Everyone has a personal brand. It’s what people think of when they think of you, hear your name, or search for you on Google. When done well, a personal brand can lead to new opportunities and career growth.
With that said, building a personal brand doesn’t happen overnight. So, we’ve outlined a few ways you can get started in building your brand.
But first, some of you reading this may be wondering, “what is personal branding?”
What is personal branding?
According to career strategist, Dr. Sarah David, “Personal branding is all about your unique promise of value and what you bring to the table. It’s (also) about getting your potential clients to choose you as the only solution to their problem.”
The best personal brands are unique, authentic, and trustworthy. They build a strong reputation about you that can help you personally and professionally. It’s also how you can differentiate yourself from others.
Steps you can take to define your personal brand.
1. Define your focus.
The best personal brands are very specific. The more narrow and more focused your personal brand is, the easier it is for people to remember who you are. And then, when it comes time to hire a speaker or a new employee, your narrowed-down, focused brand will be what they remember.
2. Define your value proposition. What makes you uniquely you?
In order to build a personal brand, you need to understand who you are and define a value proposition.
To do this, create a list of your personal strengths and weaknesses to help you figure out what you do and do not want to stand for. Here are a few questions to help guide you.
- In which areas of work do I excel?
- What motivates me?
- What characteristics have others complimented me on?
- Which projects have others had to help me with repeatedly?
- Which roles seem to drain my energy?
Once you’ve answered these questions you can turn your answers into your value prop. It may be beneficial to use a formula that identifies your ideal employer or customer and what you can help them accomplish. Then add key ideas to bolster your value proposition, such as quantifiable evidence of your abilities. Here are a few examples to help guide you.
- “I help small businesses grow quickly by designing killer websites. My website designs increase traffic by more than 25% on average.”
- “I help large businesses build and manage their social media presence across platforms, saving you time and money, while growing your business.”
- “I’m a graphic designer, philanthropist, and entrepreneur that is committed to helping nonprofits develop a brand voice and personality that fits their organization.”
3. Be consistent with your online presence.
It’s much easier to get recognized for one topic if you are consistent. “Ensure that your personal brand promise stays consistent, both online and offline,” explains Fyiona Yong, director and millennial leadership coach.
A good place to start creating consistency is with social media. “Social media is changing the way we communicate and the way we are perceived, both positively and negatively. Every time you post a photo, or update your status, you are contributing to your own digital footprint and personal brand,” said Amy Jo Martin, personal branding expert.
There are four main social media platforms that people use for personal branding: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. Ensure each platform you’re on has the same value proposition, branding, personal information, etc. so it’s clear who you are no matter where you’re found. And, while it’s vital that these platforms align to tell a cohesive story, you may want to consider focusing on one platform to start in order to maintain consistency.
4. Find and follow industry experts.
When building a personal brand, your goal is to stand out. But, you can’t rise to the top without taking inventory of who’s already there.
As you begin mapping out your career and the roles you want, research experts who already have those roles and create lists of those people to follow. Find out if they have blogs or where they contribute their thinking. Then, imitate what they’re doing and do one better.
5. Embrace networking virtually and in-person.
Networking is the best way to build relationships and get people in your industry to know who you are. It’s important to learn how to network well in order to build your personal brand.
If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of networking, read these tips from the Science of People to help you.
In short – developing a personal brand isn’t easy.
Building a personal brand is a lot of work, but the payoff can be enormous when it’s done correctly. Whether you’re looking to generate business, accelerate your career, or find a mentor, a personal brand can help get you there.