Psychology-Backed Ways to Sell Yourself Online

| 4 min read

Have you ever found yourself reading through the reviews of mobile applications from other users before downloading them? This is exactly how personal branding works. When it is correctly done, your target audience will become interested and fascinated by what others have to say about you.

As a personal branding professional, Faari Akinola often works with qualified professionals. In this article, she talks about tips she shares with career professionals who ask her how they can strengthen their personal brand.


People Trust With Their Heart and Not Their Heads

When building a personal brand, you have to sell yourself. You need to sell your skills! Believe it or not, we make brand decisions from the point of view of others. In Psychology, It’s referred to as social proof; a phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect behaviour for a given situation.

Some unadvertised jobs/opportunities will be offered to you simply because someone has recommended your work.

Personal Branding Validates Your Claim

When people share how they feel working with you, your claim of intelligence and expertise in a certain field seems more justified as opposed to you singing your own praise.

Personal Branding Keeps You On Your Toes

All brands are keen on getting better reviews. Same applies to you. When building your personal brand, you will find yourself working to serve people better so that your recommendations become better. Reading personal branding books is another way to ensure you are moving in the right direction. Always strive to get better.

This brings us to the point where we ask, how do you go about getting these recommendations and positive reviews? Here are some hints:

1. When to ask for Recommendation

I always advise people to ask for recommendations when they have just completed a project/an assignment or reached a major milestone at work. This is because the impact is fresh and you can get better recommendations based on your part on the success and completion of the project. It’s ok and polite to ask within the first 2 weeks after the project has ended.

Happy at work

2. How to get Recommendations as a Professional?

Just ask! However, how you ask also matters in the equation of getting a believable and genuine recommendation. There has to be a deliberate focus on a specific aspect of your whole skilled self.

Say you want to promote yourself as a project manager or as a software developer, what you are asking must be tailored to that, otherwise, you would get a generic recommendation that doesn’t strike a chord other than filling space.

I created a template that works for me based on research and you would like to use it too.

3. Where to place your recommendation?

On social media platforms especially those that career professionals like you use? You can also add your recommendations as reviews on your personal website, industry boards, Facebook and most importantly, LinkedIn.

How to sell yourself online

4. Why You Should Give Recommendations

It’s not all about receiving recommendations. You should also give recommendations. Besides the fact that it is a form of good karma, you also benefit professionally by becoming visible on the page of the recommended. This helps the search engines find you easily.

It’s similar to the same power of attention you get when you troll someone on social media page – People seek undue attention for something unnecessary, why not put the same attention on something relevant. A great review makes your reviewer pique the interest of others reading the reviews.

Work experience

5. What to write in a Great Recommendation

Be Genuine and Sincere. This has been my motto on this journey of personal branding as a professional. Do not give generic recommendations. A good example of this is to write something like “Chidinma is a hardworking professional.” This is way too basic. Apply the same tactic from how you ask; tailor the recommendation to a specific aspect of the receiver’s skill set to make it relevant.

6. Personal Branding Don’ts

When building your brand, there are rules you should adhere to. They will ensure that you receive optimal results.

Never recommend people you haven’t worked with personally: This would be like giving a review for a product you haven’t used before – makes you a fraud really.

Do not give lame recommendations: It sends a wrong message about who you are as a professional.

Giving and receiving are great ways to leverage your professional story with respect to where you have been and what you have done.

When you recommend others, you get eyeballs on your profile. It is also a great way to sell your skills and personal brand without the nauseous feeling of bragging. Which of these tips have you tried?

Samod Biobaku
A Nigeria-based writer and blogger who has written and edited for top brands including The SUN, Punch, Newswatch,, Bigsam Media, Nigerian Bulletin, Swish Interativ, Hello Nigeria, National LIFE, iCampus, Jobberman and Cheki.


  1. Thanks for the write up. I have learnt two things. I am going to put it to practice going forward. May your well of knowledge never dry up.

  2. It was great reading about you. I am a boy who has your interest but in christ motivation when i speak people move from their comfortable zone..i am so broke came from a very poor back ground eating is a problem, so what will i do how did you start.

    • So sorry to hear about that but you need to gather your reviews and share on a platform that you have chosen…

      So how do people feel when they speak with you?

      Take that and showcase it then find a way to sell it- either by speaking gigs or positioning so that when people think about that topic, you come to mind!

      Shalom Bro!

  3. A very good piece Faari. Ekushe o!
    Simple, genuine and easily applicable principles in personal brand development!
    Thanks Faari!

  4. Personal branding is Planting who you are in the heart of others instead of their heads. Thanks so much for this perspective

  5. Nice write-up – straight to the point and easy to understand and also apply. Would love to meet with you and brainstorm as I’m currently in that mid-career rut

  6. Wow! I must say you’ve got me on this.. thanks for the piece because I found it more enlightening and educational to me… Trust, I’m gonna work with it.
    Thanks once again!

  7. Thank you so much madam.

    I learned a great deal from this article and I’ll put them to use. I just changed my job after getting a better offer. I think I need to improve my personal branding by getting recommendations from ex colleagues and so much more.

    I hope you’ll be a run-to person for professional advise?


  8. Great knowledge I’ve gotten from you, I’m about to go to into personal branding as well as selling myself and brand online. I will like to get more advice on how to get to my target audience. God bless you and add more to your wisdom. Thanks

    • Hello David.
      Your feedback is well appreciated. Please keep visiting our blog for more helpful tips on how to make yourself more relevant personally and career-wise.
      Best Regards.

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