Everyone has a personal brand, but most of us don’t realise it. But when clients randomly Google our names, they often do find us – and sometimes what they find isn’t very flattering!
Luckily you can take some control over this by using social media to create a strong personal brand.
So, why do you actually need a personal brand if you’re a small business owner?
Here’s 5 pretty good reasons:
#1: The right personal branding can help you to establish yourself as an expert in your field, a thought leader, or an influencer.
#2: By taking control of and building your personal brand, you ensure that people see what you want them to when they Google you, rather than random stuff.
#3: It’s a great clarifying process that forces you to decide what you want to be known for
#4: Businesses need to provide high-value social content, and so do you. When it comes to personal branding, you are your business.
#5: It’s a great way to let your personality shine through, so that potential clients can decide whether they want to work with you.
So as you can see, there are some very compelling reasons for consciously working on your personal brand, to make it a powerful representation of who you are and what you stand for.
Building Your Personal Branding and Managing It
Step 1: Set Your Personal Branding Goals
As I mentioned earlier, everyone has a personal brand – you just may not realise how extensive your’s is. Wherever you’ve entered personal data, you’ve created a persona that makes up part of your personal brand.
Add to these personas aggregated data like browsing history, shopping habits, and social media, and that’s your current online persona.
Now, while you can’t do much to change the data companies can gather regarding your online spending habits or the information gleaned from your browsing history, you absolutely can control how you present yourself to the digital world via social media branding.
And that starts with answering a few simple questions:
What are your business goals? What are you building towards? How do you intend to move towards achieving these goals?
These are important questions, as without these clear goals, you’ll never achieve branding success, as your posts will be too scattered to be useful or influential. You should also make sure that the answers to these questions are contained in your business plan.
For example, if your long-term goal is to create your own very successful graphics design and creative agency, it’s important that you join and participate in industry-related conversations and network with other influencers in this space.
So that when prospective clients search for you, you’ll show up in a number of places. This gives you solidity as a profile, especially when you don’t jut show up om your own website.
Step 2: Audit Your Current Personal Branding
Clear all your browsing history or open a private/incognito window, then Google your name.
Doing this ensures the search results are unbiased and that you are seeing the same results as a potential client or random Joe Bloggs.
Then you can see what position you are on the page. And who else is there.
What position are you at in the search results? Who else is on that page?
Here’s mine. I have to say I feel that I’d win the beauty parade, too.
Think about how you can stand out from the rest of the entries.
Do the same thing again with your name and a keyword or key phrase from your existing goals, or a description such as graphics designer or the industry you want to stand out in.
Keep going until you have a really good idea of what’s already out there about you. And also about other people with your name who might be in your space too…
Step 3: Be in like Flynn
Ok, now that you’ve worked out what you want to be famous for, and who you need to beat to get to the top of the list, you need to get cracking.
Look for the platforms that your persona mapping work will tell you that your clients most likely use.
Then go and join those platforms by establishing accounts on all of them.
We have joined every Facebook site we can find that applies to our mission to help peoples successfully start and grow a business. We like, share, comment daily. But we do it very subtlely. There’s no need to rush. And not all sites are alike in terms of activity, so we tend to stick with the ones with high activity.
And make sure you don’t forget LinkedIn. You’ll probably need to optimise your profile so that you’re easily found. You can do that by checking this really useful free guide by Sam Rathling.
Pinterest can be good too, depending on what you do, because it’s a great source of engagement, which is what you are aiming for.
Make sure your profiles are consistent and use the same handle, photo, bio, and links.
Do you have a website already? If so, great, you’ve got somewhere else to establish your brand and host your online profile and to contain all your thought-provoking blog posts.
The absolute master of driving traffic to your website is Neil Patel and you can find him at www.neilpatel.com
Step 4: Create Your Personal Branding Strategy
You can’t just throw shit at the wall and hope some of it sticks. For a start, you run the very real risk of having your domain black-listed, never to return.
So you need to develop a personal branding strategy. No different to what you’d do with a business – oh wait!! You ARE a business!!
There are 2 things to think about here:
#1 How often you should post
Don’t flood your social feeds with repetitive posts or do too many, too often, otherwise, you’ll look like a spammer rather than a thought leader.
We work on the basis of posting on Facebook daily, and LinkedIn every couple of days. And that’s in addition to all our work on the sites where our target audience hangs out.
So, you don’t need to go crazy. You can find plenty of online guidance as to the best timings for the social media you need to be prominent on.
#2 Type of content you’re posting
People want to get to know you, but they don’t want to only ever read about you, your ideas, or what you had for dinner.
To develop your personal brand on social media, you need to figure out a rough ratio of what to post and when. And then to put all that into a social media content schedule.
The splits here are a good guide to get you started. We arrived at this by trial and error, and then found that lots of blogs talked about this split, so we could have saved ourselves the pain!
- 40% interacting with other people, engaging in conversations on important, relevant topics
- 25% sharing posts, blogs, websites, and similar that are not yours, but are relevant to your audience
- 25% new posts about you, your thoughts, what you feel is important
- 10% advertising products you love, your own brand, and self-promotional content.
And it’s a good idea to approach things in this order too. As you get better known through your interactions, you can move down the list.
And lastly, this is not a sprint. It’s a long distance endurance race. So you need to
Step 5: Persevere
Setting up your personal brand and becoming well known too you target audience doesn’t happen overnight, but in the word of the shampoo commercial it WILL happen – it just takes time and persistence to gather lots of followers and to be seen as a someone with a valuable take on life.
So, stick to your strategy and post regularly as dictated by your content schedule calendar.
You can use an auto-scheduler that you can load up with posts, and it will post them for you at specified times, so you can plan ahead.
So that’s it! Five reasons why you need a personal brand, and five ways to build one. It’s not complicated. It needs good research, application and perseverance. With those three you can move mountains.