Effective branding includes everything that influences the opinions of consumers about you, your product, or your service. The ability to be authentic and humanize your brand provides a critical connection to your customers—one that engenders loyalty and increases sales.
Your brand is your most important asset.
Fact: Everyone has an existing brand, whether intentional or not. The key is to be proactive about your personal brand.
Whether you are a budding entrepreneur, a mid-level executive looking to move up in your organization, a business owner, or a professional services specialist, paying careful attention to your personal brand is essential for long-term success.
This article explores the importance of managing your personal brand.
YOU HAVE A BRAND, WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT
One word: Google
If you don’t take ownership of your brand, the Internet will do it for you.
Have you ever Googled yourself? Go ahead.
What are the results? Are you surprised? Is it the lack of information or some surprising uncomfortable results?
It’s time to embrace your personal brand. If you have neglected your brand presence, it’s not too late. As with any endeavor, focus and consistency will generate positive results. Add search engine optimization (SEO) to the mix, and you will find that your brand will advance and opportunities will increase.
Kevin D. Turner, author and personal branding expert notes:
“PERSONAL BRANDING is the conscious and intentional effort to create and influence public perception of an individual by positioning them as an authority in their industry, elevating their credibility, and differentiating themselves from the competition, to ultimately advance their career, increase their circle of influence, and have a more significant impact.”
DECIDE WHERE YOU WANT TO GO – MANAGING YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
As noted above, everyone has a brand by default or intention. Therefore, the first step in managing your brand is understanding how others perceive you in the marketplace. The second crucial step is to take stock of yourself by answering the following questions:
What’s your story?
What traits or accomplishments make you stand out?
How are you different than your peers?
What expertise do you offer in your industry?
Now, start writing.
I recommend beginning with your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is THE social networking site for professionals. With over 756 million users from 200 countries, LinkedIn is the #1 business website in the world. Don’t ignore it! Complete your profile. Tell the world who you are in your own words. For tips on creating a stellar profile, check out (2) Why Building Your Linkedin Profile is so Important | LinkedIn.
Here are a few must-dos.
- Use a professional headshot. *No, your semi-cropped family photo doesn’t cut it.
- Don’t skip the About section. This is your opportunity to tell the professional world who you are.
- Write it first-person, not third. This is your profile.
- Add detailed descriptions of your work experience and accomplishments.
- Make connections and engage in online conversations.
Tip: Use other professionals’ LinkedIn bios for inspiration.
ENGAGE IN SOCIAL LISTENING AND ENGAGE
Building a personal brand takes effort and commitment. It’s easy to say, “I’ll start tomorrow,” or “I don’t have 15 minutes a day to bother with social media platforms.”
Think of these tasks as part of a goal. A goal that elevates awareness about your expertise and what you can offer.
That’s where social listening comes in.
According to Hubspot,
“Social listening is the monitoring of your brand’s social media channels for any customer feedback and direct mentions of your brand or discussions regarding specific keywords, topics, competitors, or industries, followed by an analysis to gain insights and act on those opportunities.”
These tools can also play an integral role in crafting a transparent reputation management strategy. Engage with your audience on social media. Monitor all of your relevant channels and remember to:
Respond quickly and consistently.
Once you commit to this activity, you’ll see how effective it is to make connections and establish yourself as a trusted advisor in your field.
HOW TO MANAGE ONLINE REPUTATION EFFECTIVELY
You should monitor your online brand, whether you are a company or an individual. However, manually combing the Internet is time-consuming and overwhelming. Luckily, there are several monitoring tools, many free, that can expedite the process.
Programs like Google Alerts, Social Mention, and Hootsuite do the work for you and put data at your fingertips. For example, you can track your online brand presence and see where your business name and other keywords you select are popping up in articles, reviews, and comments across the Web.
It’s important to proactively monitor positive and negative mentions about you and your company and respond accordingly. Again, think proactive, not reactive.
The benefit is that a positive online reputation builds trust.
BUILDING A PERSONAL BRAND TAKES TIME
Remember, positive brand identities are crucial in business. A well-crafted brand sets you apart from your competitors and humanizes your name. However, defining a personal brand is worthless without proper awareness and visibility.
Through YGL Enterprises’ “Focused Strategy – Marketing Solutions Realized” approach, we help you incorporate personal brand management into your overall marketing strategy. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!