Like it or not, our social media accounts are representing our personal brand. Having a personal brand means having a distinct understanding of who you are and what you have to offer, and being able to communicate that in an effective way. Self awareness and management of your personal brand provides consistency and allows potential opportunities (jobs, clients/customers, etc) to anticipate a specific ROI through working with you at ‘hello’.
“You had me at hello.”
Over the past few day’s I’ve taken a deeper look into how various individuals and companies brand themselves on social media, and I decided to share my thoughts on personal branding and how your personal brand affects your business brand. This is a topic I feel is important for Entrepreneurs, Employees, and Students who are all trying to attract more opportunities.
Whenever I consult with business owners, I always insist on updating their LinkedIn profile and naturally the conversation always leads to the question “Should I build my company or my personal brand online?”. These are professionals who already have their own company/idea and are looking to bring additional income or awareness to their company, but they also want to shine through as themselves because of personal relationships they’ve previously built and feel that’s where their credibility comes from. So now, with literally everything moving to online platforms, do they continue to build on themselves and personal reputation or focus on building their company brand more?
I have always been an advocate for building people/personal brands online, at least initially, and I’ll explain why.
People like to connect with people
According to an AVG Digital Diaries study, “92% of children under the age of two already have a digital footprint”. It’s our inevitable future. The question is no longer IF you have a personal brand, but if you choose to guide and cultivate the brand or to let it be defined on your behalf.
There is more transparency and more one-on-one interaction in your personal brand. People want to be able to know or talk to a person rather than just a logo of a school or company you represent. I’ll give you an example of an employee at a big company but passively looking for opportunities elsewhere. For a better salary or a better job title perhaps. Or a graduate with a prestigious qualification looking to work for one of the top companies in their field. Most people bank on name-dropping this reputable company they work for or school they attended and riding on that brands identity to boost their profile. So in essence, you use anything but yourself to try and your own personality to stand out. Then you wonder why the guy with a similar background as you, but has a blog and active social profiles showing various activities gets a lot of opportunities.
I don’t believe in posting tips on how to come up with the best online presence for your personal brand. It’s up to you to find out what’s unique and interesting about yourself and let that side shine. You can however think of an already popular person similar to you, or successful person in your industry, and study their online patterns. You will discover that if you just put your mind to it, you can transform your brand in no time and get people knocking on your doors for advice, offers and much much more.