It’s easy to skip over creating a personal brand, especially when you’re a small business owner short on time and cash. You might think personal branding is not so crucial to your business goals. Instead, you’re busy building your company brand. But, your personal brand is not the same as your company brand.
Your personal brand is how you present yourself to the world and how the world perceives you.
The time you spend on personal branding is worth it. You’ll see the results in your ROI.
In this article, you’ll learn about
- what is personal branding
- why your personal brand is essential
- strategies for a winning branding campaign.
What is Personal Branding
Personal branding is much like business branding, but it’s about you, the person behind the company name. However, it’s much more than your logo, colors, or social feed. Your personal brand establishes your authority in your field. It lets consumers, funders, potential partners, and collaborators know who you are, why you are who you are and why they should trust you.
Unless you’ve never been on the internet, you already have an online reputation. A quick Google search is sure to find at least one mention of you. However, if you haven’t taken the time to develop your personal brand, then your online reputation is, de facto, your personal brand.
Do you have a Facebook profile?
Do you comment on news or digital magazine articles?
Are you using LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube?
A quick Google search will return all mentions of your name anywhere it has appeared, including social media platforms.
Have you checked yourself out lately? Is your online reputation an accurate reflection of you?
Why is a Personal Brand Important?
Cutting-edge technology and online search engines make it possible for your consumer audience to research your company and products before interacting with you. Increasingly, consumers are looking to engage with and do business with authentic and trustworthy brands. Additionally, consumers want to buy from mission-driven companies. Furthermore, your personal brand can serve as an additional vehicle to showcase your brand’s products or services in an entirely non-promotional format.
Let’s dive into five additional reasons why you want to invest your time in personal branding.
“People are looking for connections on a personal level.” Mary Davies, President of Beanstalk Internet Marketing
1. Increase Your Visibility
Marketing your personal brand keeps you relevant and remembered by your target audience. A well-executed branding strategy across multiple digital channels enables you to reach an organic audience that does not know you exist. They’ll be drawn to learn more about your company by learning about you.
2. A Personal Brand Builds Trust
Your personal brand builds trust between you and your audience. Consumers today are skeptical and have little confidence in company messaging, especially advertisements. Instead, they want to know about the leaders of companies. After they learn more about you as a person, they’ll feel comfortable making a personal connection with your brand.
Once you’ve established trust, your customers can become your best ambassadors. They’ll follow you on social media, see how you interact with others, what issues pique your interest, how you react to events in the world, and so forth. If they like what they see, they’ll share it. As a result, your personal brand can go viral with little effort.
3. Personal Branding is Credentials
Personal branding will establish you as a thought leader or expert in your industry. Publishing articles under your name on industry blogs and websites or third-party platforms such as Medium, Quora, and LinkedIn extends your reach. Thought leadership articles build your personal brand and strengthen the connection between you and your target audience.
If you’re an entrepreneur or startup founder, your personal brand is your initial “calling card” in the digital world and establishes your authority in your chosen industry.
“If used correctly, a well-sculpted personal brand can make your advice more authoritative.” Nick Brogden, founder of Earned Media.
Your personal brand is the true you. It’s a window into who you are: what moves you and your successes and failures. So what makes the private brands of Oprah, Gordon Ramsey, Richard Branson, and others so popular? Their followers know that these leaders are presenting their authentic selves. Whatever approach they have taken in life to conquer the world, they make no excuses.
“Your personal brand is your reputation. And your reputation in perpetuity is the foundation of your career.” Gary Vaynerchuk
5. Your Personal Brand is Your Voice to the World
Unlike company branding, where your strategy is focused on product recognition, personal branding is about what you want to say to the world. So how do you want to be remembered? When people see your name, what do you want to be the first thing that pops into their minds?
Building A Personal Branding: Best Practices
Personal branding is the total of what you have accomplished professionally—what has made you into yourself. It requires the same strategic focus and patience as company branding.
Go back and review all of your current social media accounts.
- Is there anything you wouldn’t want a potential investor, partner, or media outlet to know?
- Do your social profiles sound professional?
- What about your photos?
Remember, your social media accounts are tools for building personal branding. Everything that appears on your social media platforms should highlight your vision, passion, mission, expertise, leadership, and accomplishments. In addition, it should be written or presented in a tone that reflects your personality.
Your personal branding message should be consistent with your company’s. For example, if you say you’re a sustainability advocate yet run a business with a big carbon footprint, your consumer audience will call you out on it. They’ll see the inconsistency or deception and spread the word.
1. Focus Your Efforts
Hopefully, you’ve deployed an omni-channel marketing strategy to grow your business. But for your personal brand, you’ll want to be more strategic and focused, narrowing down the relevant channels to match your goals and message. For example, if your goal is to establish yourself as a thought leader, LinkedIn or Twitter should be your primary platforms. This is especially true if you’re a B2B or B2B/B2C brand.
If you use too many social media channels, you won’t have the time to stay engaged with your followers. Likewise, if you have a small staff or are running your business solo, you’ll neglect your personal branding strategy if it becomes too burdensome. Remember, the purpose of personal branding is to build relationships.
- Engage your followers in conversation.
- Respond to their questions and comments.
- Throw out provocative questions.
- Build a community around your personal brand.
2. Publish Original And Engaging Content
Personal branding is about connecting with your audience and creating positive name recognition. It’s your online reputation. The content you put up on your social media channels should be impactful, original, and engaging. Use your content to tell your story, inform, inspire and entertain your audience.
Create different content assets, including
- blog posts
3. Curate Content
While most of your content should be original, there is a place for curated content. This is a great way to establish yourself as a thought leader in your chosen topic areas. In addition, your followers will come to think of you as the go-to, trusted source for important information.
One important tip: always read the material you share or watch (to the end) any video that you curate. The last thing you want is for your followers to be shocked by curated content opposite to everything you stand for. And once it’s out there, it’s not easy to retract.
4. Be Consistent
There is an old political motto: stay on message! It’s easy to get distracted. There’s so much happening in the world. But, if you begin to talk about everything, people will not be able to figure out who you are. Your entire purpose for personal branding will be lost.
Personal branding is an essential element in your overall business marketing strategy in today’s digital-first ecosystem.
Your personal brand helps potential consumers decide if you are the type of person they want to do business with.
Personal branding establishes your authenticity and authority to run a company or offer products or services.
In today’s hyper-competitive, global marketplace, company branding is personal. To achieve your growth goals, you need a personal brand that will differentiate you from the competition.
When creating your messages and content for your personal brand, be sure you know your audience. Speak to them about their issues and concerns and try to answer their questions. Become a trusted voice.
Once you’ve established your personal brand voice, be consistent.
How are you building your personal brand? Let us know in the comment box below, and please don’t forget to sign up to follow the blog.