Proven and Tested Personal Branding Tips
Personal branding is an old but incredibly relevant subject. It has acquired a lot of traction over the years, especially now in the age of digital and online marketing.
Personal branding represents the values you possess and want to be identified with in your organization or business. It creates an image of your ideals and interests, and it tells people a lot more about you. A good personal brand will make it easier for people to explain who you are and what you do in quick short sentences. It lets people see and observe you from their own perspective.
For effective personal branding, you must see the internet as the stage, you as the performer, and the world as your audience. The stage is where you put it all out: who you are, what you do, and how you want others to see you.
The internet is where you market and showcase yourself and build networks and reputations. With the advent of social media platforms, the opportunities to create a personal brand quickly and easily have become endless.
Building a personal brand is not something that happens casually or accidentally; it is done intentionally and with a lot of discipline.
If you want to create a brand that's interesting and inviting, here are some questions that you need to answer:
Who are you?
To build and create a brand that will correctly represent your personality and professional identity, you must first know who you are. Think deeply and make a list containing your strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself the following:
What is my motivation?
What are my best characteristics?
What areas do I shine best?
What tasks leave me feeling drained?
What do I enjoy doing?
If you encounter any difficulty answering the questions, you can ask your family, co-workers, or friends to describe you. Understand that as your career progresses, your brand will also evolve, so the best way is to pick an area to focus on and allow it to expand over time.
What would you rather be recognized for?
Your brand tells a story of where you are going and who you will become. Therefore, apart from recognizing your current strengths and abilities, you should also assess your strengths and skills for whatever career or business you want to launch into in the future.
By doing so, you will discover the things that distinguish you and the things that you should improve or accumulate knowledge in for you to advance. Predicting where you will be ten years from now and the qualities you want to be known for will help you know the steps to take to get there.
Who is your audience?
This is perhaps the second most important question to ask when building your brand, right after "who are you?"
Who are the people you want to reach? Specific companies? Individuals? Recruiters?
It is vital to determine your audience early on in your branding journey because they will determine the story you tell. Your target audience determines your branding strategy, the story you tell, how you tell it, and where you tell it.
For instance, if recruiters or hiring managers are your target audience, you may begin by making a LinkedIn profile. Over 91% of recruiters use social media platforms to find qualified candidates, and about 87% of them use LinkedIn.
Who are you stalking?
As you decide on your career or careers of interest, you should also do some research on the experts in those fields.
Make inquiries on who the trendsetters are in your desired field – follow them, study them, and find out what makes them so successful. Copy them and improve on their strategies.
When creating your brand, the goal is to distinguish yourself, but you can’t stand out without learning from those who were already there.
Who are you learning from?
As you decide where you want to work and the thought leaders you admire, you should consider asking these experts for an informational interview.
They are not very time-consuming and are hugely beneficial. Don't hold back from approaching people you want to learn from; you may just be surprised by how generous they could be with their time and expertise.
When you have a meeting with these persons, ask questions that will give you fresh insight into your field of interest like:
How did you start?
What would you do differently if you were to start over?
Can you recommend any trade associations for me to join?
What is your opinion on the future of this industry?
Informational interviews teach you about the profession and allow you to "show yourself" to the industry's thought leaders. It's basically a win-win situation.
Do you have an elevator pitch?
As your brand starts to materialize, take the time to prepare an elevator pitch – a very short story about yourself. Whether you attend an event or a formal party, having your pitch ready will make it easier for you to accurately describe what you do and the direction of your career.
An elevator pitch should be short and straight to the point; say things that show you in a good light. Pick one or two points and emphasize them.
Do you network?
When building your brand, you must network frequently and effectively to expand your career network. Form connections with professional peers and thought leaders in your industry of interest by attending various networking events.
Whether or not your brand will be acknowledged depends on the level and effectiveness of your networking skills. Over 84% of jobs are occupied via networking, so attending networking events will help grow your brand and advance your career.
The Key Takeaway
In a nutshell, you have to make sure you redefine your brand as you evolve and grow. As the internet advances and your professional prowess grows, your brand will follow suit. Make the necessary changes to your persona as you connect with new people, be on the lookout for networking opportunities, and rise in your career.
Make sure to build a brand that describes you in the best light and makes the real you shine!