Branding yourself is just as important as branding your business. Personal branding does not only apply to coaches and media personalities. Your personal brand should be able to strengthen your business. Thus, branding yourself has never been more significant than ever.
Your personal brand could do severe damage to your business if it is not done right. It can either make you or break you – and that definitely includes your business.
To strengthen your brand and the business you are representing, let us consider these insightful ways to brand yourself.
1. Goals, hopes and vision
Have clarity and establish your goals and objectives. What do you want to be? Do you want to be known as a marketing guru? Do you want to be known as a design professional? Whatever your hopes and aspirations are, make it clear and focus on these things to happen. Create a vision of yourself. This way, you are focused on achieving the image you want for yourself and the brand equity you want to achieve.
You can do the following in order to be able to establish your goals, identify your hopes and see your vision:
- Identify the skills you currently have. What are those which you can use for your business and be known for?
- What do you hope to become?
- How do you see yourself 2 years from now, 5 years from now and 10 years from now?
- What strengths do you have that would bolster the brand of your business or the organisation you are representing? Focus on those strengths and make it a goal to develop them.
2. Research, observe and learn
It is a norm to recover from experience and learn from the mistakes. However, it would be wiser to observe the experiences of others and learn from their mistakes. In order to properly brand yourself, research what others are doing, especially your competitors or the ones who are in the same business industry.
In branding, it is always our goal to differentiate ourselves from others and stand out. In order to do this, you need to:
- Research your competitors.
- Observe what they are doing to market themselves and to build their brand.
- What strategies are working and what strategies are not?
- Identify what you can do to make yourself different.
You can always improvise what they are currently doing that is working for them. Moreover, you can consider the strategies which are not working and formulate new strategies. Observe how they interact with people and their target market and know these people’s reactions. Engage with your competitors. Do not see them as a threat, rather an inspiration.
3. Consistency and authenticity
Personal branding is done online and offline. You need to be consistent in both. The easiest way to be consistent is to remain authentic. Be honest. Do not make up stuff just to create yourself an image that people would love. Part of branding is creating an image of yourself which you want others to see, however, make sure that everything you share are things which tell about yourself, not a make believe.
Social media is a strong platform in personal branding. You can be whatever you want to be behind the keyboard. Keep in mind that a brand that lasts is a brand that people trust. If you make up lies just to catch everybody’s attention, you already lost on the first stage of branding.
Here are tips to be able to show consistency and authenticity:
- Share your personal experience which you think will inspire other people or your target market.
- Do not be afraid to show that you also experienced failure. Your audience will see that they can actually relate to you – which may in turn develop comfort and trust.
- Share but do not overshare. It is good to be personal. But always remember, not every information is worth sharing to the public. Have a little privacy.
- Network. Join groups and networks online and offline. Post and share content consistently and post from experience. You don’t have to put on effort to remember because it is your actual and honest experience. (Content is king! It is one of the most powerful ways to brand yourself.)
When people see that you are consistent, they are confident that you are being true. And that leads to trust. According to Zig Ziglar, “If people like you, they’ll listen to you. But if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”
4. Packaging and management
There are various ways of personal branding. But in order to be effective, you have to strategist a plan. Be able to list down your goals, hopes and vision, as mentioned in #1. Have an action plan – what you are going to do to achieve those goals. Be able to differentiate long-term and short-term goals. Have a definite timeline which you can follow. Being organised is a way to show that you are well-managed and disciplined – another way to self-brand positively. For example, if you’re creating a packaging design, add every element referencing your brand in a synchronized way.
Choose the social media platforms you are going to use. Examples of effective branding platforms are the following:
- LinkedIn – Target market is composed of career professionals. This is a great way to showcase your academic achievements, work experience and skills.
- Facebook – The most popular social media platform used by Americans. If you want to target a particular age group, then use Facebook. You can network with different kinds of people and create groups for your potential niche.
- Pinterest – Creative and crafty individuals hang out in Pinterest. Stay at home mothers, artistic individuals and people who want to DIY stuff.
- Instagram – People who are in to photography and capturing moments love Instagram. However, these days, it is also being used to feature products. Use this to connect with entrepreneurs.
- Twitter – Small businesses hang out in Twitter. Be able to connect and establish your brand in this platform.
There are other platforms available. However, you must choose and manage the ones which you think fits your branding and the ones which you think your target niche hang out the most. Manage your social media accounts in a way that they are consistent to each other. The personality you show in LinkedIn should also project in your Twitter profile.
5. Ask people, Google yourself and evaluate
The best way to know how people perceive you is to ask them. Ask your friends or those who belong to your niche how they see you – positively and negatively. Create a survey among business buddies.
Another option is to Google yourself. Try to search yourself and examine the link results and the descriptions along with it. Evaluate whether the image and links you are seeing are the ones which you want your potential clients and customers to see. You can also use Google in observing the updates regarding your industry – what are people talking about, the issues and the like. Use these information to boost your branding.