This may be a phrase you’ve never heard before. Or this may be something you’ve been trying to achieve for a long while. The fact is that we spend more and more of our lives online, sharing our lives, our experiences, our successes and failures. This all connects in the mind of the viewer to create a picture of you. According to Wikipedia;
“Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands…Personal branding is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organization.”
Your personal brand is how you appear to the world. It’s not always easy to work out what kind of personal brand you want to build, and in what niche you want to play. Do you want to promote yourself to get a new and better job? Do you want to promote yourself as the professional leader of your business? Are you a start-up that needs to create leads and make sales? Whatever your goals, it stands to reason that a strong brand is preferable to one that is unpolished and uninteresting. So how do you become more recognized? How do you build your authority and your following? How can you do this effectively?
Here are some basic tips that can help you navigate the minefield of your online presence, and give yourself some control over how others perceive you:
- Be Authentic.
Imagine how difficult it would be to build a brand around your “fake” self. You would have to act a certain way, appear a certain way, and say certain things, regardless of how you felt about it. It’s common for social media specialists to recommend that you build a personal brand by shaping and moulding everything that others see. But this is absolutely exhausting to maintain in the long run, as well as draining yourself and your online self of authenticity and spontaneity.
Your brand should be a reflection of you. Do you know what you believe? What you stand for? What your strengths and weaknesses are? Never forget, people connect with other people, and it’s that relationship that leads to contact and collaboration. If you appear inauthentic, you won’t connect. So be the “Genuine You.” That being said, be careful not to post anything too contentious, extreme, rude or controversial on your business feeds, you don’t want to alienate potential customers.
- Take Every Opportunity To Write Or Speak Publicly About Your Market Specialisation.
If you’re looking to build your brand, then you should be writing and speaking on a regular basis. Naturally, this will mean developing your communication skills. Find your voice, be confident and speak from your knowledge base. Show that you know what you’re talking about, and answer questions in a way that serves your audience. Some may criticize or disagree with you – in fact they almost certainly will. The important thing is to remain open to feedback. Thank others for sharing their views, and if the points they raised were legitimate, determine how you can improve and do better next time.
Grasp these opportunities, whether you are asked to write for a local magazine or website, whether it is a respectful comment on someone else’s blog or article, whether it is a networking meeting – whether face to face, in print or online – it is a powerful way to show that you know what you’re talking about. Every outlet you build a connection with increases your brand authority.
- Build Your Online Presence.
Do you know how you’re appearing and coming across online? Do you have social media profiles? If so, are they fully fleshed out with all of your information? Do they present you in the best light possible, and make you look professional? If you need help writing, or with graphics or photography, are you using professionals that truly understand you and your business philosophy? Are you interacting with others and sharing their content? It takes time to build your personal brand. If you fail to stay relevant, all of your effort will be wasted. It also pays to learn new things, develop new skills, and to expand your knowledge. If you’re not growing, then you’re stagnating, and that’s the last thing you want to do as an entrepreneur.
Take time out from your work schedule and have a good hard think about your personal brand for a moment. Does your personal brand achieve your goals? Does it sit well with your Business Branding?
The effect should be to create a holistic whole, a fully rounded interpretation of “You” that speaks to the world in a unified voice. Only then, as you begin to sharpen your personal brand, will the right leads, connections and opportunities start coming your way. People will begin to see that you’re know what you’re taking about, and they’ll invite you to be a part of their circle of professional suppliers and contacts.
If you are struggling with your brand, drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you and write for you!
Ricky Shields is the mascot and de-facto leader of the http://www.ShieldsCreate.com/ team, who have been helping businesses in Paphos and the UK present their professional face to the world with Copy, Content, Graphics, Websites, Print, Signage, Social Media, Video, Photography and more, for over a decade.