You Need A Personal Brand, Especially If You're Building A Business.
It's easy to think, “Hey, I'm working on my business brand—I don't need to worry about my personal brand!”
That couldn't be more wrong.
When both you and your employees work on your personal brands, your business wins.
When people know who you are, when they read your content on a regular basis, when they see you interacting in the community, they're more likely to trust your business.
By the same token, when your employees are involved and known in your community, they can start to bring in customers too.
And where's the easiest place to start building your brand? Online of course!
Below are few tips on how to build your personal brand online (and boost your business' brand while you're at it.)
I don’t know about you, but I like to know who I’m doing business with.
I always appreciate when I know a little about the owner of a business and not just the business name—it helps me feel more comfortable about spending money with someone if I can see that they are who they say they are.
But personal branding isn't just for the business owner—in the digital age, it’s for everyone, even your grandmother!
Personal branding is about managing your name — even if you don’t own a business — in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records. Going on a date? Chances are that your “blind” date has Googled your name. Going to a job interview? Ditto.
The point is, your info is out there, whether you’re aware of it or not. You can let it sit out there, looking good or looking bad on its own…
Or you can take control of it.
Your personal brand doesn't just encompass your professional work it is anything related to you—online and offline.
Ready to take control? Here are 3 helpful tips so you can start building your own personal brand:
1. Google Your Name And See What Comes Up
This is step numero uno. If you have no idea what your name is associated with, you need to find out now.
Your name could be associated with nothing.
Or, you could share a name with a famous tiger-taming comedic actress in Sweden.
But if you don’t check, you’ll never know.
Once you know what’s out there, you can work on influencing it. I find value in having a Google+ profile because it allows me to have a little more influence on what Google displays about me and how it displays that information.
And since Google is not only where most people start researching you, but also the place where you have the least control, any method of influencing it should interest you.
Did you know that you can set an alert on Google for your name and even your business? Sh-yeah, neato!
That way, when something new is posted online, like a news article (or a Facebook post that went viral for all the wrong reasons), you will get a notification #ThanksGoogle.
2. Develop Your Personal Mission Statement
Every successful company has a mission statement—something they strive to do or be.
Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.
My personal mission is to make an impact in and through the areas I care about most: family, community, and marketing.
Ready to write your own mission statement? Start by asking yourself, “What do I want to be known for?“ Create a word cloud by writing down all the words you want to be associated with you.
Then, start putting these words into short phrases, little sound bites about you. Finally, write a sentence. Keep it short and sweet. Use strong verbs and focus on what you want to do and how you want to do it.
3. Get Digital
Part of building a personal brand is building and nurturing connections—and one place to start is with friends and family.
Guys, there are so many tools we can use to update our friends, family, and network about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Letting the people around know what’s going on with you is a great way to start networking (and be a part of your community at the same time!)
Social media is a great place to start, but that’s not the only marketing tool available to you. Building a personal website is awesome, but you have to know what you’re doing—you don’t want to build some junky weebly website that reflects poorly on you. The personal website might be something you put together down the road with the help of an expert.
In the meantime, you can use a few simple digital tools to tell your circles about the initiatives in your life that are in line with that “personal mission statement” you just made. Here are a few of my favorites:
MailChimp allows you to create newsletters and deploy them to your email contacts at no cost. That’s right! Free-gratis-frei!
Consider creating a monthly or maybe even quarterly newsletter—this helps you foster a sense of community and also keeps you in their minds for that mission you’re trying to achieve. That way, when an opportunity arises that falls in line with your mission, you’ll be the first person they call, and not the last.
If you’re a professional and you’re not on LinkedIn, literally what are you doing with your life? Get on there!
LinkedIn is a necessity for a business professional (or anyone that thinks they will one day be looking for a job).
And unless you’re independently wealthy or have a secret trust fund I don’t know about, that’s basically everyone.
Your LinkedIn profile should incorporate your personal mission statement in some aspect, but it’s more than that.
It is a catalog of all your successes—like a digital resume. You can show off all the fun organizations you’re involved in and a listing of all the people that you have networked with. Instead of keeping a drawer filled with business cards (and facing the nightmare of sorting through them), LinkedIn sorts everything nicely for you—and it’s free!
Plus, LinkedIn’s publishing capability allows you to create posts in blog form to share with the online community (And, you're reading one at the moment). If you’re not ready to make your personal website just yet, LinkedIn publishing is a great place to start.
These Are Just Beginnings—Your Ultimate Goal Should Be A Website
At the end of the day, you have something of value that you want to share with people. Your business card, your social media posts, and your LinkedIn posts all should point somewhere—to one place that people can find out what you’re really about—and that’s your website.
If you’re in the beginning stages of building your personal brand, the website might be far in the future, but it should always be the ultimate goal.
Hope you found this useful? If so, please do share with your friends and colleagues. And if you still don’t believe that your personal brand is important, maybe someone with more business chops can convince you!
It’s important to build a personal brand because it’s the only thing you’re going to have. Your reputation online, and in the new business world is pretty much the game, so you’ve got to be a good person. You can’t hide anything, and more importantly, you’ve got to be out there at some level.