With social media now an integral part of people’s lives, image, public perception, and the necessity for personal branding has never been higher.
Personal branding gives you an edge over your competition. It might help you snag your next promotion or get you the new job you want. It can help business owners expand their reach and establish you in your market.
Here are 10 proven strategies to help you build and optimize your personal brand:
1. Define Yourself
Determine your strengths and values. Figure out what sets you apart from your competitors. What are your goals? How do you plan to achieve them? If you want people to trust you, be your authentic self. It’s tempting to imitate successful people when developing your brand, but your efforts will fall flat if people perceive you as insincere.
2. Take the Stage
Use speaking engagements to improve your communication skills and increase your visibility. Start with small gatherings and work your way to bigger-ticket events. Be open to criticism, and always talk from a place of knowledge and power. You’ll position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, which is key to branding.
3. Write Blogs and Articles
Dedicate two hours a week to writing things that demonstrate your expertise. Distribute the articles to your network, on sites like LinkedIn or on a personal blog. Seek out feedback and use it to determine which topics work and what tone strikes a chord with your audience. Topics can be as diverse as you want, but focusing on subjects specific to your trade will, as with speaking, establish you as an expert. Posting content on a regular basis is key, so set a schedule for your writing and stick to it.
4. Manage Your Online Image
Create a personal website to make it easy for your name to be found by search engines. Start with a brief bio, CV, and links to your social media accounts. Audit the website and your social media accounts regularly to understand how people interact with your site, what’s being said about you on social media, how you’re perceived, and how you rank (particularly as it relates to your competition). This will help you improve your digital presence and differentiate yourself from the pack.
5. Develop a Strong Social Media Presence
Choose social media platforms that are compatible with your line of work. For instance, if you’re in the fashion business, Instagram or Snapchat may be your preferred choices. Make sure your bio is unique and select a high-quality personal photo for your profile. Post a healthy mix of professional and personal updates. Use keywords and hashtags effectively to be part of the conversation. Add value to your account by properly posting third-party content that’s pertinent to your brand. Associate yourself with companies and brands that enhance your image. Make sure your accounts are linked and your profiles are up-to-date.
6. Be Consistent
Be mindful of the personal brand message you convey online. Your goal is to have a consistent brand identity across all platforms. A consistent brand is a strong brand.
7. Upgrade Your Skills and Knowledge
Develop new skills and expand your knowledge. An entrepreneur needs to be dynamic. Your personal brand will be effective only if it remains relevant in changing times. A strong personal brand is always evolving. Attend workshops and industry events, take courses (in person or online), and read books.
8. Have an Elevator Pitch
Remember the old adage, “time is money.” Keep your message short and sweet. Be able to pitch your business – or yourself – in the time it takes to ride an elevator with someone. Create and hone a brief message, 60 seconds or less, that accurately defines you.
9. Repeat your Message
Even if your message is compelling, you’ll likely still have to repeat it many times, so persistence is important. The key is to strike a balance; you want people to hear your message, process it, and be receptive to it, not to get annoyed or feel inundated with repetitive messaging.
10. Make Valuable Connections
The best way to establish your brand authority is to recognize the work of your peers. This will deepen your connection to people in your industry and the audiences you reach. Like and share content from people both inside and outside of your network. Put yourself out there for things like media appearances, write guest blogs, go on podcasts. Every person you reach is a potential ambassador for your brand.
Today, personal branding is as important as it’s ever been. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to creating a powerful and effective brand for yourself.
Nithya Caleb | Contributing Writer