Branding is the best way to find your identity and to differentiate yourself in the market and field of work. Think of Apple’s iconic symbol or McDonald’s “I’m lovin it” slogan. Everyone is familiar with these brands and the values they represent.
In today’s modern world, it has become even more important to build personal brands for yourself. Just with traditional company branding, a personal brand requires you to find a unique voice, a recognisable image and values that your fans or readers can grow to recognise.
Why do you need a personal brand?
Recently, I was having a conversation with some of my friends who insisted they had no personal brand – despite having Twitter and Instagram account which they post to regularly. But whether they like it or not, they have a certain reputation on these platforms. This reputation counts towards your personal brand.
In the past, your personal brand would have related to how people perceived you in offline situations, such as meetings or networking events. But with the rise of social media and other digital platforms, your personal brand has now become easily accessible to anyone. That includes your boss or your future employer! Some might even call it your online resume.
A good personal brand should establish your credibility, inspire others and allow you to succeed in your niche area. The good news is that everyone can have a strong personal brand, including you! We’ve got you covered with some tips to help you make your brand the best it can be.
1. Identify your uniqueness and strengths
Think about your characteristics and strengths. What makes you special? Or what are you good at? This doesn’t have to be a skill or hobby, it can be your personality, such as your crazy sense of humour or your obsession with keeping things tidy. If you’re stuck on finding ideas, ask a friend or colleague. Once you know that one thing you rock at, it’s time to own that space.
2. Learn, learn and never stop learning!
You’ve found that one special thing that makes you, you! Now, it’s time to perfect that skill or talent. Learn everything you can, read every article on the subject, keep up to date with the latest and become an expert at it. There’s no worse feeling than finding out that the thing you’re mostly good at, is the thing you actually don’t know anything about.
3. Get yourself a website
To bring your personal brand to life, you’ll need a website. A virtual space for you to include all your ramblings and experience. Your website could be under your own name or something that represents you. Spend time making it your own, by choosing strong images and colours to represent you. And keep these consistent with your branding. If you need some inspiration our contributor’s blogs are some great examples.
4. Show the real you on social media
Social media is a chance for you to interact with people in your field and gain valuable connections that can excel your personal brand. But in order to make effective use of social media, it is important that you show the real you and don’t come across as a robot.
Your fans will love to see what you do over the weekend, where you eat and what your interests are. A little piece of advice, don’t try to create profiles on every single social media platform out there (it’ll drive you crazy). Stick to the ones you’re good at and are getting the most engagement on.
5. Get networking!
Having an online presence is nice in the short-term. But if you really want to grow your personal brand, then it’s time to go back to basics. Networking is a great way to meet people from all over and to develop a list of useful contacts.
The best way to network is to focus on two-way networking. This means you’ll have to consider the benefits that you can offer to the other party. It not’s about me, me, me and remember that! A nice piece of advice someone gave me was to ask questions about the other person’s career and what made them choose that career path. Naturally, they’ll start asking about you and then it’s your time to shine.
6. Become the trusted source
Anyone can set up a website or post on social media. To really demonstrate creditability you need to know your industry inside and out. You need to live, breath and sleep knowing every detail, update and trend.
Everything you do should reflect and relate to your area of expertise. That means posting blog posts, articles, sharing news, giving talks, and even organising seminars to teach others. All these activities will let people know that you are the “go to” person in this industry for advice and expertise.
7. It’s collaboration time!
Just like company brands, individuals can’t build their personal brand up alone. At the start of your journey, you might look for a mentor in your industry and get as much advice as you can.
Networking events in your area are a good place to find mentors and others with a similar background. As time goes by, you will want to form partnerships and work with other similar individuals. Examples of collaborations could include interviews, guest blogging, training sessions or seminars.
8. Don’t give up easily
This is probably the most important tip. Never give up! The road to developing an awesome personal brand can be a bumpy one, filled with knockbacks, disappointment and rejection. The important thing is that you stay positive and have clear goals of what you want to achieve.
If you feel like it getting too difficult, remember this quote from Winnie the Pooh, “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
The bottom line
Sure, everyone has a personal brand to some extent these days. But, creating an awesome personal brand is no easy job. It requires time, patience and resilience. In the end, it will all be worth it because your personal brand is something that no one can take away from you. It will stay with you throughout your career and life, always growing and demonstrating your strong leadership in a particular area.