Often when people hear the word “brand” they associate it with companies and organizations. It’s true, a business’ branding can largely contribute to its success (or failure). What many don’t consider is “personal branding”, which consists of establishing a reputation and identity to build trust and interaction with others. There are many different reasons for wanting to build your personal brand, such as offering freelance work/services, creating a following in order to gain trust among others and drive them towards your company, generating industry recognition, or differentiating yourself among other candidates when applying for a job. Whatever your motive, it’s never a bad idea to build your personal brand. If you are interested in doing so, consider these six tips!
- Conduct research. What are you really good at? What is your niche? What makes you different than everyone else? What can you offer others? What do you want to be known for? For example, if you feel passionate about human resources, narrow it down a little more to something specific, such as recruiting, or narrow it down even further to health care recruiting. Having a laser sharp focus will give you the opportunity to shine in your area of expertise.
- Create a website and a logo. If you are really trying to generate a buzz around yourself, step it up a notch. Design your own logo, or have someone create one for you. Doing so will really help you stand out among others, make you appear more established, and will be the stepping stone of truly building up your brand. If you wish, you can even create personal business cards that are separate from those of your current job. For example, if your day job is a graphic designer at a large corporation and you want to build your personal brand in order to offer freelance design services, create a business card specifically for this purpose. There are a lot of low-cost options to design logos, websites and business cards. Check out fiverr.com which is a marketplace primarily comprised of freelancers who you can contact to perform contractual projects starting at $5 per job.
- Build your social media profiles. Take time to make accounts that strategically align with your brand. If you have a Facebook account, consider creating a separate Facebook page to help market your personal brand. If you wish to just utilize your current Facebook account, be sure to create and post content that reflects your niche. Remember to add pertinent information to all social media networks you choose to use—this will help others gather basic information and learn more about you.
- Start a blog. What easier way for others to learn more about you and your area of expertise than writing a blog? There are numerous free and low-cost blogging websites that you can use to create a personal blog. If you are also creating a website, keep the design similar on both outlets and be sure to link the two together; this will give your following a sense of familiarity and create consistency in your image. Try to write a blog at least once weekly and share your blog across all of your social media networks. For blog ideas, click here.
- Network, network, network. The more opportunities that you have to meet people, the better. Take advantage of any social functions that you are invited to (or seek them out) that align with your personal brand. Use these opportunities to meet with social influencers in your industry in order to gain potential connections. Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce as a starting point to meet like-minded individuals in your community.
- Invest in yourself. Personal branding can be as inexpensive or as costly as you want it to be, depending on how much money you want to invest in it. A good rule of thumb is this: if you’re not good at something, get help! If you need to create content for your brand, contact various freelancers. If you’re unsure about how to run social media pages, pick someone’s brain who may know how, and if you’re still stuck, work something out with them (perhaps exchanging services) so they can help you on an as-needed basis. You should also consider buying various books on topics that relate to your niche in order to acquire more knowledge, expand your horizons and perhaps learn a new skill.
As with most things, building your personal brand takes time and dedication. Remain consistent with your efforts, don’t give up, nurture your brand, and have fun in the process! Good luck!