Most business people understand the importance of business branding and how it helps a company stand out.
But do you know much about your personal branding and how it can be used to make you a more successful person? If not, you’re not alone, as many people don’t understand this concept.
Thankfully, learning about this concept is nowhere near as hard as many people may think.
By mastering personal branding, you can transform your career almost overnight.
Read on to learn more about this concept and utilize it with your customers and clients!
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What Does Personal Branding Mean?
Personal branding is a relatively simple concept on the surface but a complex one to fully understand.
Simply put, personal branding is the “image” that you create of yourself. It requires a sustained approach and a careful understanding of your skills as a person and what you have to offer the business world.
Try this simple test: Google your name and check out the first page of results. What kind of pages pop up as you look through these results?
If you have adequately branded, you should see pages dedicated to you and your business — or pages at least tangentially related to you.
Now, examine these pages as if you are a customer who is investigating a potential business partner or service.
What kind of story do these pages tell about you and your career? If you have correctly branded yourself, they should paint a very accurate picture of who you are as a person.
For example, if you operate an IT firm, your first page should link to your business website, sites where you’ve published any articles, reviews for your company, and much more.
These results should reinforce the IT concept behind your business and center you as a leader in your field.
If you find almost no search results related to your name, then your branding is off. Your messaging hasn’t been appropriately centered, and very few people are likely to find your services.
Don’t panic, though! You can turn around your branding with just a little work.
To do that, you need to fully understand the critical aspect of personal branding and how you can enhance your brand presence.
What makes a strong personal brand?
Over the years, we have discovered that the most important factor for personal branding can be put into one term: character building.
Think of your branding as writing a short story or novel with you as the main character.
How do you want to build your personality and make it stand out?
Though we know this analogy may seem strange, think deeper about it, and you’ll see why it is relevant.
First, building a character in a story requires you to use small details that enhance the narrative. For instance, a character who likes opera music or anchovies on their pizza. These are small traits that make them stand out.
And your branding should be approached in the same way. Everything you post online — from Twitter posts, Instagram photos, blogs, and descriptions on your website — should be filled with details that build your character.
Like a good storyteller, you need to link these details to your personality and use them to enhance your brand story.
Later on in this article, we will discuss how you can achieve this goal with relative ease.
However, we also want to discuss in more depth why branding is so important.
Understanding why this element matters so much will help make it easier for you to focus on this process more effectively.
Why Is Personal Branding Important?
Your branding matters because it influences how people perceive you and your business.
Put simply, those who have almost no branding presence will likely struggle to stand out because they are not telling any stories.
With proper personal branding, you tell your story in your way.
For instance, imagine that you’re searching for a computer repair expert for your firm.
You find two people who interest you — Roberta Smith and Robert Smith. Searching through Robert Smith’s online presence shows he has years of experience but lacks pizzazz or engagement.
By contrast, Roberta Smith has an active social media presence, a fun website that features regularly updated blogs and how-to articles on computer repair, and customer reviews.
She actively engages with people who post on her site and comes across as a fun and friendly person.
Just as importantly, Roberta continually reinforces her expertise with details about her career and her success.
Who would you pick in this scenario? Like most people, you will most likely go for Roberta because she stands out and seems much more enjoyable.
Personal branding like that can even be used to minimize your shortcomings, such as a lack of specific training or even relative inexperience.
You are the master storyteller of your branding — and by changing the plot, you can make sure you don’t get left behind.
Why Personal Branding Is Essential to Career Success
Over the years, personal branding has become one of the most important ways of ensuring a high level of success. Your personal branding:
- Highlights your successes and your skills
- Catches the eye of potential employers
- Produces a sense of trust and engagement in your audience
- Tells your story in the best possible terms
- Enhances your online presence and SEO
The last benefit here is something that cannot be downplayed. Search engine optimization is the measurement of how well people can find you in a search engine.
Your branding can raise your SEO presence by putting you on the first page of search results, making it more likely that potential employers find you.
The 5 Es of Personal Branding
You don’t necessarily need to be a business owner or an active service provider to benefit from a working knowledge of personal branding.
Everyone has a personal brand and should care how theirs reflect on them, their lifestyle, and their work ethic.
Start by familiarizing yourself with the five Es of personal branding.
When it comes to getting noticed in all the right ways, it’s all about what you can do and how well.
Your expertise in your industry or other fields of interest is what makes you valuable to potential customers, employers, business contacts, and associates.
Focus the bulk of your efforts on honing just a few areas or topics of expertise. Keep your skills up to date, and embrace opportunities to keep learning.
Engagement style is another essential aspect of personal branding, so give some thought to how you communicate and connect with those around you.
Are you outgoing, friendly, and fairly casual in how you engage, or are you more formal? Do you actively reach out to others, or do you typically wait for them to engage with you first?
Contrary to popular belief, people don’t actually remember people. They remember how people make them feel.
The emotions you leave other people feeling after engaging with you or your company are their takeaway, so it’s essential to building your social brand.
Are you serious or fun-loving, calm or enthusiastic?
Determine what emotions you want people to associate with you, and actively work to make it happen through personal branding.
Think of expression as the “E” that gives depth and context to your expertise.
Are you an analytical type or an artistic sort? Do you focus mostly on the bigger picture, or are you all about the finer details?
The expression style you’re putting out there helps others determine how, where, and if you’ll fit in with the rest of their team.
5. Everything Else
This “E” basically covers everything else that wasn’t addressed above – the unique little things that make you who you are as a person. What are your hobbies, interests, passions, and goals?
These things are important because who you are and what your reputation is like outside of a professional context also have an effect on what you’re like at work or as a service provider.
Your “everything else” also adds spice to the rest of your image.
How Do I Brand Myself Personally?
Before you attempt to transform your branding presence, you need to grasp the different success levels common with branding.
These levels center around the narrative that you tell with your branding and position you in various ways.
These levels include:
- Company Gurus: You start at this level as an expert within your company and may not be known very well outside this business.
- City Pros: At this level, more people notice you outside your business, typically in your city or service area but not beyond.
- Regional Professionals: As your reputation spreads, you may become better known in your state or even in your geographical area (i.e., the Midwest or east coast).
- Niche Experts: Success at this level indicates national recognition as one of your niche’s best experts.
- Worldwide Champions (the peak level of personal branding): You are known worldwide and may be the leading expert in your field.
Your main goal should be to reach global status, but you cannot get there without working through each of these steps.
Almost nobody reaches the highest level overnight without sustained effort. Thankfully, we’ve outlined the steps below to help make it easier for you to get there.
Personal Branding Examples
Ready to see what stellar personal branding looks like in action? Check out these incredible examples and be inspired by them.
Mark Manson is a best-selling author, entrepreneur, and internet personality who knows personal branding.
He first built an audience via his blog and eventually leveraged what he knows best into several successful books and a career in self-help.
Also sometimes known simply as Gary V., Gary Vaynerchuk comes from humble beginnings and is known for being grounded, realistic, and authentic.
Over the course of his career, he’s turned a small family liquor shop into a successful empire. He’s also inspired millions with his down-to-earth advice on how to succeed.
Regardless of how you might feel about him, you’ve almost certainly heard of Tony Robbins.
That’s the magic of personal branding at work. Tony has successfully channeled his natural energy and charisma into a string of successful books, courses, and other widely popular content options.
Martha Stewart’s ongoing personal branding efforts are exactly the reason you automatically associate her name with concepts like interior design, gourmet home cooking, entertainment, and more.
She’s also a great example of someone who pours a lot of effort into her brand. Her website alone is filled with useful resources and reads, each indicative of her unique personality.
Personal Branding Steps
Here are some steps to help you build your brand online. The easiest, most accessible way to start is with social media.
Personal Branding On Social Media
Don’t treat social media like it is silly or for children — any media presence is worth the effort you put into it.
And social media is no different, as long as you approach it with intelligence and an understanding of its significant benefits.
Why is social media so important for personal branding?
Often, social media is the first place that people will go when searching for a business.
For instance, someone may search Facebook to find your business hours and to read reviews about you. As a result, you need to put your best foot forward on all of your social media platforms.
The best advice we can give is to be consistent with your posting and stay as active as possible.
Don’t spam your audience — they’ll get sick of constant posts — but use it to highlight essential elements.
Here are a few tips based on various social media platforms:
- Facebook: Build up a solid fan base and share deals, stories, blogs, and other information to create a personal connection.
- Twitter: Share exciting news stories, and updates on your business, repost information that is interesting to you and comment on your audience’s posts.
- Instagram: Post engaging photos of your business or services that tell a story, such as renovations on your building or other important images.
- TikTok or Snapchat: Post funny and light-hearted videos or pictures that make your audience laugh and make you seem more approachable.
Social media branding can be summarized in one term: audience engagement.
You need to capture the attention of your potential customers and make your company seem fun and personal.
What Are the Best Ways to Build Your Personal Brand Online?
The best ways to improve your personal brand may vary depending on the needs of your business.
We have identified a handful of approaches that we believe work best for many companies. Just a few of the best ways to stand out in your branding include:
- Producing an in-depth website that highlights every element of your company
- Creating regular blogs that tell your story in your words
- Posting regularly on social media and engaging directly with an audience
- Receiving and posting reviews from employers in your past
- Sharing videos and other content with customers and others
- Utilizing keywords throughout your content that tell your story
- Creating uniformity throughout your online presence
This last step highlights one of the essential elements of successful personal branding.
All of your websites need to tell the same story using the same details consistently. In this way, you can ensure that your branding is as on-point as possible for your needs.
What Are the Three Keys to Personal Branding?
Although many elements can influence your personal branding, we have identified the three most critical factors you cannot ignore.
- Creating a Compelling Character — Remember that you are telling your story, and you need to be compelling and engaging to your audience.
- Producing a Consistency of Message — Avoid contradicting details or information that may detract from the story you are telling.
- Persisting With Your Content — Continually add new content or update existing pages to keep your information fresh and current.
Everything that you do with your branding should serve these purposes in one way or another.
For instance, a good blog should not only tell an exciting story but also feed into your message of you as an expert in your field.
What Are Good Strategies for Managing Your Personal Branding?
Consistent personal branding requires intelligent strategies that make this process simpler.
Here are different approaches that you can consider:
- Create a “brand message mission objective” that spells out your needs
- Comment directly on negative reviews and address these issues positively
- Utilize a social media manager to produce consistently on all platforms
- Post strong photos that make you and your brand look attractive and engaging
- Produce videos that highlight your skills and expertise
- Engage with other people online to expand your range
- Utilize a “net reputation” company to enhance your image further
- Network constantly to expand your potential audience
Pick and choose which of these strategies seem to work the best for your needs and execute them fully.
We suggest that you try to use all of them because they feed off of each other in purposeful ways. However, it may be best to slowly integrate them into your strategies over time to avoid confusion.
As you can see, personal branding it’s extremely necessary to be noticed in the crowd. And, if you want to build a good reputation for yourself, you will also need a loyal fan base.
Brand affinity is also crucial and can help you do just that. Check out how it can help you attract more customers.