Personal Branding - An introduction
Personal Branding is nothing new, but it's being used in many new ways and contexts that you can leverage when building your personal brand. In this post our guest author Katherine Jensen shares some of her tips and experiences in building a personal brand.
Times are changing
Over the last few decades we've seen major changes in trends and the ways in which we work. In our current reality an enormous number of hours are spent in front of a screen, either on the computer, our phones or tablets. That means we must constantly keep up with the changes and learn how to leverage them in our businesses.
We also see how complex marketing has become and how much of a "time sink" it can be. Our customers are busy. We are busy. Everyone is in a hurry because we need to meet our deadlines or/and be first-movers on new ways of working and ideas that pop up.
But in the midst of the bustle; do we ever stop and take a look at the "old methods" that we might also give our time and love to? Allow me to introduce an old acquaintance:
The term "Personal Branding" goes back a long way - long before the particularly long "BEEP" was heard when first turning on a desktop computer.
But what can Personal Branding really do?
I'll start by sharing a few personal examples that are illustrative of the power of a Personal Brand. Years ago I began making an effort to focus in on some of my core qualities: Friendliness, Integrity, Competence.
In practice this meant not only making sure my content aligned with my qualities but it also dictated how I approached my network. How do you portray friendliness for example?
Years ago when I was consulting on SoMe I would post a lot of tips and tricks on how businesses could get the most out of their Social Channels and then one day, I offered everyone in my network a free hour of consulting specifically for their business. My post was viewed over 600.000 times, which gave my about 2.000 new personal connections/leads and quite a few customers.
When I soft-launched Handwritten, I wanted to extend a hand to my network in a similar fashion, but this time I offered a full visual identity, logo and watermarks, for free. Over the course of a week that got 20.000 views and 51 companies applied to get a free visual identity. It cost me a bit of time but put me in touch with hundreds of new potential clients.
Does a keen focus on your Personal Brand still pay off?
In an age where everything is based on our online presence, many are finding themselves caught in dead ends because we forget the essentials. The good relationship.
The good relationship is alpha & omega when we dive into sales. We already know the word of mouth effect where good publicity (whether it is about a person we like or a good product) is presented to us, because the buyers experience was something out of the ordinary.
As customers, we like to feel enriched with attention that we rarely experience in the busy reality of things. Therefore, something as basic as personal branding is a goldmine if you know how to use it.
Providing this kind of service requires something very special; that we give our time to the customer. Today, it is most often the case that you have to hurry one customer out of the store in order to serve the next.
A good relationship can start on social media
Despite the fact that our lives are lived in the fast lane, we can create a huge advantage for ourselves by precisely using our online presence. That way we can hit a much larger audience without having to search the ends of the market.
Our customer service is one of the qualities we are most likely remembered for. It's one thing to deliver a good product, but as a fact it's our service that will be remembered and spoken of later.
We want to buy products or services from people we like. Most often, we may select a slightly worse product if we like and trust the salesperson who can offer us security/trust and a pleasant experience.
Today, "safe trading" is in high demand. Most of our interactions when trading is done online, so we are lacking in security and personal experience. Therefore it's essential to bring trust via your Personal Brand and make the experience personal while providing great services, online.
Your presence is valuable!
Have you ever considered which qualities you're endorsed for? Use those qualities as your secret weapon when you step into the marketplace. If you're looking for specific online platforms which are great places to build your personal brand, you might already be aware that LinkedIn is a great place to start.
Here we interact with other people who are either in a job or looking for one. Therefore our potential client are more or less right in front of us.
How to use LinkedIn to increase your brand
Post, comment, like and share! Share your knowledge and offer your assistance. You need to connect with the right people who will either be prospects or perhaps just someone you're interested in following.
Use the posting-tool often - I recommend at least 1 - 2 times per month, but perhaps even 1 - 2 times per week. Share knowledge that your connections and 2nd-level connections (those who are connected with your connections) find useful and interesting. Using LinkedIn as a teaching tool is a great way to extend your reach.
By sharing your knowledge and helping your connections you will most likely gain more trust and "likeability". When you're sharing your knowledge of subjects that you know well, that increases your connections perception of you. They will remember you as the "go to guy" (or woman). Search your feed for posts which you can comment on and where you can lend a helping hand.
Plan it all out
Think of your presence as a valuable gift for your followers and connections. A good idea is to create an overview of your future posts. See this as if it were a marketing campaign and play to your personal strengths.
Find out in which fields you are strong and where you can contribute. This allows you to put together content-rich posts that your followers and contacts will benefit from.
An example: If you work as a freelance web designer, stand out by contributing knowledge about how you build secure websites that protects users data and their privacy.
Or if you work in accounting, share your greatest tips on tooling, how to attain manageable, simple accounting workflows.
Create an overview of your knowledge and those areas where you have some expertise and share that with your network. This puts you on the right track towards building a strong brand and at the same time your readers get a sense of what kind of person you are.
Never be afraid to contribute or share. Your readers will certainly be left thinking "I wonder how much more this person knows if this is just a fraction of their knowledge".
We do business with people that we feel confident know their stuff and therefore it's brilliant to leverage social media to share your thoughts on any number of subjects. You don't have to share everything from the ups and downs of your everyday life. In fact you probably shouldn't. But the more you can give of yourself as a human being, the better a relationship you will build with your readers and followers. And once they like you, they will most likely also want to buy from you.
About the author
Katherine Jensen is a Danish Entrepreneur who has done extensive work in Graphics Design & Social Media management. She is a Personal Branding expert and founder and CEO of Handwritten, a SaaS that helps business with their visual identity.