What is the first thing that pops into your mind when someone says “social media celebrities”? Is it Gary Vaynerchuk’s face or Kylie Jenner’s? Well, it doesn’t matter. Both of these personalities, and others like them, are brands in themselves. It is their face, their activities that sell. Cases like these point towards the importance of personal branding in promoting a business.
The question is, how? How does personal branding help a business? And how can it efficiently used for this purpose? These are some questions that we are about to deep into.
What is personal branding?
Simply put, personal branding means self-promotion intending to influence your audience. It revolves around the fact that people choose to follow other people, rather than follow a faceless, intangible bunch of companies. Personal branding was rooted from the book “The brand called you” of Tom Peters. This term used to be a strategy built for only celebrities and leaders in politics and business. Now, everyone can build their own personal branding.
According to Gartner, there are three components of brand. Your personal brand is built on what you believe in; how you behave accordingly to your belief; and whether people see that belief in your action. In order to build trust, you need to have these three As work in harmony.
“Human beings naturally look for faces” – Silver. A research by professor Richard Wiseman confirmed this theory by his lost wallet experiment. Of all lost wallets on the street, wallets with no photo were returned the least. With so much content and so many small businesses keep coming up online, a brand that connects to a person’s face is much easier to gain trust. It takes less time and effort to build a relationship with a personal brand as compared to a business brand. Especially for entrepreneurs and small businesses, who get around 543,000 new competitors every month, it is crucial to build trust and connect with audiences from the forefront.
That said, let’s look into how you can build your personal brand in a way that propels your business towards success.
Building a Personal Brand
At the outset, the reader must know that everything that follows takes time. A personal brand involves more than going “viral” all of a sudden. And, above all, it requires persistence.
1. Build a brand framework
In order to gain trust, the best you can do is be authentic. Show your real self. In a world that increasingly celebrates individuality, people only remember those who stand out. More often than not, people prefer “real talks” over quirks.
First, define your personal brand vision, mission, and personality. What do you want to be known for, and what do you want to accomplish? How can you draw compatibility to your product/service’s brand?
Second, inform people about what makes your brand “you”? Don’t try to ‘oversell’ yourself by acting bigger than who you are. The more people feel that you are the real deal, the more likely they want to try your product/service.
2. Be your product/service’s biggest fan
This is a no brainer. You have to be your brand’s biggest cheerleader, consistently promoting and utilizing every opportunity to let others know of your brand’s promise. If you expect others to believe in your product/service, you would want to be the first standing behind it 100%.
That may mean anything from using the technology you license to eating the food you sell. As people see the benefits themselves, they begin to want a similar lifestyle and will end up being your endorsers – for free!
Miranda Kerr promotes her own brand, Kora
3. Create an irresistible offer
Most entrepreneurs spend a lot of money, time, and effort to create a product they love, only to discover that nobody else wants it. That is why it is crucial to identify a target audience before you start.
Once this is done, position yourself as a specialist and offer what you do best. Also, take a unique name. Something that strikes and distinguishes your brand from the crowd.
Moreover, identify the problems that your product/service solves. What specific result will it help gain? Such value-added, solution-based strategy creates an irresistible offer which creates a pull for your product.
4. Create. Consistent. Content
Consider these as the three Cs of personal branding!
Focus on creating much content, consistently. The content you create doesn’t have to be about what you’re selling, as long as you stay true to the brand look and messages. In the long run, creating useful and engaging content will inevitably widen your reach. That’s the beauty of it!
Follow a social media strategy wherein you have pieces of long-form content (blogs, podcasts). Based on these, create short-form content (memes, short videos) for social media platforms.
Example of a long-form blog post: Data, Metrics, Analytics: All the SaaS metrics data analysts should know
With time, your content builds a loyal community that follows you and, most importantly, ‘knows’ you. In fact, more than 90% of people trust product or service recommendations from individuals over brands.
5. Don’t just talk the talk
Trying to build a personal brand just for the sake of it is the best way to fail. You have to understand what you are talking about and be self-aware of the value you are adding.
Identify your niche and stick to it. Being an expert in your domain and maintaining this image throughout your social platforms is as important as not speaking about topics too vast or vague.
Stay focused on your discipline and don’t go about giving your opinion about every other thing under the sun. This will only take away your “specialist” status and make you like everybody else on social media. In turn, your audience will question your credibility.
6. Long-term brand over short-term sales. Period!
It makes sense to focus on initiatives that give you a clear ROI. Converting leads to sales is after all, the aim of all branding activities. However, no matter how tempting it is to monetize the information you share or charge for the workshops you hold, always keep the long term in mind.
Over time, prioritizing the brand over short term sales or quick money will bring you more admiration, respect, and wealth. While shelling out money to pay for google ads, you need to equally spend time on branding like guest interviews, hosting events, and so on.
Example of hosting podcast series: Nordic Growth Show
These have no immediate ROI. Yet, they do wonders in strengthening your brand’s image. The outcome? A surge in stable and long-lasting sales.
7. Visibility is the winner, aka networking
What happens if everyone knows you? They know your product/service. At least, they’ll want to. Networking, and being visible to your network, are the cornerstones of personal branding. Here, you needn’t limit yourself to your industry or niche. The broader and more diverse the network, the better!
Comment on peer posts, publish blogs, attend interviews. In short, do everything you can to increase visibility. If properly done, these will also build your online reputation. And, as it happens, 65% of internet users are more likely to rely on you, your brand.
Personal branding gives your business a face. Not in a way that a brand ambassador would. You become someone people look up to and, so does your business. When people rely upon you, they are more likely to avail your product or service. In all, personal branding gives a greater mileage to your business, than anything else does.
Last, but not least, don’t go about branding yourself in the wrong way. In fact, from a business perspective, there’s nothing more disastrous than a personal brand which no one wants to get behind.