The art and science of creating and growing a personal and/or professional brand, including pitfalls to avoid.
Today, we must be visible, and for that, a beautiful CV is simply not enough. The Internet, notably in its social networks, has revolutionized communication modes, including erasing the distance between professional and private life. Some recruiters — if not all at this point — as a first instinct check profiles on social media platforms to find out more about candidates. As a result, personal branding has taken on more importance than ever, and its reach can extent to our daily lives and areas of interest as well as professional updates and company social media posts. The enhancement of this branding is a virtually certain boost to any professional or entrepreneurial journey.
What is Personal Branding?
The term essentially means highlighting and otherwise promoting unique skills, experiences and expertise to propel you higher in social or professional networks. It is the image you want people to see of you, and that image is a combination of two essential ingredients: identity and reputation.
Who are you? Where are you from? What are your skills and other areas of expertise? What are your goals? In which professional environments do you thrive? Answers to these questions provide the information that will allow contacts, prospects, customers etc., to understand your personality better.
Just as there can be a good or bad reputation in one’s personal life, you also convey an image as an employee, service provider or partner that allows professional contacts to form an opinion of you. Keep that image upbeat, positive, forward-thinking and largely non-confrontational.
Why Boost Personal Branding?
Just as marketing is used to promote a product, service or business, this type of personal marketing results in a number of payoffs and other benefits:
1. Online visibility. A polished personal brand increases this exponentially. It will be a vehicle to market professional skills, grow a business or get people to support your cause.
2. Expanding your networks. When you grow your brand, networks grow — including professionals in your industry as well as across different sectors. This blazes a surer path to thought leadership and success.
3. Building partnerships. Partnerships can be an excellent solution to the many challenges that face new businesses — from limited capital to a dearth of expertise and market reach. A strong personal brand is a pathway to knowing other people better and forming partnerships.
As a prerequisite to any investment in burnishing your online self — and an action that bears repeating frequently — it’s crucial to do a search of your name, brand, nickname, name of company and photos to ensure that no one has usurped your identity, personal or professional. In the event of identity theft, the sooner you realize it and the faster you react, the less difficult it will be to correct the situation.
How to Grow Your Personal Brand Online
1. Expand website vision. Building your brand takes more than just a website; it often requires a blog or vlog (or both), a webinar, and whatever else you think would attract an audience.
2. Guest posting. You may rapidly and easily become known to a targeted audience by writing articles on different sites already established in your field. Sharing your skills, experiences and knowledge is a proven way to present yourself to a larger audience.
3. Work social networks. Be active on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and the like, but be certain to maintain a consistent persona across these channels. Some people make the mistake of using different names/profiles; this breeds confusion and mistrust.