From consultants and coaches, to artists, makers and designers, more and more entrepreneurs and business owners are seeing the value of a strong personal brand.
Whether you have a business with a name of its own or you use your name for your brand, anyone who uses an online presence, social media or networking to help grow their business has a personal brand of some description.
This is a valuable and powerful thing, because people like doing business with people more than with other businesses.
So how do you build and protect a powerful personal brand? Here are five tips for you.
Admit you are a brand.
We all have some form of a personal brand so it’s time for you to admit this to yourself and get comfortable with that idea. Admitting that this is a reality allows you to take control of cultivating a personal profile you are proud of and that can work to helping you achieve your goals.
Even if you keep your life private, if you share online and market your products under a business name, your customers and potential customers do business with you and they want to know the person behind the business. Sharing parts of yourself and your story helps build relationships and trust with your audience.
You don’t need to compromise privacy or share any more than you are comfortable with to have an effective personal brand, but you do have to admit that you have one.
Define your YOU Brand
Decide what you want to be known for and what things you want people to associate with you and your name.
This might be a topic or a subject matter you want to be an expert, or thought leader in. It might be a specific art form, industry or skill set you want to be known for.
Also think about the values you want to have connected to your brand and what ethics and standards you want people to associate with you.
How do you want to be seen by the world?
Be in it for the long game
Consider your personal brand as a long term investment and be sure to keep in mind your life long, 10 year and 5 year goals as well as your immediate plans.
If you hope to move from what you are doing into teaching or writing or whatever it may be, consider the long game as you set up your brand.
The business you run now may close, get sold on or simply morph into new and different areas, but if you have a strong, positive personal brand people will follow you from one project to the next.
And that means starting something new never has to be starting from scratch.
Let people see YOU
People connect better with people they know and can visualise, so be sure to let people see the face behind the business.
Share the odd photo (or a video if you are brave) to let your customers and potential customers meet you. This will allow them to feel a stronger connection to you and your business and they will be more likely to do business with you.
Get some professional headshots done for your website, share a selfie on your social media and remind people there is a person behind the brand.
If you feel shy about this, simply share a picture of your feet, letting people see part of your day or show your hands hard at work creating your art. Any image with a person in it (even a hand or a foot) is more engaging and relatable than one without.
Be yourself and share your personality
Use the language you use in everyday life. Share aspects of your day to day you are comfortable sharing. Let people see your sense of humour and share your unique personality.
This doesn’t mean you can’t edit your public image.
For example, in my everyday life I swear more than most people I know, but I choose not to use excessive language when I share online, or when I am networking with acquaintances.
Even on my personal accounts I don’t find it valuable to use many profanities (the odd one gets in let me assure you). I simply feel for me using the F-BOMB doesn’t add value to my brand while other very successfully build their bad language into being a defining and positive part of their personal branding.
Think about whether you are a uniquely enthusiastic person, or are you quiet and reserved? Are you witty and sarcastic? Perhaps you love reading? Or do you have a secret obsession with Nashville?
Think about the things that make you unique and what characteristics about your personality your friends and family love most about you – can you share these in some way with your audience?
Have fun with this process to define your personal brand.
You need to take it seriously and be smart and strategic about it to get the best results, but don’t over think it.
Be authentic, be kind and be useful to your audience and you can’t go too far wrong with it all.