Personal branding has been around for a long time, but it wasn’t until social media exploded on the scene that it has become so prominent—and simple—for small business owners and marketers.
What is a personal brand? Personal Branding is marketing yourself and your career. It means taking the time to build a positive reputation for your name--your personal name, not your business--on the Internet and through face-to-face interactions.
Personal branding has many advantages. It makes a company brand more relatable to its customers, and it also allows individuals to take their following with them wherever they go. Putting a personal face to your business is one of the best things you can do to endear yourself to your customers.
Here is a quick way to improve your personal brand, in 20 minutes or less:
Step 1: Decide how you want to appear online.
Try to stay true to your personality, but you also want to be consistent. What kind of things do you enjoy posting? Information? A little snarky humor? Inspirational comments? Use your natural personality to create consistent and relatable posts that your followers will enjoy and engage with. Then take a few minutes to schedule several of these kinds of posts on your social media sites.
If you have a personal blog, you’re already ahead of the game! Keep the same principle of consistency in mind when deciding what to write blog posts about.
Step 2: Google yourself.
Go ahead. Type in your name. What are the top things that pop up? Make sure your digital footprint is one that will appeal to your business’ audience, and tells a story you want people to hear. You can never get rid of past social media posting mistakes, but you can replace them with new profiles, new content, and improve first impressions new customers might be making of your brand based on your personal profiles.
Below are the top results for my personal brand. As you can see, it only shows my moonlighting career as an author, with little evidence of my mad marketing skills. I might want to take a little time to help Google recognize that I am both an author and a digital marketing professional.
Step 3: Create consistent profiles.
It is important that people who follow you on Twitter will also recognize your Google+ or Instagram profile right away. Grab a photo that best represents you and put it as your profile pictures for all your social media accounts.
Many business professionals choose a nice head shot, but if you have an image that really represents the personal brand you're trying to build, go with that to stand out. For example, if you’re a car dealer, you might want a picture of you with your favorite vehicle, or a fitness coach might choose to use a picture of them in their workout gear. Just make sure it is a professional-looking AND professional quality photo.
As you can see from my photo, it will be difficult for contacts to recognize me at a conference or trade show, so I might want to consider replacing it with something else.
Step 4: Link your profiles to your company page(s) or website.
If you haven’t already, make sure you include your company website and mention of your businesses’ page on your social media profiles. Use appropriate hashtags to increase the “searchability” of your profile for people looking to connect with a professional like you!
Creating a personal brand might not be for everyone. But if you feel comfortable sharing even a little of your life, and have a knack for creating interesting or entertaining posts (or you’re willing to try), it can be a great way to personalize your business, as well as give your professional life more value while making YOU more marketable.
Have any questions or opinions about personal branding? Drop them in the comments below!