The Power of Personal Branding and the Business of Being You
What is a business or brand without a reputation? How well-known and regarded is this reputation and is it helping or hurting the organization? Without name recognition (good or bad) a business goes no where. It ceases to exist in the mind of the consumer.
Did you know that, today, your personal brand is every bit as important?
If you want achieve even a modicum of personal or professional success, it must be built upon the foundation of influence. Your personal reputation has very real value and it is easier than ever to build a reputation, or destroy one, through the use of the Internet and social media. If you are not building and nurturing your personal brand then you are missing out on the opportunity to use the greatest asset you have been given to succeed beyond your wildest imagination: You.
Your personal brand leads to social capital, which the greatest influencers of our time use to create real financial wealth. Let me explain:
What is personal branding?
Personal branding is a means of building a professional name that is capable of being recognized and capitalized upon and most often spills over into your business or profession. In a clearer sense, it could mean how well you present (market) yourself through social media, via blogs, on video, etc., thereby actively building a base of people who are interested in you personally. This is the basis of social networking with a purpose. Whatever is presented to your ‘active’ network then earns a return on your efforts through interactions, opportunities, being top of mind for select topics and instant, if not gratuitous, feedback on how much or how little you’ve made an impact on your connections through relationship building.
In short, personal branding is about marketing the business of being you.
Building a personal brand is difficult for those who do not have a plan or aren’t using social media to its fullest potential. On the other hand, it is very easy for those who are ready to utilize the medium. You should understand that personal branding cannot exist in our Internet world of today without having to build a personal social network and committing to earning real relationships.
They’re already talking about you, make sure you are in the conversation.
Maybe you don’t know it, but at least one or two people have talked about you on the internet. The information may not be viral but it’s somewhere on the web. It is now left to the serious “social capitalist” to breathe life into the little that has been said and amplify the message. I think personal branding is as essential as the income you want to make for a living because it can affect your life in many areas: job searches, career advancements, personal relationships, partnerships, business offers and even areas that will extend into your recreational time.
It is 100% undeniable: Personal branding has certainly improved my overall quality of life!
It is extremely important how people see you online, therefore, creating a foundation for your name is essential and this can only be done through personal branding. Knowing that, you should work towards controlling the information about you on the internet – you don’t know who will be seeing your profile in the next few days because someone got curious enough to Google you.
Aside from the advantage of building a long term professional identity, creating a personal brand uncovers a world of like-minds, too, people who tend to share the same or related jobs and hobbies with you. As a plus, you have a means of communicating with influential persons who perhaps live in your local area or maybe to one through which you will travel soon. When you have a link to influential personalities, you can easily call on their help when needed; you also be invited to attend personal and professional meetings and networking events that are related to your interests. If you don’t have an understanding of what this means, then perhaps you can at least see personal branding as a process that helps establish a relationship between you and a network of other people around the world and encompassing all aspects of your life. You would agree that relationships are formed to share some sort of perceived value, right? That is exactly where personal branding fits into relationship building. In return, a long stream of opportunities opens up for you.
I mentioned earlier that personal social networking is the basis of personal branding. Both appear to be interwoven! One way, and probably the only way, to successfully tie these two together for effective recognition is by making the consistent and applied use of social media websites. It is no longer argued what the power of social media websites can do today. They can build or ruin your brand; you are the architect and catalyst regardless of the direction.
How Do I Build A Personal Social Network?
First, having the wrong assessment of who you are (YOU are essentially your product, service and value proposition) will result in a failed online promotion. Know thyself… and BE thyself or others will label you a fake.
If you really want to make progress rapidly through social media, you will need to ask yourself, “Who is my audience?” – targeting the wrong audience will bring your efforts to ruin as well – this is sort of a study in social engineering and requires more than I am prepared to write at the moment. Now, head over to one or more of the popular social media websites to create a page for your brand. The recommended ones are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube but recognize that each network has a specific type of user as well. Does the typical user of YouTube closely align with your target audience?
Social media would be absolutely useless without active engagement, an interaction between users, which would be indicative of poor branding in the long run. To attract fans and foster engagement ensure that you have posts ready for people to see on your page(s); not just posts but valuable and informative posts. Personally, I want to give more in every “social transaction” than I receive – whether that be through a laugh I know my connections will enjoy or sometimes pissing some of you off.
Let people see the value in your brand by giving them what they are looking for: You, your personality and your value proposition!
Having this in place, keep in the back of your mind that people need to build trust in you before they will be a valuable and responsive asset to your network, so make it a top priority to build a healthy relationship with your ‘fans’ before sending them information about what you offer.
Emotion, identity and trust are the underpinnings of every relationship.
This is exactly how to keep an active network of people on social media websites growing. Soon, some of your fans turn into your best clients (brand evangelists) and you are now building your personal AND business brands simultaneously!
Quick Tip: Giveaways and special offers can skyrocket your audience numbers and increase the engagement rate of your online identity. Search engine rankings now HEAVILY rely on that engagement, which are often referred to, now, as “social signals.”
There is something yet that has not been mentioned about personal branding:
Successful personal branding develops a richness in social capital.
This may sound odd but you should note that where financial capital fails, social capital performs tremendously well.
Read my article on Social Capital and How Online Influence Leads to Real Wealth
I’ve seen tremendous growth in my business and while I’d like to remain a home bakery and not a shop, I recently decided that it would remain so in the great state of Texas instead of New Mexico where I planned to retire, for this very reason. I’m established here, my client base is here, and it would take me another 5-10 years to establish my personal brand in a new place when word of mouth is my best form of marketing. Social media just keeps me in their thoughts. Even my close personal friends are starting to refer to me as the Cupcake lady. What an excellent article on the subject! Here’s to the year I include ecommerce and vines. Thank you Scott, I needed this affirmation.
Scott, great article. You practice what you preach and your value comes through. Biggest take-away for me is …”Let people see the value in your brand by giving them what they are looking for: You, your personality and your value proposition!” Thank you – Janet
Wow! Thank you so much for your lovely comments, Janet! I appreciate hearing them. – Scott