Jobs had it. Branson and Zuckerberg have it. Obama has it and Trump has it too.
What is it? Answer: a strong personal brand.
Take any one of those names and you can very quickly describe that person’s public persona in very precise detail. You know exactly who they are and what they stand for. You could probably even explain the clothes they wear and the way in which they style their hair.
Now, I’m not suggesting you need to start a wearing black roll-neck top or begin combing your hair back into a bright yellow quiff. But, if you haven’t started thinking about it yet, your personal brand is something you should begin to pay close attention to.
Your personal brand is much more than just what you look like; it’s your voice. And your voice can be heard by the greatest number of people, online. By cultivating a strong digital persona you can establish yourself as a thought leaderin your particular field of expertise. Demonstrating authority in this area will support business growth as you become the go-to girl or guy for knowledge on a topic.
Personal branding needn’t be difficult. We’ve put together five things you can begin doing online today to start sculpting your digital persona.
1. Choose a consistent image
Get a high-quality headshot photograph taken and use this consistently across all of your communication platforms. People need a way to instantly recognise you online and avoid confusion with others. Think of your photo as your logo; it’s your unique visual identifier. Take a look at the names you use across your various channels too; are they consistent? If not, try to standardise them.
2. Use social media
Or rather; use social media effectively. Like it or not, social media has the power to speak to far more people than you ever could at your local networking event. It can be a drain on your time though if you don’t use it in a considered manner, so start by just selecting one or two platforms that you feel comfortable with. For many business owners and managers, this will be LinkedIn and Twitter, but Facebook, Instagram or even Snapchat could be right for you. Share interesting and business relevant links and avoid slagging people off (unless that’s the sort of brand you are going for of course!).
Huge exposure can be created for both you and your business by writing content. Write about what you know. Share interesting insights and information and demonstrate your expertise. A single article has the potential to reach thousands of people if it is deemed shareable enough by those around you. You don’t need your own personal website to publish articles; you can use your company website, LinkedIn, Medium or, best of all, ask to publish as a guest for an influential website in your industry. Writing content can form the basis of your very own personal ‘inbound marketing strategy’.
4. Make Videos
Creating engaging video content is no longer expensive or time-consuming and it can do wonders for the strength of your personal brand. You could start by recording a webinar. You can do this for free using Google Hangouts and then publish it straight to YouTube. If you don’t fancy going in front of a camera, you could try recording a podcast instead.
5. Join the conversation
Where do those in your industry gather? Like-minded people naturally form clusters online, much like they do in real life. They might be active members of an online forum or part of a specialist Facebook group. Find them and add your voice to the conversation. If you begin to become known in the right circles, this will add to your authority and increase your professional exposure.
Crafting a strong personal brand can’t be achieved overnight. It is something that you need to keep chipping away at day-by-day. Regularly apply small chunks of effort to the five points above and you’ll wake up one day and realise that business is booming because you’re a thought leader, and you didn’t even need to change your fashion sense.