What Every Marketer Needs to Know About Personal Brand
Everyone has a personal brand. Think about a client, a colleague, or someone you interact with in your local community. For any of these people you can probably think of three characteristics that they have. These are likely traits you’ve picked up on by interacting with them in person, receiving correspondence from them, and the subconscious ideas you’ve noted about them by interacting with them online.
For example, perhaps you’ve noticed that your mail is delivered daily by John who is friendly, conscientious, and reliable. He shows up on your doorstep like clockwork, has made an effort to get to know you on a first name basis, and let’s you know when he will be on vacation and you’ll be receiving mail from another carrier.
As a professional, the same is happening for you every day. People are writing their own subconscious “stories” about you based on in-person interactions, what you post online, and the way you interact over email and phone. Does that make you uneasy?
The good news is, you can have direct control over your personal brand. You can intentionally pick ideas, values, and characteristics that you want associated with you. Having a thoughtful approach to your personal brand is critical for marketers. You are tasked with crafting and elegantly sharing your organization’s story. You need to also give thought to your own story as you seek to be a success in your current role and prepare for future opportunities. Here are eight ways to strategically take control of your personal brand.
What Every Marketer Needs to Know About Personal Brand
1. Establish credibility by creating content.
Do you want to be viewed as an authority in your field? Produce content that educates others and contributes to the dialogue in your field. Maybe it’s a quick how-to video you share via your Instagram story, an infographic you create using Canva, or launching a podcast. Those pieces of content will differentiate you from the crowd.
2. Use your social media presence to show that you are multi-faceted.
You can show that you are a well-rounded, multi-faceted person without compromising your credibility. Be thoughtful about what you share. And remember, people want to work with interesting people. So, yes, it’s OK to post that photo of you riding a camel, or a link to a Kickstarter for the Rufio origin story. Conveying that you are well-rounded and have interests outside of work is a good thing.
3. Contribute to the conversation in your industry.
Share interesting articles. Take part in Twitter chats. Join Facebook groups. Connect with people in your field on LinkedIn. These are subtle ways to establish your presence in your field. This does not have to become overwhelming. Tip: Become a content curator by following 20+ authoritative Twitter accounts in your field. Sign up for Nuzzel and you will receive a daily digest of the top stories from the feeds of those you follow via email. Then use Buffer to share those articles on your own feed on your desired schedule. This process can be done in less than 10 minutes per day.
4. Check your posts for narcissism, negativity, and typos.
While your closest friends and family may find your selfies endearing, people who don’t know you as well will likely experience them in a different, more negative way. Speaking of “negative” — check your negativity at the door online, unless you pair it with inspiration or a way to take action (think the difference between a rant and an actionable post). And typos — be ye warned. People intrinsically judge the intellect of the authors of posts that are filled with grammatical errors. Avoid this trifecta if you want to attract your dream employer.
5. Determine your UVP.
As a marketer, you need to flesh out your unique value proposition (UVP). What is your ‘unfair advantage?’ If you were an investor in your career (which—you are, by the way) how would you pitch yourself as a worthwhile investment? Why should an investor put their eggs in your basket as opposed to someone else’s? These are incredibly important ideas to flesh out. They affect everything: how you spend your time, money and brain power. How does your UVP impact how you present yourself online? How does it change your website? Your social media presence? Which social channels you spend time on? The tone of your posts?
6. Polish your schpeel.
Pop quiz: can you stop right now and verbally explain what you do and how you serve the world in 30 seconds or less? You need to be able to clearly, confidently, and unapologetically tell the world what you have to offer. Why? You make a lasting impression when you can confidently share who you are and what you do. And the better you can get at explaining who you are and what you do, the easier it will be for other people to understand your work and think of you first when they need someone just like you for a project.
7. Decide your approach to social and digital media.
Your public persona should support your personal brand. And while we call Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn “social networks”–they are not just for the 50 or less people you interact with in person on a regular basis. What you publish on social media IS what you are putting in public. Never assume that something you post on social media will only get seen by certain people. Always assume a potential employer, client, stranger, or some other unintended audience will see it. Anything you post online should be consistent with your personal brand. Ask yourself why you have accounts on each social network. Why are you there? What do you want to accomplish through it? What can you accomplish through it? Adjust your approach accordingly.
8. Start now.
It takes a little while for a personal brand to catch on, so be consistent and go ahead and dive in. If you are “rebranding” yourself in a new line of work or thought, know that it takes some time for people to connect you with your new “thing.” So go ahead and put the time in. Be consistent and when people need someone with your skillset they will think of you.
In the digital age we live in, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to crafting an intentional personal brand. Start by recognizing that you already have one. And be encouraged that you can directly influence the ideas people have about you with an intentional approach. Now go forth and use your online presence to put your best foot forward and convey the amazing professional you are.