As an entrepreneur, you’re probably familiar with the term “building a brand.” Your marketing and advertising dollars are at work right now, doing just that. But you may not be quite as familiar with the concept of building a personal brand.
What Is a Personal Brand?
Your personal brand is unique to you. It’s what people see when they do a Google search on your name. It’s the impression they have of you when they hear your name or come in contact with you in some way. Your personal brand is just like your company’s brand, but it’s, well, personal. It captures the essence of you — what makes you who you are, different from anyone else.
You can use a personal brand to your benefit or detriment. If your personal brand is good, people like you and what you stand for, you have a positive image, and people you’ve done business with say good things about you, that’s great. You can use your brand to create more business. But if your personal brand is negative — think of pro football players who get themselves into legal trouble — it can hurt your business.
A solid personal brand is a mixture of talent and personality. It’s uniquely, authentically you.
Why Build a Personal Brand?
A good personal brand has many benefits. It connects you with others and brings in more clients. When people agree to meet with you, they already have a favorable impression because they’re familiar with your brand — and they like what they see. A personal brand also helps establish credibility in your areas of expertise. If you’re looking for a new job, it may give you an edge, and if you’re already working, establishing a strong personal brand may help you secure your next promotion.
So how do you go about building a personal brand?
Six Steps to Establishing a Personal Brand
If you want to create a personal brand — or improve your existing one — follow these seven steps. Creating a good brand is like building a good reputation. It takes time and effort, but it’s worth it in the long run.
#1. Decide Which “You” You’re Marketing
Your personal brand is a reflection of who you are. Before creating one, you need to decide what aspects of yourself you want to be reflected in your brand. It’s critical to be authentic in this exercise because most consumers can smell a fake. Trying to force yourself into a brand that isn’t really you will only cause problems in the future and may ultimately negatively impact your brand.
You also need to decide how you want to use your personal brand. Are you building an existing business? Or starting a new one?
Ask yourself these questions:
- What impact do I hope to have through my brand?
- What are my main career goals?
- What industries am I most familiar with?
- What drives me to succeed?
- What’s my best personality trait?
As you answer these questions and others, you’ll begin putting together the puzzle that will become your personal brand.
#2. Figure Out How You Stand Out
Every person is unique. Take some time to understand your strengths. What do you do better than anyone else? What special knowledge do you have that others don’t? Are there ways to combine your talent and skills to create or do something new and different? Perhaps you have a unique perspective on everyday issues.
All this is food for thought when thinking about the main message for your personal brand. You want to tell people how and why you’re different and the best at what you do.
#3. Select Your Audience
Your personal brand is best aimed at a specific audience segment. Whom are you trying to reach? Employ a laser focus to hone in on your niche, rather than taking a scattergun approach. Niche audiences have needs that are unique and specific. The more targeted your brand message is, the more likely you’ll reach the consumers you intend to.
#4. Optimize Your Online Presence
One of the key components of building a solid personal brand is online presence. Once you have your message down and know your audience, get busy optimizing your social media pages to support your brand. This includes business and personal websites and pages. Your message should be consistent across all platforms, including your website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram/TikTok, etc. Use professional headshots when appropriate and clearly state your message. Don’t forget to include a call to action. Let people know what the next step is and what action you want them to take.
#5. Develop Fresh Content and Keep It Coming
The goal of good content should be to establish you and your brand as an expert in your field. This means you’ll need to develop a robust content strategy that includes helpful information that pertains directly to the challenge you’re trying to solve for your customers. By creating content that adds value for customers and prospects, you’re establishing yourself as an authority in your field. This builds trust with your target audience. Make the content useful and give it away freely.
Consider publishing different types of content, too. Social media posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are great, but you’ll reach more prospects with videos and images. Don’t forget that YouTube is now one of the most significant search engines on the internet. Use it if it makes sense for you.
Once you’ve put content out there, keep it coming. When someone searches for you or your product or service, you want them to feel like you’re relevant and active right now. Engage with your audience when you can. Publish new content frequently, mix it up on different social platforms, and always do your best to add value for your readers.
#6. Build a Community
If you’ve done everything right thus far, you should be well on your way to this last step. Building a community is critical if you plan to launch new products or services, publish a book, or start a new business venture. Your community is essentially your band of followers and supporters. They know you, and you’ve made an effort to get to know them too. This is where the real power of the personal brand comes into play.
Formalize your community by using LinkedIn Groups, hosting webinars, or scheduling meetups in local (physical) communities. The more you engage with your audience, the stronger your personal brand will become.
Building a personal brands pays off in many ways. You’ll make more sales, expand your network, supercharge your career, and attract new opportunities. Who knows where all that will take you?