— February 22, 2018
According to Andrew Medal, when it comes to being a truly innovative entrepreneur, having a personalized online footprint is essential to your business strategy. An effective personal brand can help build new relationships and get you noticed by a new customer. It can help you build community, establish your authority, and make you more money. This blog addresses four reasons why you should focus on your personal brand as an entrepreneur this year, fourteen ways to enhance your personal brand, and four mistakes to avoid.
Reasons why entrepreneurs should focus on their personal brand
Here is a list of four reasons why entrepreneurs should focus on their personal brand this year, based on articles by Medal and Maria Matarelli:
1. Image is everything
There is a good deal that professionals can glean from your visual brand online. It takes less than one-tenth of a second for someone to make an impression of you from your photo. They do not bother reading your profile or digging deeper if their initial impression is negative.
2. Personal banding is content you control
So much of the online world is outside of our control, so it is important to flood the web with as much positive content as possible. The more content you put online, the more that effort will help your good content rise above any negative content that may be out there. When people search for you or topics related to your work and they find high-quality content, they are much more likely to turn to you as an expert over a competitor.
3. Your personal brand shows thoughtfulness
Your personal brand can be a double-edged sword if you are not careful. Just think about all the posts you have seen on Facebook. Everyone has a friend who is constantly sharing rants, negativity, or self-pitying posts. Rants and angry posts should be in-person conversations. They should not be commemorated online forever. Negativity absolutely affects your brand. Always ask yourself before posting: would you want a potential client to see this?
4. Your personal brand keeps you relevant.
A personal brand lets you choose what the world knows about you and highlights your achievements. Keeping your website, blog, and social channels up-to-date is a chance to show people your latest projects, most recent accomplishments, and what you are currently working on. It shares your growth and progression.
Ways to enhance your personal brand
1. Create a personal website
When customers want to find out more about you, the first thing they will do is Google you. Having a website will automatically be perceived as professional and it gives you authority. It is relatively easy as platforms like WordPress provide you with templates, and an option to purchase a domain. You can have a website up and running in a day. Start with a simple website that has an ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ page and add a professionally taken portrait shot.
2. Launch an email newsletter
A newsletter will be tied to your personal brand rather than your company, so you will be able to talk about a wide range of topics.
3. Create a public page on Facebook and run a $ 3/day personal branding campaign
A lot of entrepreneurs are already running Facebook ads for their business but they do not think of running ads to promote their personal brand. With Facebook, you can put yourself in front of the exact audience you want to attract. Run ads targeting your ideal audience and set your budget to just $ 3 per day. This allows you to grow your personal brand on Facebook and push traffic to your website for less than $ 100 per month.
4. Post regular long-form content on LinkedIn
High-quality and long-form content can perform very well, helping you grow your LinkedIn audience, which you can then push to other social platforms, blogs, and websites. Rather than just repurpose content, commit to writing long-form content exclusively for your LinkedIn profile. By turning comments into conversations, you engage with your audience and establish yourself as an authority.
5. Amplify your blog post across content discovery channels
Blogging is great but only if people are reading and engaging with your content. Amplify your content through a discovery channel, such as Outbrain or Taboola. You only pay when someone clicks-through and you can start with a very small budget.
6. Participate in Twitter chats or start your own
Twitter chats were immensely popular years ago and have started to become popular once again, probably due to the recent increased interest in the new 280-character limit. The easiest way to find relevant Twitter chats to participate in is by following the most influential people in your industry. Answering questions and providing value is an easy way to help strengthen your personal brand.
7. Start vlogging to document your entrepreneurial journey
Vlogs have become very popular as mobile devices allow consumers to consume video content on the go. One can grow a massive personal brand simply by vlogging your day-to-day life. You will need a unique angle and story but once you figure that out, the opportunity to attract an audience and raise your personal brand is limitless.
8. Donate your time and expertise to your local community to open doors
Your local community is a great place to establish yourself as an expert in your field. By simply donating your time or service, you will open up several avenues that can lead to an enhanced personal brand. This can include expert appearances on local radio and TV, interviews in local print and local speaking engagements.
9. Start a podcast
Podcasts serve the same purpose as your social media profiles and blog. They are a platform to put your expertise and knowledge on display, with the hopes of attracting an audience. The cost to set up to record a podcast is minimal and there are numerous ways to distribute your show.
10. Never stop learning
You need to master your industry completely. Constantly learning by reading book and case studies and by consuming as much information as possible keeps your mind full. The more effort you put into learning and information consumption, the more you can give back, which will only help you create a strong personal brand.
11. Network at key industry conferences
For some, networking is the main reason to attend conferences. In such case, the decision to attend a conference is based on the networking opportunities rather than on the speakers or sessions. Some even skip the actual event and put all effort into networking in the evening.
Connecting with just one key influencer within your industry can lead to massive exposure for your personal brand, so when attending conferences, make sure you have a game plan.
Identify targets in advance and try to pre-schedule times to meet. A mention in a blog post, shout out on social media or a plug in an email newsletter of an industry influencer can do wonders for your personal brand.
12. Invest in professional photography
Consistency is key if you are serious about building a strong personal brand. If you want to have your personal brand taken seriously, you need to use a professional headshot across all of your social media profiles and online accounts.
13. Join groups related to your industry to build authority
Joining a group on Facebook or LinkedIn is an easy way to keep track of the conversations about your industry and to share your knowledge and experience. Share as much relevant information as you can, but do your best not to be too salesy in your posts and responses. That may turn off potential clients. Instead, make sure all your information is linked back directly to your profile or website so that others can find out more information if they are intrigued.
14. Use your bios to communicate your unique value proposition
Almost every social media platform offers you room to write a bit about yourself. In this section of your profile, make sure your message is uniform and clear across all your platforms.
What not to do when you try to enhance your personal brand
You now know what to do when you try to enhance your personal brand but there are also things you should not do. Kandia Johnson lists these four personal branding mistakes to avoid.
1. Failing to build your network
Try to meet people in person if possible. As convenient as the online world is, the power of in-person chemistry is far greater and is the quickest way to develop a deep and meaningful relationship.
2. Being invisible
No matter how great you are, it means nothing if no one knows who you are and why you do what you do. People do business with people, so it is important to get comfortable sharing your mission and letting people into your world.
3. Being inconsistent
You need to be everywhere your audience turns. Your presence needs to be undeniable. A good way is to post on social media every day so that your audience can become familiar with you. As mentioned, being consistent also means having the same look and feel across social media channels.
4. Not sharing your story
Facts tell, but stories sell. Tell your story by focusing on the experiences that lead you to where you are today. People often think their struggles have to appear ‘perfect’ but the opposite is true. Being relatable through storytelling is more enduring. It is the only way people will truly get to know the real you.