A personal brand isn’t all that different from your company’s brand.
You’re simply marketing yourself (your knowledge and expertise) instead of your company’s products or services.
But why focus on your personal brand?
Depending on your role with your company, standing out from the crowd can bring opportunities for both you and your company.
Consider social media reach, for example.
Brand messages shared by employees on social media get 561 percent more reach than the same messages shared by that brand’s social media channels.
The benefits also extend to business growth.
Of all business decision makers, 84 percent start their buying process with a referral. In addition, leads that are developed through employees’ social media activities convert 7 times more frequently than other leads.
Of course, a strong personal brand puts you in control of your online reputation as well.
The following are 10 tips to build up your personal brand and grow your business as a result.
Find your niche
Have you ever heard of someone for being a great generalist?
Just as you would want to target a specific group with your marketing efforts for your business, you also need to get specific about what you’re the best at (and should be best known for).
As tempting as it might be to develop a brand as a “Jack” or “Jill” of all trades, this will only dilute your expertise and work against you.
A specific expertise is the best place to start.
Craft a personal brand statement
This is the introduction of your personal brand to the world (or at least your industry and target audience).
Consider your brand statement to be a personal mission statement that explains what people can expect from you. Focus on who you are, what you do and why anyone should care. Don’t be afraid to put your personality in it and share your story. It is a reflection of you after all.
Whatever you settle on, the act of writing your personal brand statement will again help you focus and narrow your niche.
Transition your statement into a plan
Once you decide what you’re about and how you want others to view you, it’s time to set a strategic plan.
Similar to the planning required to market a company’s new product, you want to:
- Identify your target audience
- Set your goals
- Identify required platforms
- Decide on necessary tasks
Take your time here. Success is 80 percent planning and 20 percent execution.
Start creating content
This is about putting value behind your personal brand and showcasing your expertise.
Your content can consist of whatever works best for you:
- Blog articles
- LinkedIn native articles
When creating content, ask yourself what your target audience needs and wants from an expert like you. What are the most commonly asked questions in your industry? What are the pain points of your audience?
Start brainstorming some topics that you can expound on, and choose your preferred medium (written, video, audio, so on).
Once you begin, keep up a regular content creation schedule to maintain consistency, which is incredibly important for any personal brand building.
Funnel content into your online presence
Where you hone your online presence is entirely up to you. It could be a website, social media or a mix of both.
Perhaps it makes more sense for your industry to build up your reputation on LinkedIn, uploading native videos and directing followers to your website.
The key is deciding what makes sense for your goals, resources as well as your personal brand.
Not sure what social media platform to start with? Check out our guide.
From there, begin publishing and sharing your content.
Whether this is within your comfort zone or not, you have to embrace promoting yourself. Fortunately, no matter what your comfort level, there are a number of ways you can do this, including (but not limited to):
- Guest blog on a high-traffic website related to your expertise
- Speak at an industry event (online or in-person)
- Join related groups on Facebook and/or LinkedIn and participate in them
- Get interviewed on a podcast related to your expertise
- Connect with others in your industry on social media platforms (taking the extra step to message them as well)
The more frequently you can promote yourself, the more your personal brand and online reputation will grow.
Partner with an influencer
Influencers have a lot of leverage on social media, so consider researching a “wish list” of who you would like to work with and then develop a partnership pitch that could benefit you both.
Keep in mind that influencers are people, too, so reaching out first (without the pitch) simply to connect and build a relationship never hurts.
New to influencer marketing? Some of our tips might be of value to you.
We often recommend authenticity as a general rule of thumb for posting and engaging across all social media platforms. This applies to your personal brand as well.
Just like influencers, you’re a human as well. Not a machine.
While you want to be consistent, you don’t want to come off as robotic or unrelatable. It’s not about perfection.
Inject your personality, the essence of you whenever appropriate. Ultimately, people will want to connect with the person behind the brand. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.
One of the easiest ways to exude authenticity is to live your brand. Think about what living your brand means for you. Then, embrace it and share it.
It’s OK to fail
This is a standing rule for just about any aspect of life, but especially your personal brand.
It’s the idea of pushing outside your comfort zone. Mistakes can and will happen. Failure can and will happen.
But it’s what you learn from these experiences (and how you use them to fine-tune your brand) that will ultimately lead to success.
For example, maybe you’re receiving a series of rejections from websites in response to your guest blog pitches. This doesn’t mean you should give up. Pivot your approach and target other websites, and keep trying.
There is always something to learn from a failure, and in that light, it’s never a real failure.
Measure your success
Depending on what your specific goals are, be sure to set the key performance indicators you’ll use to monitor and determine your overall personal branding success.
Be honest with yourself.
If something isn’t working, don’t turn a blind eye. Address it and pivot wherever necessary.