Why is a personal brand important for you and your business?
Thanks to social media, followers are now more interested in getting to know the people behind the company. So, for business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs, personal branding has never been more important.
When done right, it can be your most valuable asset.
People want to work with strong brands. As an individual, you want to magnify your talents, skills and expertise. A personal brand allows you to introduce yourself in the best light possible, building trust with your audience by showcasing what you are (and what you’re not) upfront. It also creates the chance for you to be discovered by other people and businesses, leading to new opportunities.
Put a face (and brand) to the name
Your personal branding goes into everything you put out — from creating content to simply having a conversation with someone. So, where start?
Define your personal brand
The best way to create a solid and memorable brand identity is to follow the three Cs of branding…
The first is clarity. These days, authenticity is everything. People want an honest reflection of who you are.
Try brainstorming three to five adjectives that reflect your brand personality — these are words to live by and will help you set the tone.
It’s also helpful to come up with three key statements you’d like to convey about yourself. What are your goals? What are you all about? These statements will enable you to keep the core of your brand clear in your mind.
Next is consistency. Your brand can get a little lost over time, so it’s worth having some guidelines in place to help you stay on track and promote yourself consistently. What type of content will you share — are videos more your thing, or do you prefer blog posts? Are there any off-limits topics? How often will you post? The more focused your brand is, the more memorable you’ll be.
Lastly: constancy. Now you’ve established your brand identity, you need to make sure it’s seen regularly by the right people. But to do that, you first need to get to know your audience…
Understand your audience
Like a business, finding your brand personality and voice is essential, but it can be easy to get wrapped up in trying to be everything for everyone.
So, try creating a target audience profile. What age range are they? What lifestyle do they lead? What are their interests and goals? What’s challenging for them or holding them back?
The more you understand your potential audience, the easier it’ll be to relate to and connect with them. Plus, creating content is much simpler when you’ve got a specific audience in mind.
Establish an online presence
The best way to get your voice heard and your brand in front of people? Regularly posting on social media. The more eyes, the better!
LinkedIn is the go-to platform for the business world — great for building your brand and creating links between you and your industry. Get involved with topical discussions amongst your peers by leaving comments, engaging in conversations and connecting with other individuals and brands in your industry. Or write and share articles surrounding trending topics to position yourself as a thought leader in your space.
Other channels such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook can also work well for you (depending on your work sector). For example, Instagram shines for product-led, consumer-focused industries, and Twitter benefits those in media by sparking short conversations.
No matter where you post, all content needs to be genuinely valuable and insightful.
To help you provide content that’s relevant to your audience, research the subjects within your niche that are generating buzz. Tools like Google Trends and Exploding Topics are great for staying up to date with what’s happening. But you also want to stamp your authority, so make sure the content fits in with your personal brand.
Time to network
It’s not what you know but who you know. And social media platforms are a great launchpad for networking.
Whether you’re looking to connect with people that can offer business opportunities and valuable industry insights or simply advocate for and engage with your brand, there are many ways to network…
Join relevant Facebook or LinkedIn groups to tap into communities of like-minded people. Host webinars that encourage discussions and demonstrate your expertise. You could also join LinkedIn live events that allow you to network with the organisers and attendees (these events are a great place to share your thoughts and get your brand in front of new people). Commenting on posts and sparking conversations with other people or businesses is another sure way to establish connections and grow your following.
And if you fancy networking IRL, why not meet people in a shared coworking space?
These hubs are the perfect way to network with like-minded professionals and work creatively. Plus, chatting with the person at the desk next to you or bumping into somebody new at the coffee machine may prove invaluable to your business. These could be future clients, business partners or creative influences!