Trust before transactions; consistency before contracts!
There’s a reason promotions from Apple and Nike are visible in stadiums, Airports and basically, everywhere. They want their brand to be front and center in your mind whether you’re buying today or not.
And this is true for all of us – as an entrepreneur, your personal brand will open more doors for your business than your product or service (alone) can. While there are many powerful reasons to build your brand, how do you create a personal brand that shines?
What are the best ways of creating a personal brand that rocks?
As entrepreneurs get savvier with brand creation, the contest to stand out is more intense than ever before. Check out these 8 proven facets of a solid and sustainable brand presence.
1. Easily Findable
You will be Googled – that’s a given. What shows up in the results depends on you. If could be your company’s website, presence on social channels, school alum network or any other highly ranked website that you might be associated with.
One of the biggest advantages of a social media presence is the searchability that these channels afford you.
Check out this free guide to 20 ways to more Online Visibility
A smart way of sharing more detail is your SEO title. Maroon Oak uses Free Networking + Marketplace, which gives an easy-to-grasp overview of the company right with the search result.
Go one step further, and add high quality SEO titles to all your major pages.
What about solopreneurs? Since we are talking personal brand Can you give example with image of a solopreneur. Does this work?
When someone looks you up on Twitter or Instagram, they can see the common followers you have. Similarly, LinkedIn will show mutual connections. Same for Facebook profiles.
Share your awesomeness!
2. Pitch perfect
Solve a problem
A pitch is an introduction to your brand. And it goes beyond marketing buzzwords. A big part of a good brand is having clarity on the challenge you solve. Along with that, the way you communicate your value proposition and awesomeness is equally important. In his TED talk, Simon Sinek explains: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” So, when fashioning your pitch, start by sharing your “why”, move to “how” and then share “what” you propose.
A good pitch is also always plural. Or in other words, you can’t have just one.
Write out several versions of your pitch. Create a snappy overview, as well as crisp details. Have one you can use on social media as well as in-person intros.
Image and link: Pitch perfect
Here are a few things to work on.
Can you ‘bullet point’ your strengths?
Does your passion and excitement come through in your bio or introduction?
Can you strike a balance between being too reticent and overselling yourself?
What lies beneath – talk about your persona and exhibit the soft skills that boost your personality and brand.
Especially in a service business, skills count big time! Apart from functional proficiency, many people will work with you if they are attracted by the interpersonal dynamic they have with you. This includes good listening skills, strong problem solving ability and communication, which is always a primo skill.
Be clear and succinct
Make sure that your pitch or value proposition, especially on a website or social media is unambiguous. I recently looked up a new service by a leading Marketer and Podcaster. There were a lot of superlatives, press mentions, even testimonials. But nowhere could I find a basic outline of the actual service that they were providing.
If you are active on social media, your ‘profile personality’ is important too. Make your Instagram bio snazzy with the right use of (key)words, hashtags and emojis.
Your Twitter profile is a great way to practice showing off all you do in 160 characters.
Experts share ways to leave a strong impression!
3. Positive recall
With so many people doing creative branding, it is easy to come across as generic. If you want to make your personal brand popular and effective, be memorable for a unique reason(s). And it might have nothing to do with your work.
Whether you are the face of your business or a company, here are 2 ways to let your brand stand out.
Show individual brand personality
On her website Chica Confident, Morgan Trayner uses words and anecdotes in line with her Chica theme. By adding interesting references to her cultural heritage, she also gives her work a unique personality.
In many of my press interviews where I shared a lot about my company and work, most readers reacted to something else, entirely. It was a small mention in my bio about how I learnt to Hula Hoop at age forty and got quite good at it.
So you never know what catches the fancy of your audience. Or what makes you interesting in their eyes.
Shine with content
SImilarly, let your content do the talking. Decide – and stay true to – your core ideas, voice and message. If you post on social media, go beyond the generic stock photos. Instead, choose niche ones that align with your brand’s sensibility. On a budget? You can still find quality stock photos for free!
4. Authentic and Appealing
While most coaches and experts recommend this, in reality, it can be a hard one to adopt.
The question for most of us is – how authentic is just right?
The answer, very simply, is – be as authentic as you feel comfortable sharing. The important thing is to strike a balance between being too neutral and overly controversial. (Unless your brand worth is high enough to carry off the latter).
There is a reason most people read the About You page on websites – whether it’s solo business owners or large companies. Everyone wants to know more about the face(s) behind the business. So, the more genuine your story, the greater will be your potential appeal!
Creating a personal brand that’s genuine – how to share the real you online
Talk about your challenges.
Include engaging back stories
Add a few personal details
Mention habits, hobbies, general location
Add photos, a video or two
Share a favorite quote
Embed your social feeds (if you are at least moderately active on the channel)
Here are examples of a few About Us Pages to inspire you.
5. Provides value
Share content and tips
Even in a virtual world saturated with content, sharing your knowledge continues to be a great way to stand out.
Content is connector for both your customers and the search engines, so it’s a solid investment in your brand.
Are you feeling stuck for inspiration on what to write? Here are some great content tips to mix it up. Experiment with different mediums – people read blogs, they watch YouTube videos, listen to Podcasts, follow trending topics.
Micro content on your social media channels
Facebook groups are always a rich source of information and leads, and entrepreneurs who answer questions or share tips always get the likes and reactions from readers.
Hashtags aren’t just for Instagram or Twitter – you can use them (and even trend) on LinkedIn too.
Find and share jobs, gigs, even collabs!
6. Consistent presence
Quantity matters, and frequency does too.
If your blog has only 3 posts, and the last one two years old, it is hurting your website (and brand) way more than it’s helping. Similarly, erratic posting on your Facebook page will not inspire confidence in your customers.
On Instagram and Twitter, if you’re AWOL and then post, your followers might actually get a notification that you were ‘socially silent’. (screenshot)
Not only should your presence be timely and regular, what you post must have a pattern too. Else, it only confuses your audience on what is your focus and whether you’re active in business.
7. Makes connections
Facilitator and enabler
Everyone knows someone who needs your business. And that’s why referrals are the top source of leads. Connections are valuable, particularly if you take the time to nurture them with genuine intent.
Your personal brand stands out when you take the time to connect others without any direct benefit to you.
Take the time to introduce people to potential clients and collaborators by email and offline, tag on social media, offer up testimonials. You can write a favorable review, give a shout-out or recommend someone on Linkedin.
Reiterating what I said earlier, if you want to be the recipient of referrals and connections from others, make sure you’re also findable and consistent.
Hundreds of women are connecting on Maroon oak! Are you in?
8. Nurtures connects
Tell before sell
If they are not convinced, they won’t buy. But before that, they won’t listen until they are ready to.
One of the pet peeves of loads of members on Facebook groups is the aggressive and unsolicited PMs they get, the moment they post for help or advice.
Lead nurturing, whether it is in-person, via email or through social media groups, has to be a deliberate and restrained process. When you offer genuine value, the leads come naturally.
A good brand ensures that you are present and visible, demonstrating expertise. And all of this in a persuasive, but non-aggressive way.
In the end, your brand is a reflection of who you are and what you bring. So work consistently on creating your personal brand and refining it often.
Because the more convincing and persuasive your brand is, the lesser you need to be.
Pooja Krishna is an Entrepreneur, Business Mentor and Mom. She has worked both in large corporates and managed startups over the last 20+ years.
She’s a co-founder at Maroon Oak, and is founded Win Thinks, where she writes, speaks and teaches about Digital Media, Brand Building and Future Ready Businesses. A day trader for over a decade, Pooja launched Trading Paces to educate amateur and pro stock traders. As a classroom mentor, Pooja loves teaching students across the U.S. about job skills and entrepreneurship. Read about her on Huffington Post and Forbes.
A trivia buff and yoga & hula hoop enthusiast, she’s discovering the pleasure of drawing Zentangle patterns for ‘creative mindfulness.’