Whether you take note of it or not, branding in the era of quick information is becoming increasingly personal. Personal branding is both a lifestyle and a strategy – it is systematically establishing yourself as a certain kind of brand.
What you do online matters, because the impression you leave lives on. Corporations are present in the same channels as consumers, as part of the process of being closer to them, while also trying to understand them better. This is why it is important for companies and employees alike to work on their online presence.
Where to get started with building a personal brand?
It goes without saying (though I’ll say it anyway) that different brands require different channels, and what works for someone may not work for another. For companies, Employee Advocacy is an effective method of branding through your employees. Much like creating a digital content strategy, building a personal brand is a combination of experimentation and planning.
You can and should, from the very start:
1) Make yourself visible
Regardless of your business or brand type, setting up your own website is excellent for your online findability and ranking. Monitor your visibility: set up hashtags and use analytics. Be present and active on major social media sites. You can prefer certain channels over others, but you shouldn’t ignore any of the ones you have established. Hopefully you also have a unique name attached to your brand.
Making yourself noticed pays off in a number of ways. An opportunity may come in the form of a Twitter mention or long-term collaboration. Remember to take into account the register and target audience of each channel.
2) Define your image
This is kind of your personal logo – only the logo should carry some actual substance. What are the components that make up the brand that is you? In other words, what are the qualities and skills that frequently come up, when building up your image? The point here is not to reinvent yourself, but work with what you have. Convey your successful encounters and cases to others; make sure that the good things said about you will not go unnoticed.
By being yourself, you are more likely to draw in the right connections than by trying to please everyone. Ideally you only associate yourself professionally with brands you wish to be connected to personally. When assuming the role of an expert on something, you should be up-to-date and well-versed in the facts on the subject.
3) Present yourself well
Follow interesting influencers and learn from them. Invest and personalize your site, brand visuals and calling card. Always maintain standards. Public accounts should be curated well and private personal accounts should also abide by certain standards.
Interact with your audience and network systematically. Never say you’re too busy. And most importantly: don’t give anyone reason to tarnish your reputation. The person you casually start chatting with on the bus stop could be your future LinkedIn connection, sales lead, or even dog walker. Remember this?
So be nice.
4) Tell your story
This is the most personal part. People love stories. Providing them with your story gives them a reason to care. It doesn’t need to be the invention story of the century, but providing fun facts goes a long way in carrying out the message you wish to send out. This may also help bring in similar stories and connections from unexpected places.
Teach and learn
What’s best, during the process of creating a brand for themselves, you are also polishing your image for yourself to improve (you’re welcome). You might also improve yourself in the course of doing so: see for example an introvert’s first step guide for nearly pain-free personal branding.
So wander out, make some friends and wave that flag proudly.