Expert Selling Tips: How to Build a Personal Brand
This is the first installment in our “Expert Selling Tips” series.
You’re smart, qualified, and experienced. Knowing it and being able to articulate it is the first step to developing your personal brand, whether that be online or elsewhere.
But it’s not a brand if you can’t prove how it adds value to others.
Building a personal brand comes in many forms, often through your social media profiles, online interactions, published content, sharing expertise at conferences, and networking. These actions are crucial for developing your reputation, and often the reputation of your company.
Industry experts agree that building a personal brand requires certain best practices. Understanding that branding is about more than just throwing out a list of skills and accomplishments is essential.
We compiled a list of our 6 favorite blogs on how to create a personal brand.
“You’re a brand. I’m a brand. We’re all brands, whether we aim to be or not.”
The minute you click “Create Account” on that social network, you’re creating your brand. It’s up to you to decide whether how that brand will portray you and those associated with you.
Our biggest takeaway from Kevan Lee’s post can be summed up in one word: consistency. Whether it’s in photos, usernames, or frequency of posting, being consistent across social network profiles will help create and solidify your personal brand. The whole point of optimizing your social presence is so that other people can see it and recognize your brand. Make it easy for them. Having a different picture on every profile only confuses those who are searching for you. If you can’t be consistent online, what does that say about what you might be like offline?
Is Building a Personal Brand Egotistical? by Kate Wan
How do you define personal branding?
From one perspective, personal branding is egotistical self-promotion. From another, it’s a means to use your skills, accomplishments, and experiences to differentiate yourself from the crowd of competition.
It can be a fine line.
Executive and leadership coach Kate Wan says developing a personal brand doesn’t have to be the former, as long as your personal branding strategies are less about you and more about how what you’ve done helps others. She recommends running a quick two-step test to assessing if your personal brand development is authentic: the why and the how.
Building your brand is a balance of marketing yourself and staying true to your values, Wan says. Personal branding is all about how your skills add value to someone else, so make sure each branding decision accentuates you, but has an impact on others, too.
5 Ways to Grow Your Personal Brand in Your Current Marketing Job by Brianne Rush
Effective personal branding also enhances your company’s brand. This post by Brianne Rush for Hubspot sums up some of the best ways to do both simultaneously, without wasting anyone’s time.
What does it take to even have a personal brand? Rush says, first and foremost, that if your values and interests are aligned with your employer’s, you’re off to a good start. From there, spend a few minutes every day dedicated to your brand: scheduling posts, tweets, and engaging your contacts. It is social media.
Another easy way to promote yourself and your employer is to write for your company blog. Finding relevant content that boosts strategic insight and thought leadership coming from your organization is something that your boss, and your followers, will appreciate.
And last, the Golden Rule of brand-building: patience. It doesn’t happen overnight, so take advantage of opportunities that appear in the process and you’re on track.
What It Really Means to Have a Personal Brand by Jim Joseph
Your personal brand was created way before you activated your LinkedIn profile.
According to Jim Joseph, agency executive and author, a personal brand is born when you are, and every decision you make along the way contributes to it. Making choices about education, love, careers, and more, influence the path that leads to your personal brand online and offline.
Joseph says that your brand should be treated like your life. It must change. Constantly. Big brands, no matter how mature, have marketing teams that update their branding plans every year. Treat your personal brand the same way, and work to ensure that you’re staying true to yourself along the way.
[Video] 5 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand With SlideShare by Jill Konrath
Industry expert Jill Konrath shares in this video her tips for building a personal brand, with a specific methodology: SlideShare.
SlideShare allows you to easily share content with others, through LinkedIn and other networks. Konrath points out that it can brighten up a dull LinkedIn profile by showcasing your expertise through various mediums. Think case studies, eBooks, presentations, video testimonials, and articles.
The tool enables you to strengthen your personal brand and that of your company’s brand, as well. It’s useful for developing thought leadership and strategic insight that prospects will appreciate.
5 Tips on Using Social Media to Build Your Personal Brand by Lauren Riley
Too many people believe social media profiles, especially LinkedIn, are meant to serve as an online resume and cover letter. While that’s certainly one part of building a brand, says Lauren Riley of Bubble Jobs, you’re missing out on opportunities to differentiate yourself if you’re only using social networks for the purpose of sharing your credentials in an unoriginal way.
The key to success featured in this post is remembering to let your personality shine when growing your personal brand online. Maybe it comes in the form of sharing relevant content that reflects your interests, engaging in discussions pertinent to your industry, or publishing your own light-hearted (but appropriate) posts. Regardless, Riley says building your personal brand requires a combination of appearing professional, valuable, and interesting.
Our point of view
Looking across all this excellent advice, it seems clear that personal branding is a series of balancing acts. Effective branding balances your personal objectives, your employer’s objectives, your audience’s interests, and the etiquette of the different social networks. A successful personal brand:
- Reveals personal things about you, while still being suitably professional for your industry
- Reflects you as an individual, while still representing your company
- Focuses on you, while still being interesting to your audience
- Leverages the unique characteristics of each social network, while painting a consistent picture across networks.
If that sounds like a challenge, it is. Personal branding is both an art and a science.
Just like selling.