Managing Your Personal Brandarticle by Elizabeth Orley
Think of yourself as a brand.
The concept of personal branding is not exactly new. Tom Peters actually coined the term in 1997, and as we pass the 30-year mark for the concept, how we implement our personal brand continues to evolve. Peters once said that “The most important personal ‘core competence’ by far is a rich set of relationships.” That is so very true today. We buy from people we like. Today 85% of B2B customers search the web before making a purchase decision. The breadcrumbs you leave behind both as a business an in your personal branding are the best chance of being a prospect’s “first impression” of your company.
A study from our friends at Microsoft found that more than 75% of employers actively research candidates online (study from 2010). One would argue that the evolution of the social media channels has lead employers and decision makers alike looking to social to learn more about their candidates, their potential service partners, business contracts and more from the impressions that we leave online.
How Do You Define Your Personal Brand?
What do you wish for people to associate with you when they think of you? How about your interests or hobbies? How do people recognize you? Is it a color you always wear, a thing you always so, or something that you do? Have you ever asked the people in your life what makes them think of you? In which areas do you want to be perceived as an expert? Are there general qualities you want to be linked to you or your company?
All of these questions will help you define how to manage and promote your personal brand online. They bring you closer to understanding where you stand in your personal branding efforts. If you don’t know where to start here are some basics.
Managing your personal brand starts with evaluating who you are and what you stand for.
Have you ever heard someone say that you have to have a good 30 second commercial about your company? The same can be said of your personal brand. You are bigger than the company you work for/own. It is important to be able to present a personal side of who you are.
People buy from people that they like.
If you are not a relatable human, it is hard to make those personal connections with others. Your personal branding can help those you identify with what things are important to you. In addition, it can help people understand what you are passionate about. It is our personal narratives that brand who we are.
Develop Your Own Personal 30-Second Commercial.
Your personal 30-second commercial can be about anything that you want it to be. For instance, let’s take me as an example. I am the owner of a company, but I am also a mom of two boys, a gluten-free blogger, and passionate about mental health and kids with cancer. All of these things play into what my personal brand stands for. I am not just a business owner, I am much more than that. Even my professional profiles give some insight into how I use my time.
My elevator speech sounds something like this:
“Hi, I am Elizabeth, I am the Master & Commander of Elizabeth Ink. In addition my duties include being the Household Engineer to my two sons. I am passionate about working with Project Ed Bear a non-profit that helps local children with cancer, and supporting mental health awareness. In my free time, you can find me coaching my kids teams, creating gluten-free recipes, and writing pieces for onMogul.com.”
It is important to identify the reasons you do what you do. If you play golf, or volunteer in your community people truly want to know what makes you, well, YOU! Your passions for life transfer to the rest of your persona.
Be Consistent in Your Social Media Profiles.
People don’t want to just follow your company. More often than not, they would prefer to follow YOU. People don’t want to get their information from your company page. They want to feel like they are interacting with you. That is why it is so important that your social media profiles are sharing the information from all the different parts of your life. Your professional life and your personal passions for life.
- Use the Same Profile Picture – Having a consistent image makes it easy for others to identify you. If you have a different profile image on LinkedIn and Twitter, and your personal Facebook page is of a pineapple it makes it a bit tough for someone searching for you to identify you out of a see of “John Doe.”
- Use the Same Job Title – Make sure that you identify the company that you work for with the appropriate job title across all your social media platforms. This will make it easier for people to find you online.
- Use the same color schemes you use in other places – Branding is everything from the language that you use, the posts that you choose to share, the images and links you generate and how you handle yourself online.
Don’t Be Afraid to Be Yourself.
Social media accounts of brands that only promote or share their own products can become a bit spammy for followers. That is why it is so important to bring your personal story into your branding. Make sure that your posts represent the lifestyle you expect from your business, but be true to yourself. It is important to post carefully curated content. Post the silly stuff, but remember is to keep the curated content linked to the overall theme and identity of your business.