You’ve perfected your logo and website, found that perfect tone for writing all your social media posts about your business, and have a killer story to tell when talking about your products or services. You’ve done the whole branding thing and done it well! But what if that’s not enough?
To really take it to the next level, you must get your personal brand under control.
In today’s market your personal brand is just as important as your business’ brand. Customers are interested in more than just your product or service, they want to know your story and how you got to where you are. All you really have to do is be vocal about… you! It’s not like building a personal brand doesn’t take commitment and thought, it does, but the benefits far outweigh the extra effort.
Where a lot of people become hesitant with building a personal brand is that they see it as self-promotion. And it is, but there is nothing wrong with that!
At first look, self-promotion might seem like a negative term or a symptom of a large ego. We’ve all been around humble-braggers and know how off-turning that is.
But self-promotion is something that entrepreneurs and business owners must do every day when marketing their business. Business and personal identity are so closely tied together that it’s hard to separate the two.
You are your biggest advocate! When done with tact and polish, personal branding can be graceful and a wonderful opportunity to leave an impact on potential clients and partners.
You want your personal brand to be magnetic – drawing in the right attention from the right people. Here are the do’s and don’ts to building a compelling personal brand.
1. Be unique – Your business has a unique value proposition it offers to clients, so should your personal brand. To help define and summarize your brand, ask yourself these questions: Whose attention do I want? What issues are they facing that I have experienced and can help them solve? What makes me from different from my competition? Once you have these answers, package them into a personal brand statement that you will aim to align to with whatever decisions you make.
2. Be authentic – Authenticity cannot be stressed enough, it applies to everything, but especially to how you showcase yourself on social media. All of us can tell when someone is being overly boastful and not really themselves. Show off your business and work in the best light, but there are so many more sides to you to highlight! Talk about your quirks and the not-so-perfect moments. Where are you going on the weekends, what foods are you eating, which book are you currently loving? Interesting stories are what people remember about you. Open up a window to your world that you’re comfortable with, and people will start connecting with you!
3. Be an expert – Follow the latest trends and news in your industry and share your thoughts on it. You’re an expert in what you do and by communicating your unique insights, you’ll be seen as a thought leader (a trusted source of opinions!). Writing your own blog, offering to write guest blog posts, being a guest on a podcast, or even writing detailed social media captions are ways to get your thoughts out there.
4. Be accessible – Interact with your social media followers and customers by inviting them to ask questions. Holding live Q&A sessions on social media is a great way to connect with people interested in you and your brand. Be honest when answering questions, especially when you’re asked to share your not-so-glamourous moments. Over-inflating success is never a good idea and is something that can be easily seen through! Talk about your achievements but be humble and truthful.
5. Be gracious – When telling your story and talking about your business, praise those who have helped you along the way and contributed to your achievements. Paying tribute to others will show you off in a generous light and is simply the right thing to do.
Now the don’ts. If you have been working on your brand but aren’t quite seeing the results and opportunities you want, you could be making one of the common mistakes below.
1. Your purpose isn’t clear. There is noise on the internet. A lot of it. It’s hard to stand out in a crowd when you are trying to be everything to everyone. Pick out one niche that is as unique as it can be to you and make that your branding theme.
2. You’re sharing the wrong content. This can go two ways… either you’re overpromoting yourself or you’re underpromoting. I like to think of the right balance as a rule of thirds. Dedicate 1/3 of your posts to your interests and personality, 1/3 to useful or interesting information, and the remaining 1/3 to promoting your personal brand (accomplishments, your products/services, etc.)
3. You aren’t thinking about your content strategically. Yes, your personal brand is about who you are, but that doesn’t mean you should be posting everything. Potentially touchy photos or screenshots of conversations with your friends are examples of definite no-nos. Keep it fun but also professional.
4. Offline is important too! So much of personal branding is focused on our digital presence that we often forget that there are branding opportunities in real life. Networking, industry events, conferences, and hosting your own events are all important aspects of your brand that will help solidify it. Plus, as an added bonus once you share all these experiences online, your credibility will rise as you become recognized as someone heavily involved in your field.
Personal branding is oftentimes your biggest competitive advantage. It doesn’t require a huge budget or lofty accomplishments. All you need is YOU and a well-defined idea of who you are and how to communicate it to the world. Yes, you can be successful without branding yourself, but why would you let such a huge asset go to waste?!