Succeeding in business today, whether you are an individual promoting any kind of product/service, a small business owner, or looking to increase your chances of success in the corporate world, is about standing out from the crowd. If you really want to have success as an expert in anything, you need to be an expert in personal branding first and keep up with the latest developments.
In today’s business environment, Personal Branding has become more crucial, as the internet and social media has taken over our lives. If someone simply has your full name, they can find almost everything they want to know about you on the internet. Because you don’t want people’s opinion to be based only on what somebody else said about you online, or on old and outdated information about you, you need to have your own strong relevant online presence.
If you develop your personal brand into something that stands out, people will talk about it and that word of mouth will eventually translate to a lot of success in whatever you choose to do in your business.
The first question you need to ask yourself and get absolutely clear with if you are not already, is in what area are you branding yourself as an expert. Here are some basic steps you need to know about developing your personal brand:
The Basics to Branding Yourself for Success
1. Figure out What is Special About You – Ask yourself some basic questions, to figure out what you want to be branding yourself as an expert in: What are you passionate about doing? In which area do you have expertise, so that you can actually offer service and value to others? What do your friends and business associates say you are really good at? What are you talented at and feels natural when you do it? Try to be as specific as possible, as choosing a specific niche where you are really good at, will bring you much bigger success than focusing on a broad area like ‘marketing’.
2. Engage in Social Media and Create your Online Presence – Once you decide what you are branding yourself as an expert in, the next step is to build your brand online. Personal Branding today is about learning how to market yourself in Social Media like Facebook, Linked in, Twitter, having a successful Blog (preferably yourname.com), building your website so that it is connected to your social media profiles and your blog and putting out any kind of publications in the subject that you are branding yourself as an expert in: books, e-books etc.
Think about this: the online world is the global talent pool and Google is the first place people go to when looking for a product or a person. People are already looking for people like you to help them solve a problem they have or provide a service and you have to come up when they are searching.
It is not surprising that 92% of toddlers in USA today have online presence. Their parents have already bought domain names with their names and have created profiles for them on Facebook. Owning your name.com today is like owning real estate of the future, as nowadays people move more and more online when looking for information about a person or a brand.
3. Put out Valuable Content: If you really want to brand yourself as an expert in anything, putting out valuable unique content online and offline in the media in the area in which you are branding yourself is key. Make sure you offer a lot of value to people for free, as people will tend to want to give something back, share it with their friends and recommend you if they feel that they receive value from what you shared. This could simply be advice in the form of a blog or information you share on your Facebook profile. Bring the users to your website or blog with valuable content, gain their trust, build a relationship and gradually win them into your business.
4. Keep up with Latest Technologies: Online branding works much faster than the old traditional ways of branding, but you have to be extremely relevant and up to date. You need to keep up with the latest technologies, what is working and what not, as your relevance will impact your business and your career. For example, 80% of people today want brands to engage with them online, everything is about participation and helping people share your message with the world. Put out a video that people like and watch your brand go viral overnight.
5. Manage your Online Presence Consistently and be Creative – Once you have your online presence, you need to manage it. You have to put some effort into it, update profiles with new accomplishments, put out new content etc. Managing your online presence is also about figuring out how to be constantly creative because if you are like everyone else, you are not going to stand out. If you do stand out, people are going to share your work, recommend you and create your viral marketing campaign.
6. Appear in the Media – To gain media attention, identify media outlets most relevant to your area of expertise and send targeted press releases and information about your brand, targeted in a way that will have the media come back and ask for more information.
7. Appear at Events – Appearing at relevant events and conferences and being part of professional associations brings many opportunities for networking with people who need your kind of expertise. Attending a few specialized events, can increase your chances of building new business relationships, as nothing beats personal contact when it comes to networking.
8. Do not expect immediate results: Do not oversell when you are branding and do not expect immediate results in the form of sales. Brand awareness brings equity and that amounts sales long term. You are looking to build your brand long term because people will naturally want to follow what you do, as you have already build a relationship and trust with them.
If Personal Branding sounds like a lot of hard work, think about this: You walk into a client’s office and they have already read a business article about you, or a friend has already recommended you, or they have gone online to search about you and have read a lot about your accomplishments. In this case, the probability of you getting that client increases substantially. Putting out the hard work in the short terms, build value long term.
For a comprehensive guide to branding yourself in this new social media age, check out #1 international bestseller Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future: