A personal brand is a lifelong project that evolves and changes continuously. Some people think that a personal brand is the Holy Grail. Creating a powerful brand proves to be very resourceful when it comes to online marketing.
There are some things you need to acknowledge when talking about personal branding. First, you need to understand how exactly it works, what you can gain from it and some tips to correctly build your personal brand.
4.1 Be visible and easy to reach
4.2 Make yourself approachable through networking
4.3 Set up your value proposition
4.4 Show the real you online
4.5 Maintain a database of contacts and create friends in the industry
4.6 Keep up with the trends and always learn & evolve
4.7 Make the audience a part of your journey
We've seen it in the movies, maybe in real life: having an important name or being an influential person in a specific niche can bring you lots of benefits, gratuities, opportunities, invitations to certain events, and lots of other perks.
Personal branding does not apply only to influencers. Everyone can build their personal brand. Whether you are a business owner, brand manager, content marketer, community manager, social media specialist or a person who wants to have a visible CV or make a name for themselves, you can and should build a personal brand.
What Is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is not necessarily about fame or about fake audience, but rather it's about something that makes you unique.
Personal branding is a way to make you stand out comparing to others.
Personal branding can be defined by the carried value of recognition. Most people who have a personal brand can be easily identified by others. What makes them easily recognizable is their experience, something they did, the way they promote themselves and so on.
If you Google your name, what comes up in the search results?
If the answer is "nothing", most probably you have to invest some time and effort into building your personal brand, because your name hasn't left an online footprint.
Often times, people struggle to find what differentiates them from the crowd, and they don't seem to find the right steps to building a personal brand.
Developing your personal brand can bring high perks to your business or your career. In online, people trust a person rather than a brand.
To move forward you need to create a kit, a marketing plan, a brand strategy or even a content marketing strategy. Before starting work on your brand, there are two things you need to have though:
- You need skills: people should remember you for something you're good at.
- You need to understand how you communicate: be self-aware of what you add to your conversations and how you communicate with your target audience.
Why Is Personal Branding Important?
Personal branding is important because it's connected to the process of building an online reputation. When people start to know you, you can make a strong impact and build meaningful relationships.
A personal brand is important because it carries authority. People will know your experience because it was attached to your name.
In the past, your experience talked through your name. When you have a strong personal brand it speaks for itself.
Skip the introductions and focus on creating business relationships. Even though that is highly efficient, you need to know that great names come with greater responsibilities.
It is important to attract positive experiences to your name and avoid creating negative ones. Don't get dragged into scandals and don't get involved in shady activities.
Your personal brand can lead to lots of advantages. When deciding to build a personal brand, it's important to define the area of expertise you want to be recognized for or choose something that defines you very well. Check out the personal brand examples below for some inspiration and learning points. They are great brand builders.
Personal Brand Examples
When I say Mark Zuckerberg, what are you thinking about? Is it Facebook, is it privacy issues or is it something else? The fact that some of you thought about Mark is proof that personal branding is highly connected to online business marketing.
To put the question into a more hilarious perspective: When you hear about "The Bing Bang Theory" TV series what do you think? Is it science, is it Penny or Sheldon Cooper or something else? If you thought of any characters, then personal branding is the reason. Even on movies or TV series, being able to create personal branding for such a strong fictional character by the fans and the production is remarkable.
From all the possible responses, choosing a name proves that person has a strong personal brand.
Another example of effective personal branding is Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert and 6-time author. He is well-known for his books, for his presentations at many conferences and events, and his unique colorful suits. He built his personal branding from head to toe.
The interesting thing about his strategy is the option to contribute and be a part of his story. When he's invited to an event, the organizing team gets the opportunity to choose the suit he'll be wearing.
How to Improve Your Personal Brand
To be able to improve your personal brand you'll need to embrace networking and have an affinity for always meeting new people and sharing ideas.
To build a successful personal brand you need to be an open person, with good communication skills and entrepreneurial competence.
Studies show that 85 percent of all jobs are filled through networking. Participating in event networking will also boost your career growth.
Collaborate with other publications for writing guest posts or participate in roundups, podcasts, interviews and other sorts of online promotion.
Improving your personal brand comes along with the attention you give to your audience, beside the information you feed them with.
Make sure you build credibility, nurture your clients, listen to your followers and stay ahead of your competition.
Another good option is to quantify your accomplishments by the number of people helped, business collaborations, written books, closed deals, or any other way to give accurate numbers of what you did.
Follow other personal brands in your niche and identify best case practices and success stories, so you can apply them to your personal brand process.
Top Personal Branding Tips
Not everything you find only is helpful and has actionable information. We've tested and followed best practices to offer you trustworthy and actionable personal branding tips.
1. Be Visible and Easy to Reach
One of the most obvious and indispensable tips for building your brand is to be visible and reachable.
Your personal brand should follow you everywhere you go.
When you decide to start branding yourself and become famous for something you do, you'll have to be present on the web, create social profiles, have a personal website or blog. You can't hide in your office and expect people to find you.
A personal brand means you'll have to be vulnerable to the public eye. You need to be present online, at conferences, events, and network with the people. Show you are an actual person, not a brand or a person that sits behind a screen. Build an audience based on relevant information and start building your online presence.
Create public social media profiles on channels where your audience or potential clients are to create brand awareness. Be present there and post on social media constantly. Make it possible for your followers to contact you and interact with them. Ask questions to them and make them a part of your brand. The more visible you are, the stronger your personal brand will be.
2. Make yourself approachable through networking
Lots of people misunderstand the purpose of personal branding. They focus on themselves, forgetting about their audience and people's needs. Instead, you should have a desire to help people, as Sujan Patel recommends.
|Be helpful. Look for opportunities to mentor those who are facing similar challenges that you have, and give advice freely in whatever way you can to help people.|
|Co-founder Rightinbox.com / @sujanpatel|
A personal brand means trust, information, help, expertise, and a friendly face. When you're missing one of these, you'll face failure. But don't come crying to the internet for not acknowledging you if you forget your meaning and purpose.
Be approachable, make it easy for people to contact and talk with you wide and open when they have a question.
That can happen on various occasions, either you're at an event, at a conference, simply existing on Twitter or Facebook, sending a newsletter or creating an email marketing campaign and so on.
Don't ignore your audience, their needs and focus on beneficial networking for both parties. Give personal examples and take every conversation as an opportunity. You'll never guess what you can learn or find out and give you great ideas.
3. Set up your value proposition
A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered, something that makes you appealing to the audience.
What makes you special? Why should somebody work with you? What makes you attractive from a business point of view?
Having a personal brand is a high responsibility. You'll need to be careful who you associate with, what you say, how you appear online, how you speak, what information you share and recommend and many more.
As mentioned before, you'll have to be trustworthy and work to be exceptionally useful and valuable. You are the soul of the business. You are the business.
When creating a personal brand, it is like you're building a business and you need to take care of it.
Think about what makes you unique and set up some differentiators. There are lots of ideas to be unique and attract attention. Position yourself with a powerful and unique value proposition. Use eye candy adjectives that describe you and your expertise very well. Don't forget that honesty is the best weapon.
For example, you can create a brand mantra, that one thing that defines you and only you. Like glasses, John Lennon had a unique type of round glasses, different from those that Elton John wears. Audrey Hepburn has another type of glasses. These are only a few famous examples of brand mantra.
Besides appearance, create a short line that can describe you very well - your personal brand statement. Add strong descriptors, such as certificates, awards, national kayak canoe champion, bestselling author or anything related to you so that people could spot you from the crowd. Start telling your story.
You should add that description to all About me sections from your social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Medium, and so on with few changes. Using social media for personal brand purposes will help you create connections with your audience and it can take your career to the next level.
4. Show the Real You Online
Don't use your social media platform as a marketing and sales channel. It is OK to send an offer or two from time to time, but do not choke your audience with sales-ish content. There are already lots of commercials and ads on social media. Social selling needs to be strategic and very well thought. It would be exhausting and unpleasant for your audience to experience that.
Follow the 80-20 social media marketing strategy: 80% information and only 20% commercial.
Integrate yourself into conversations, do podcast hosting, start digital interactions and show people your expert opinions, your true self, your true voice. Present yourself as an expert. Consumers love the person, the human touch behind every brand or official face there is online.
|The biggest mistake people make when thinking about personal branding is overvaluing their follower count and undervaluing the number of people they’ve helped. That’s where true influence and personal branding comes into play. The more you help people achieve their goals, the stronger your personal brand will be. Your personal brand is your reputation. And your reputation is built on how you interact with people, the value you give to your community or industry consistently and the way you lead.|
|Founder, CEO of Foundationinc.co / @TheCoolestCool|
It will make you have a friendlier face and be a human, which you are, strangely. Your online presence will have a lot to gain from this honest strategy. You'll be an authentic person.
Show them what you do on the weekends, where you eat, what your hobbies are and so on. People love to see what's behind the screen and face the real person.
I would recommend you to be more private regarding your religious beliefs, political affinities or any social evolution news because you can influence lots of people by showing allegiance. And I think everyone is free to believe in what's right for them. Otherwise, you might risk triggering unwanted and damaging attention to yourself.
Your personal brand strategy should rely on the human perspective, on your personality. Yes, you are a brand, but don't forget about the other half - "personal" (personal brand). As you can see, personal comes before brand. Think of who you are as a person and decide what you show to the world.
Communicate directly with your audience.
Once you understand that, you'll be able to create a community. A powerful personal brand means a strong community.
Video-audio content, such as vlogging or podcasts, will help you promote your brand and build a larger community by attracting people who are following such content. You can leverage video for growing a powerful personal brand.
5. Maintain a Database of Contacts and Create Friends in the Industry
Think long term.
Growing your personal brand means growing your list of contacts.
So it is important to keep a detailed list of all your contacts for future collaborations.
A spreadsheet will save a lot of trouble. Add information about who that person is, social profiles, email address, plus where you connected, area of expertise so you can create potential opportunities and future collaborations if needed.
Having an updated database with all the information will be easier for you to contact people, to send them newsletters and relevant information. You can use that list to import it in any free email marketing tool and start promoting your digital marketing campaigns as you wish.
Getting a list of contacts is a more difficult job if you don't have the right tools and strategy. You can extract a list of contacts from BrandMentions, for example. The tool can help you monitor your brand and everyone that talks about it, no matter if it's a website, a public figure, a client or another brand.
You can see a list of Top Influencers and Top websites that mentioned your brand, plus you get some extra metrics regarding reach, impressions and a full list of URLs where they mentioned you.
You can get the exact data, what they said about you, their experient (good or bad) and you can easily reply to them from the tool and create a connection. Ask for their email eventually so you can keep up for future collaborations.
After that, you can add their information in your excel file to send them valuable info on email and tag them on social media for boosting your social posts.
If you have a list or you want to build one from scratch, don't forget to update it from time to time. Once you commit to something, keep your word.
An updated list of contacts can open lots of opportunities. You can collaborate with popular content writers from big publications so you can contribute and try guest posting. And the list of ideas can go on. Listen to why you should do that from Lilach Bullock:
|My best tip for building a personal brand is pretty simple (although it does take time!): contribute to the top publications in your niche. This is one of the most effective ways to build up your influence in your category; plus, having names like Entrepreneur, Forbes, The Next Web, and the like on your CV is a great asset.|
|Founder of lilachbullock.com / @lilachbullock|
It is import to make this a regular activity and try to contribute more often as Lilach explains:
|Make time to research and read these websites, find their contributor guidelines, and take your time while pitching and writing the content. This is something that you should do regularly, every month. In a few months, you’ll start reaping the benefits: you’ll become better known in your niche, you'll have the potential to become a thought leader in your industry, and your presence on these forums will give you the clout necessary to grow your personal brand.|
|Founder of lilachbullock.com / @lilachbullock|
6. Keep up with the Trends and Always Learn to Evolve
Once you decide to grow a powerful personal brand online, you need to ensure quality and provide value. You can only do that if you have expertise, know your industry very well. You can get help from marketing automation apps or any digital software that can give you a good idea on your niche.
Read the industry news, keep up with the trends, spy on your competitors to spot some directions for your brand and grow your business.
One option can be to search and follow trending hashtags on Social Media for staying in touch with the information that goes around there. BrandMentions can give you real-time alerts on any new resources that appear online about any topic you want to track.
The tool makes it easy to filter any mention based on the source (website, or any social network: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, YouTube and Pinterest)
You can subscribe to some resources and news websites to receive all the important information in your Inbox. Follow people on Twitter, Facebook who have direct contact with inside information in your niche and represent a reliable source. You'll have direct exposure to fresh insights and hot news. Plus, you can jump into the conversation at any time.
Once you manage to build expertise, you'll be able to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry and boost your career.
7. Make the Audience a Part of Your Journey
Once you manage to become a trusted source of news and information, you draw more people to you. At this moment you can include your audience in your daily activity, and make them part of your journey. There are lots of ways to do that, for example:
- When you perform a research ask them to respond to a survey.
- If you participate in events as a speaker or simple participant, ask them to come to the event (if you have an invitation you can deliver one for free to one lucky winner)
- Give interviews and let people know when where they can listen to you
- When documenting a new blog post ask for insights or examples if needed.
- Use #hashtags whenever you participate in events or conferences so all the people that couldn't make it live, can follow you virtually.
You can find more ideas depending on what is your niche.
In the end, there's one thing we all have to remember: being a personal brand for the sake of being a personal brand is the quickest way to not being a personal brand.
You need to do things in terms of becoming a successful personal brand online. Don't waste time on something that doesn't please you.
If you're true to yourself and want to build a personal brand, then make sure you create a marketing plan for that and stick to it.