7 ways to build your personal brand
Where to start building your personal brand as a business owner
You may be thinking, I’m not a celebrity or interviewed by the press, so why should I care about my personal profile? But as a business owner, your personal brand is extremely important. People buy into you and your image and reputation is everything.
Your personal brand or profile takes time to establish and there are many things you can do to take control of it and ensure it is the image you want to project.
So here are some tips to get the basics right.
1. Set up a Google Alert
Set up an alert on Google so if someone mentions your name or your business, you're aware of it before anyone else. This way, you can respond to it. This takes minutes to do and doesn't cost anything.
More than half of millennials (born 1981 – 1996) who make up half of the workforce have Googled themselves.
Although Google is so widely used by the business world, it seems that it doesn’t always yield the results we hope for, with less than half of businesses saying that they were happy with what they found, and a further 11% saying they were surprised with the results.
2. Have the right photograph
Ensure your photograph is recent. It may sound obvious, but you can’t get away with using a photo which is a decade old. It also must be high quality (not pixelated) and set in an appropriate setting.
Avoid using your smartphone to take that all important profile picture. Try using a professional camera and if you can afford it, hire a photographer. Going down this route doesn’t have to be costly and is well worth the investment. If you do this, spend some time considering the styling and setting before your photo shoot. We find it useful to prepare a mood board and brief for a photographer highlighting imagery you like, relevant props and a shot list if you require more than 1 photograph. Also consider what you're wearing and the image you want to project - formal or informal for example.
3. Optimise your Linked In Profile
Regardless of your profession, it is hugely beneficial to have a Linked In profile. Not only does it look professional, but it will also help with your search engine optimisation (SEO).
The first part is to crack the professional headline. You have just 120 characters to do this. You need to define who you are, what you do, and why you’re someone worth connecting with. Don't forget to include your location and industry, and these need to be kept up to date. The skills section is also searchable so try to use important keywords.
The second part is your summary. This should expand on what appears in your headline, highlighting your specialities, career experience, achievements and any thought leadership. Avoid using jargon and keep concise.
Continue to build your contacts on Linked In. It is best practice to build up a network of a minimum of 500 contacts, where Linked In automatically awards you special status.
Finally, get personal recommendations on Linked In. You often have to politely remind people to complete reviews for you, so don't expect this to be done automatically. Make it easy for them and send them instructions on how to do it.
4. Create your own blog
It is so easy to create your own blog these days at relatively no cost with platforms like Wix and Word Press. Do some research to find the right platform that will work for you.
Before you start blogging, think what messages you want to convey and what topics you want to cover. If you're serious about doing this, then create a simple content plan outlining your editorial calendar for the year.
5. Leverage guest speaker and blogging opportunities
Actively seek out opportunities to speak at events, webinars and on podcasts. Don't forget to explore third party blog opportunities too. Leverage your network and let them know you're interested in providing valuable content on your area of expertise.
Not only will all these opportunities raise your profile and increase your credibility, but you can also publicise your involvement and extend the reach by sharing on social media.
6. Get behind charitable causes
If there is a cause close to your heart and you feel you would like to champion or give back to society or business, then actively seek out opportunities with relevant charities or trade organisations. Your involvement could range from volunteering, or being a trustee to fundraising and lobbying.
As long as you're allowed to do so, publicise your involvement and ensure this is included on your Linked In Profile.
7. Join industry networks
Many people can find networking intimidating, but it can have numerous benefits and really pay off. It will help to build up your contacts and also raise your profile amongst industry leaders and peer groups.
There are so many different types of networking groups at both an industry and regional level to specialist groups supporting young entrepreneurs and aspiring women in business. Don't commit to joining a group though, until you've attended as a guest and feel it is the right group for you.
Don't leave it to chance
It's time to take action and not be afraid to leverage your personal profile. Some of these opportunities may feel outside of your comfort zone and something you haven't historically participated in, but you'll be amazed at the impact they could have. Plus they could take your career and business to a whole another level.
"Your brand is a gateway to your true work. You know you are here to do something—to create something or help others in some way. The question is, how can you set up your life and work so that you can do it? The answer lies in your brand. When you create a compelling brand you attract people who want the promise of your brand – which you deliver." Dave Buck
Want a chat to discuss any element of your brand, sales or marketing? Then please don't hesitate to get in touch.