Building a Personal Brand
What Is a Personal Brand and Why Do You Need One?
What do you look for when you decide to make a purchase or hire a company to provide a service? Are you checking them out online, looking at their website, reading reviews, reviewing samples of their work, and learning a little bit more about them and their background?
If you’re smart, that’s precisely what you’re doing. Because you want to know who or what you’re getting into business with. This is particularly true with large transactions, but even the day-to-day decisions are influenced in this way; how often do you check out a restaurant's Yelp reviews before deciding where to eat dinner? It’s a small thing, but the implications are far-reaching.
When going about the task of business acquisition, whether you’re just starting out or have been in the game for years, the way you present yourself, your brand, and your abilities are critical. Yes, you are the one doing the buying. You are the purchaser. You are the one planning on coughing up a lot of money. But that’s just one side of the coin. At the end of the day, you still need to be able to sell yourself. That desire for credibility is a two-way street.
Why It’s Important to Build a Personal Brand
- It tells people to work specifically with YOU. Your personal brand is how you’ll be represented to the community. It’s an opportunity to showcase your talents and expertise, show off your personality, and create a clear picture of the person you are.
- It helps you stand out from the crowd. Your personal brand is a way to show what you can do and what you’re all about, but it can also show how you’re different from the competition and the value you bring.
- It allows you to understand your own strengths and weaknesses better. “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom,” according to Aristotle, and he was probably on to something. The process of building your personal brand is a unique opportunity to spend time really getting to know yourself and your strengths, and more importantly, your shortcomings and weaknesses. With this knowledge in hand, you will be more effective in your delivery and will present a more honest and accurate image of yourself and your capabilities.
- It helps you market yourself more efficiently. Staying cohesive across all the platforms will make your life infinitely easier, not to mention it looks more professional. Have a set color scheme, font selection, tag line, mission statement, bio, etc. Use it for everything: Your business cards, website, social media posts - any place where you are “advertising” yourself. It might seem like a superficial detail, but when you read the words “Golden Arches” or hear the phrase “Just do it,” you know exactly what we’re talking about. There’s power in recognition.
- It provides legitimacy and inspires trust. Having a well-thought-out personal brand puts a face to the name and shows that you’re an authority in this area. It shows you’re not just another Joe-Schmo off the street or a Snake Oil salesman trying to swindle a deal.
- It creates new opportunities. Building your personal brand, marketing yourself as an authority, showing your successes, and telling your story will lead to open doors and opportunities that can take your business to new heights.
How To Build a Personal Brand
- Create a website or lead page. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, but it should be professional and a site where potential customers or sellers can learn more about you.
- Write a great bio. Make it catchy, memorable, and succinct.
- Curate your social media presence. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram - whatever you decide to use, make the profile pic, bio, etc., the same across all of them.
- Share content that has value. Don’t repost just to repost.
- When you share content that’s not your own, always include your own personal spin or anecdote. Tell your audience why YOU’RE sharing it, what YOUR takeaways were, and why YOU think it’s worth reading. Otherwise, you’re just promoting someone else as an authority on the subject.
- Engage with your audience. Reply to comments. Ask questions. Start a newsletter. Start a podcast. Do live Q&As. Don’t let it be a one-way conversation.
- Build relationships with other brands. Whether it’s another entrepreneur you want to work with, or someone you simply admire, building relationships with other experts in the field will help bolster your own legitimacy. Interact with them, share their content, and be intentional like you would in any “real-life” relationship.
- Provide social proof. Don’t expect people just to take your word for it. You have to earn their trust. This can be achieved via customer testimonials, media mentions, published articles, endorsements, social media shares, or followers.
Some Final Thoughts
If you’re someone who is uncomfortable with self-promotion and the idea of “selling yourself” feels, dare we say, a bit braggadocious, that’s even MORE reason for you to heed this advice.
As we mentioned in the previous post, deals and opportunities aren’t going to fall into your lap. You can’t sit on your hands and hope for someone to discover you or take you seriously. (You’re going to be waiting a very long time.)
Creating a personal brand will provide legitimacy to your business, help you leverage and build partnerships, make you recognizable (online and in-person), and establish you as an expert/authority/go-to person - which will lead to more confidence, more deals, more money, and another step closer to the lifestyle you’re dreaming of that set you down this path to begin with.