingredients

  • So you’ve got sweetened condensed milk,
  • you’ve got evaporated milk,
  • some cream of coconut,
  • then coconut milk,
  • you’ve got some vanilla,
  • some cinnamon
  • and of course, you need your rum.
  • And you just dump it all in the blender it really couldn’t be simpler.
  • You wanna chill it in a glass vessel.

A vessel with a top, ideally. Like, if you have any old liquor bottles, that’s probably perfect. And once you’re done chilling it you really wanna give it a good shake before you drink it, ’cause it does separate a little bit, but I mean while you’re drinking it, it’s just fabulous.

L: How beautifully seasonal. I’ve mixed one to go with us as well, so cheers, babes.

C: So I started drinking coquito because we had a friend who’s from Puerto Rico and she makes it every Christmas and gives bottles to her friends and at some point, we had very much loved being on the coquito gift list, but at some point we said “Why don’t we figure out how to make this for ourselves?” And when we found out how easy it was, we’re like, “All right, this is a year-round thing now.”

And I just like drinking it from my Waterford crystal glasses, ’cause it makes me feel fancy. I really love coquito because it tastes like melted ice cream with a kick of coconut.

So like melted vanilla-coconut ice cream, I guess.


L: Christine, you’ve got the magic blue tick on a couple of your social media platforms haven’t you? How did you go about getting them and do you plan to bag any more?

C: So I would love to say that I have my blue checkmarks because I’m a super important social media person but they actually happened when I was a journalist.


A journalist is considered a public figure, so first Facebook, I had to apply myself and they have real people evaluating the verification request, so the first time I applied, I did not get it and I was really annoyed ’cause the guy a couple of cubicles away, got it, and I’m like, “Why does he get it?” But then I applied again and a different person, I guess, looked at my application and decided that I was worthy.


Twitter, I’ve got no idea. Twitter I didn’t have to apply for, my company, applied for it. The huge newspaper conglomerate I was working for at the time, they got me verified on Twitter and with both Facebook and Twitter, again, I was verified because I was a public figure, because I was a journalist.

I got those check marks in 2015, 2016, I quit to start Christine Gritmon Inc. but I guess I stayed sufficiently interesting online that they never got the memo that I wasn’t important anymore. Instagram is a trickier nut to crack. I’m not even really trying, I have applied for Instagram verification here and there just ’cause why not?

But I’m not gonna get it and here’s why.

On Twitter and Facebook it goes to public figures, figures of public interest and journalists fit under that, however, on Instagram, there’s plenty of way more important People who do not have a checkbox because with Instagram it’s all about if you’re likely to be impersonated. If you’re a huge brand, if you’re a really big-deal person, are there people going on there pretending to be you? Or could there be?

So Facebook and Twitter it’s, “Hey this person is of public interest,”


Instagram it’s, “Hey, this is the real one.”

So that said, I’m not really losing a lot of sleep over not having that Instagram blue checkmark. I’m not gonna get it, that’s fine.

L: When it comes to social media how do you build your personal brand then?

C: By going on lovely people’s shows and holding a cocktail and being sparkling?


No, but seriously, we all have a personal brand.

If anyone in your life has ever said to you that they saw something in a shop or saw something on TV

and said,

“Oh my goodness this was so you,”

that’s where it begins, that’s kind of the beginning kernels of your personal brand, ’cause your personal brand is really what other people think of when they think of you but also the things that make people think of you.

And it doesn’t have to be related to what you do,

I mean, you shouldn’t make it a mystery that they have to suss out, but your personal brand and what you do for a living they can be completely unrelated things, you are what make them related.

So it’s about finding those elements of you that stand out to other people or that you would like to stand out to other people and just kind of amping those up to 11.

You wanna figure out how to present them consistently, clearly, and in a way where anytime you post something people could figure out that it was you who posted it before they even see the name on the post.

This can be a function of subject matter, it can be content type, it can be sort of tone of voice, it can be something to do with imagery. There’s a lot of different ways to put your own personal stamp on things.

It’s all about being uniquely, recognisably, genuinely you in a way that resonates with other people. I help people tease out what some of those elements might be and figure out how to present them on social media.


I do this through courses, through one-on-one coaching and through group workshops.

L: Now, I know that you are a big fan of getting big results with as little effort as possible, same as me.

Have you got any advice and top tips for people who want to build a personal brand on social media without making it a 24/7 slog?

C: If it’s fake, it will be a slog.

If it’s boring, it’ll be a slog.

If you’re presenting it in a way that you don’t really enjoy doing, like in a type of content that you don’t really enjoy creating but you feel like you should, or you have to, it’s gonna be a slog.

Figure out what you really love, how you can be known in a way that is so genuine to you that keeping it up doesn’t really feel like any work at all and then put the work in to become really, really good at it.

Our friends, Andrew and Pete have what they call the 90:10 rule.

THE 90:10 RULE

They say that you should be putting 90% of your efforts towards becoming remarkably good at one thing. Too many people feel like they have to be in all the places and doing all the things and they just kind of half-ass all of it.

That’s not only gonna burn you out, it’s also not gonna be as effective both from an energy perspective, a value perspective, but also from a personal branding perspective because which one of those 10,000 things are people really gonna know you for?

And if you find your 90, you can always repurpose it in a bunch of different ways.

So like you’ve put your work into making the 90 really, really good, and then you just spin off other types of content from that really good content-rich piece of content.


So I know that I have different people on different platforms and they like to communicate in a different way, and receive information in their own way. But if you put in the work once for sort of the mothership piece of 90 content, you or even people you hire can sort of take bits out of that really content-rich piece and spin them out. So for example, I love live video, and so something I’ve started doing this year is I have my live show but I have people helping me spin content out of that,


I have people helping me put together a little blog post with key highlights from that live stream, I have a little highlight video from that live stream, I can take little clips from that video and just kind of put them out into social media, make ads out of them, whatever I want, and it all comes from that piece of content.


I have a Twitter chat now too, but the Twitter chat and the live stream feed into each other because it all really comes back to that show piece of that live video that I do every week.

Join in with #CHATABOUTBRAND over on Twitter every Tuesday

L: So how have you used all of this advice that you’ve given us today to build your personal brand?

C: I’ve always taken pretty naturally to personal branding and part of that is because I’ve always known that one of my greatest assets personally, is that I’m likeable. It doesn’t mean that everybody likes me, but the people who do like me, I mean, it’s my personality, my personality just resonates with a lot of the right people.


So I always knew that putting that out there was gonna do nothing but help me, honestly. I’m cheerful, I’m supportive, I just have this vibe that the right people really, really like. And my favourite thing is when people who follow me online meet me in real life and they say,

“Oh my God you’re exactly like you are online,” like yes!


And in fact, I actually check in sometimes with people in my real life and confirm that I’m still being me in my online persona, it’s me to like 11, but it’s me and that’s a really important thing to me because I do a lot of real-life-in-person things.

I go to conferences and events, I go to local networking events, I’m around in real life, so I really need to make sure that what I’m presenting as my personal brand and how I’m presenting myself online does square with who they meet in real life, because if it doesn’t, that demolishes trust.


So this is why I really like video, I really like making silly little animated gifs of myself.

It all kind of plays into how I am in real life, which is, I’m sort of everybody’s cheerleader, not like the cheerleader who was bitchy to you in high school, I mean like your actual sort of biggest fan, I’m cheering you on, I’m rah, rah,

I’m fun, I’m happy, and this is who you get in real life, folks. So video and animated gifs and things like that are a really good way to sort of convey my energy and people have really been taking notice of that.

So now that I’m taking personal branding more seriously as a part of what I do in social media strategy, I’ve been looking at this a little bit harder, because again,


Personal branding just kind of came naturally to me, just presenting myself to the world, but now I’m starting to give actual thought to sort of defining some of those elements a little better for myself so that it’s easier, honestly, to create on-brand content because I know what my brand is and it’s not fake, again, this isn’t about making something up, it’s about figuring out what are those narrow pathways that it’s kinda gonna be one of.

And it can always evolve and shift because I’m a human, I’m always evolving and shifting.


Laura, we were talking recently, and you introduced me to the concept of these five branding themes.

I know yours are:

  • Suki the cat,
  • cocktails,
  • that vintage life,
  • feminism,
  • and…. I’ve totally forgotten what the fifth one is

it’s travelling! No surprises why it has been easy to forget this brand theme of mine when we have all been indoors this year.

but (chuckles) basically it got me looking at my stuff and I’m not quite to the point where they’re defined yet, but one thing that this did for me that was huge is, I had been, there were some elements of me that I sort of hadn’t embraced as part of my brand ’cause I said, “Well, that has nothing to do with what I do.

I’m a social media strategist.

I really want that to be what I’m conveying all the time. No one cares that I’m a foodie, except they do, like that stuff,


If I look at my Instagram insights and I see the stuff that people are really reacting to and engaging with and resonating with. It’s not, “Here’s a social media tip,” it’s, “Here’s my dinner” and of course it’s on a red plate or something because I gotta be me, right?


But it’s also things like, anytime I post a picture of me in a bikini and it sounds obvious like, “Oh, Instagram, girl in a bikini,”


But here’s the thing. I am overweight. I don’t look it from like here up, but from here down, yeah, I got a gut and so I’m very open about the fact that I didn’t wear bikinis when I was skinny, but now that I have two kids, I’m pushing 40, I have a lot of extra pounds. Now I’m actually embracing that body positivity enough that I do wear two pieces. And so, body positivity kind of became part of my brand without me intending it.

I certainly wouldn’t have chosen that but I’m not gonna run away from it either.


Same with the foodie thing, there’s all sorts of things about me and my life that I’m realising, you know what?

This isn’t irrelevant to the right people.

And that’s what to think about when it comes to your personal brand.

Anything that lights you up people are going to see that light. They don’t care if it doesn’t have to do with what you do for a living. That’s your gateway in to say what you wanna say.

Whatever it is that resonates with other people that catches their eye and that is genuine, that’s your way in.

L: I’ve been your host Laura Pearman.

C: And I’ve been your cocktail correspondent Christine Gritmon.

If you enjoyed learning about how to use social media to build your personal brand here with me today, then you are going to love these episodes from Mwah TV.

Oh, don’t forget to check out my channel too. (you can do that right here)

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L: Thank you, Christine, mwah!

C: Mwah!


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