It is known that people prefer to do business directly with other people instead of companies. They seem to think that it makes the process more genuine and trustworthy while corporations are only looking for profits and not really for their customers’ happiness. And this is one of the reasons why personal branding is so important.
Your clients are more likely to connect with you compared to your products and services. They want to know the people who make the products come true, their stories, skills, and expertise. As a consequence, you should be prepared to expose yourself and build up your personal branding, so to add value to your portfolio and to turn it into a crucial element in your marketing strategy.
Get to know yourself
The first thing that you need to do to build up your personal branding is to get to know yourself better. For starters, you should try answering the following questions from a professional point of view:
- What are your strengths and weakness?
- What are your unique characteristics?
- What is your area of expertise? Could you narrow it down to a specific niche?
- Which kind of valuable knowledge do you have that could be shared?
- In other words, what is it that you have to say that is more interesting than what others are already saying out there?
These answers above will give you an idea of what you already know that could be used to build up your personal brand. They will help you to identify what makes you stand out in the same way you usually try to do for your products or services.
Check you online presence
Even if you have never invested in your personal branding, the chances are that you already have some level of online presence. You probably got a profile on the major social media networks and have joined a couple of online groups, for example.
So you should have a look around and see if there is anything that needs to be deleted or improved. Remember that you will be a bit of a public figure from now on, so you should be careful. Make sure that your privacy settings are set to the maximum, get rid of any embarrassing pictures, and delete unfinished blogs. This kind of cleaning will make your branding much more consistent and reliable.
Prepare your toolkit
Now is time for you to prepare your toolkit, as you will need a few elements so to build up your personal branding, such as:
- A website or blog (or both), where you will tell more about yourself and your ideas;
- Social media profiles, with which you will connect with influencers and potential clients;
- Portfolio, with your best professional jobs and cases;
- Old-school materials, such as business cards.
These items above will be necessary to provide your target audience with information regarding the professional that you are and why they should care about what you do and say. They will need to be of high-quality, from your photos to your hosting service, otherwise, you won’t be taken seriously.
That is to say that content marketing will be essential for you from now on so that you can tell your stories to your public. At this stage, you should have analysed your strongest points and decided if you want to go for written content, or if you would rather create videos or podcasts – the choice here should be based on what makes you comfortable and works better for your target audience.
Publish your knowledge away
Now is time to get the world to know that you exist, using some of the tactics below:
- Join online groups in forums or social media networks, where you can publish your content;
- Write guest posts for high-traffic websites;
- Post your content on social media regularly;
- Find opportunities of giving talks during speaking events in your area;
- Publish an e-book or an online course.
The idea here is to find out where to reach your target audience and be present there, either online or offline. Of course, you will need to have something valuable to offer, and, hopefully, it won’t be directly related to your product or service in terms of sales. Remember that your goal is to build your personal brand, not your company’s.
Networking is the soul of any personal branding so you should make of it a daily task. To achieve your goals, you will have to be remembered, and this means repetition – considering all information that we are bombarded with every day, it is very likely that they will forget you very quickly if they only hear about you once.
And don’t rely only on social media for it. Reconnect with friends from your school days, and see what they are up to. Participate of your local community, and be more present at your children’s school. Try a new hobby that involves interacting with people, such as a book club or sports. You never know where you will meet an influencer or a great client.
Personal branding will take a lot of effort and time, but it is worthy. It will increase your sales and the engagement of your clients with your company and its products or services. You reputation is as important to them as your portfolio, so be sure that what you publish will also be taken into consideration.
Of course, each kind of businesses will have their specific demands based on their target audience, and you should be aware of them and ready to adapt. This means that you will have to choose and prepare your strategies and tactics carefully from your social media profiles to your body language. But it can be easily done if you base your decisions on reliable research.
And yet, the most important thing here is to be yourself. Changing the person that you are so to increase the number of followers on your Twitter account won’t work in the long term. Except if you are a professional actor, you will sound fake or awkward, so don’t even think about it. Of course, you can improve your current skills, but trust that you have something unique to offer and build up your personal branding from there.