Building your own personal brand is a must these days.
You think branding is only for business and companies? Think again. Whether you own a business or working for another business, you need a personal branding strategy.
Branding used to be a term associated with businesses and companies. Those entities that spend millions of dollars to project a positive image of themselves.
But nowadays, branding is no longer limited to companies or businesses. Today people are talking about personal brands. Your own individual brand. And you don’t even have to be a TV or movie celebrity nor a politician to develop your own brand.
But who cares about branding?
If big companies and businesses spend lots of money to project and protect their brand, there must be something to it, right? Businesses need to have a good and positive brand because they know their clients and potential clients want to deal and be associated with a great brand.
An article in Forbes magazine described brand as “Your ‘brand’ is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name.”
And that is why big businesses allocate a sizeable amount of spend in their brand. This is why luxury item makers want to paint a picture of elegance, exclusivity, style and sophistication. Some companies that want to be seen as cool, innovative, playful, fun or creative go to great lengths to project those images in their brand.
What is your personal brand?
If you bring the branding idea to a personal or individual level, this means how you present or project yourself can affect other people’s perception of you. And like big companies, you also want to be seen in a positive light. You may not exude luxury all the time, but you want people to have a very good image of yourself when your name is mentioned, right?
This is why success-driven people and those who want to stand out from the crowd are deliberately putting their personal branding strategy in place. What is your personal branding strategy?
Why is your personal brand important?
Nowadays people search for everything and anything online. Whether you’re looking for content writers in Sydney, a financial marketing agency or an online trading company, all you have to do is type it in Google and you will be served up a few items.
The same is true when people search for other people. By typing in your name, people can find out what has been written up about you. They can find where you have been mentioned or seen or tagged. Whether you’re quoted in a news article, mentioned in a write up or interviewed by the media, most likely those items will show up when your name is searched.
Search engines are very accessible and everyone uses it. And with the different social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest (and many others) anyone can search for you very easily these days.
Whether you like it or not, other people will check you out even before they meet you.
These days it’s not a surprise anymore that when you go to a meeting with a potential client or a prospective business partner, most likely they have done a search on you on the Internet. And you would have done the same as you would like to know at least some basic information about the people you would be meeting with. What would be more surprising (and actually unthinkable) is if you go to a meeting without checking or doing a search on the person you’re meeting with.
While the thought that someone is checking on you (maybe not all the time?) could be unsettling at times, this can be an opportunity for you to build your profile through social media and other online channels.
This is because most of the time people will rely on what they find out about you online. Whether they see extensive positive mentions about you or they see very few items may influence their perception of you.
“It’s important to build a personal brand because it’s the only thing you’re going to have. Your reputation online, and in the new business world is pretty much the game, so you’ve got to be a good person. You can’t hide anything, and more importantly, you’ve got to be out there at some level.” – Gary Vaynerchuk –
While it is not the only measure of your personal brand or profile, your online presence plays an important role on how people perceive you. What is written up about you in various online channels and social media have a bearing on your personal brand.
Who is checking your profile?
You may be surprised, but people searching for you may come from anywhere and everywhere. And if you’re in business or in a corporate role, these are just some of the groups of people who may be searching (or doing research) for you.
Media people/ Journalists – Long before the advent of search engines, journalists have a way or doing research on topics and people when they write articles. Every newspaper has their own extensive archive of information where journalists can do the basic research – e.g. what has been written up on a topic or a person previously.
These days journalists may still use their own archives. But more and more they are using publicly available information including those found online. You could expect that a journalist will be searching on Google and will try to find out who you are and where you have been mentioned previously the moment you call them to pitch a story.
Potential clients – These are the people who may be interested in your company, your products or services and they want to check you out before they do business with you. They will check whether you have a website and then check who the people are behind the company. Again, their perception of you and your company may be influenced by what they read and see about you online.
“Personal branding is about managing your name – even if you don’t own a business – in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records. Going on a date? Chances are your ‘blind’ date has Googled your name.” – Tim Ferriss
Potential investors – Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a FinTech start-up, an existing business wanting to expand, most likely you will need investors to bring your company to the next stage of growth. With investors using more and more of social media to find out about businesses they want to invest in, it pays to have a positive personal brand for all the people behind your company. Or at least the top management or core members of your team.
Business partners – People want to do business with others whom they can trust. And potential business clients who may be looking at you and your company will be influenced by your personal brand and your status in the industry.
“If people like you, they will listen to you, but if they trust you they will do business with you.”
– Zig Ziglar –
Why is your personal branding strategy not working?
Some people think that having some sort of social media presence is enough to build their personal brand. So they set up a LinkedIn account or a Facebook page and then forget about it. They didn’t even bother to include updated information about themselves or their achievements in their jobs.
In some instances, setting up your social media presence but neglecting to do regular updates could be more detrimental to your personal brand.
This is because when people search for you and if all they could see online is outdated information, that will not be a good reflection of your personal brand.
At Profile Booster, we have dealt with many different professionals who thought they are doing a great job in building their personal brand. But the reality is exactly the opposite.
Here are some of the reasons we’ve identified on why people’s personal branding strategy is not working:
- Lack of time – most people are too busy with their jobs that they don’t have the time to work on their personal branding strategy.
- Lack of focus – while some people may have a personal branding strategy, they don’t have any focus which means their efforts could be wasted on some ineffective activities
- Lack of interest – some people are just not interested in developing their own personal brand. Whether they are too confident or too shy, these people take personal branding for granted as they believe they don’t have to do anything to enhance their own personal brand.
- Lack of strategy – some people don’t even have a personal branding strategy at all. Similar to the people who lack the interest, people in this group think they don’t need to develop their own personal brand.
What to do to enhance your personal branding strategy?
Having identified the reasons why your personal branding strategy is not working, let’s have a look at some of things you could do about it.
- Allocate a regular time – even if you only start with half an hour or an hour per week, it is ideal to set aside a regular time to work on your personal branding strategy. The more frequent and regular you do something for your own personal brand, the better you will be at it and the easier it will get.
- Set goals and focus on meeting them – start with some small goals that will keep you focused. Once you’ve reached a goal, move to the next one and then to the next one. Goals can focus your efforts and energy. And they can also provide a way to measure your success in implementing your personal branding strategy.
- Take interest in your own personal brand – it’s one of the realities in the business world that you have to look after your career and personal brand. Because if you don’t, no one else will do it for you. Whether you believe you already have an established personal brand or just starting to build your own personal brand, you have to maintain an interest in protecting and boosting your own brand.
- Have a personal branding strategy – whether you’re aspiring to get that top job or to be running a whole company division, having a personal branding strategy will help you focus on achieving that goal.
Using social media to build your personal brand
Using social media is one of the most powerful ways to build your personal brand. This is because social media channels have built-in features and capabilities to reach a wide audience. They also serve as platforms to express your ideas and highlight your skills and achievements. Using these powerful channels must be part of your personal branding strategy.
The more active you are the more influence you have
In a recent update, a Sydney-based writers centre reported that authors who are active online and who have presence on social media channels tend to have many followers. And they generate more sales compared to those who are not active online or on social media.
You may say you are not in the business of selling books so you don’t need to work on developing your profile. But the fact is other people – your clients, potential clients, industry colleagues or business partners – perceive you and paint a picture of you depending on how you present yourself. Whether you call that personal profile or personal brand, people perceive (and judge?) you in certain ways. And this could mean positive or negative perception depending on how you present yourself.
How do you build your personal brand?
Like creating anything important, building your own personal brand needs careful planning and strategy. At Profile Booster, we have a strategy that we implement for clients to help them build and enhance their personal brands. While social media is part of the strategy, there are many other components that play important roles in building your personal brand.
Our strategy to build your personal brand include:
- Audit and analysis of your profile – we research and analyse all relevant coverage and mentions about you in the media, social channels and other sources.
- Identify pockets of opportunities
- Design a strategic campaign to optimise those opportunities
- Implement the campaign using different channels
- Measure and review results
What’s your personal branding strategy?
As many successful business owners and influential people have attested to the importance of building their personal brands, what are you doing or what have you done to build and enhance your own personal brand?
We are keen to hear from you about your strategy and success toward building a strong and positive brand – your brand.