The concept of a business building a brand for itself is pretty common. Most, if not all, businesses are branded, and they make tons of money by developing those brands. So, why can’t people do the same? A personal brand isn’t that much different from a business brand. Instead of marketing a product or service, you’re marketing yourself.
Let’s give this a go… If you Google your name, what comes up? If you say “nothing” then you probably haven’t spent a great deal of time developing your personal brand. But that’s ok, we all have to start somewhere.
Whether you’re a CEO, head of marketing or vice president of sales, personal branding can go a long way in helping you create valuable and meaningful connections with a captive audience online, which in turn can heavily influence buying decisions.
Here’s how New York Times Bestseller and marketing guru, Al Lautenslager, describes it: “My one take on [personal branding] is that social media activity allows for humanisation of the brand. Remember people buy from people — not logs, icons, labels or such. Humanising social media information is important for prospective buyers. Let people know that you are just a real, regular person.”
When you build personal brand, you’ll be able to create the trust and respect necessary to have more honest and authentic discussions with prospects and customers. When you become a thought leader, you’re creating an opportunity in which your prospects become your followers who value and enjoy your advice. As they consider a purchase, your individualised expertise will be a huge selling point.
So, if you’re serious about building your personal brand, here are the steps you can take to go from zero to digital hero:
Own a narrative
It’s a good idea to develop your brand in a specific niche. Having a voice on a particular topic or theme that is relevant to your expertise and passions — be it tech innovation, diversity or data science — will go a long way in establishing you as a go-to expert and credible voice on those specific subjects.
Start off by writing a list of as many that come to mind and see if there are any links between them. I would suggest sticking to two or three topics max, to give your personal brand identity as much focus as possible.
Showcase your expertise
Once you’ve established your area of expertise, you need to show it off and let the world know what you’re passionate about. Write blogs on these topics, share relevant articles that journalists, analysts or other influencers have written (but don’t forget to add your own opinions/spin to it!), and post frequently, so you’re always front of mind.
Connect and network with influencers
Finally, the key to sustaining growth in your personal brand on social media is networking extensively. Make sure you engage with other people in your industry and connect with social influencers.
Note the types of content they share and how their followers respond, and try to build your own following by using their approach as inspiration.