Throughout our branding series so far, we have spent the bulk of our time focusing on how small businesses can build up a brand on a company-wide level. But what happens if you are an independent contractor, a sole proprietor or an individual entrepreneur?
You still need to develop your brand, but there are a few differences between personal branding and branding a company.
Here are some tips to help you create and develop your own personal brand:
- Be as genuine as possible: This is important in all of the interactions you have with other people, whether they’re online, over the phone or in person. On your social media platforms, for example, you should focus on showing people the real you, and your real personality. People who seem unauthentic or overly self-promotional will only drive other people away. Because you are your own brand, and you are not representing a larger company, you have more leeway to let people into your personal life. Your followers want to see what makes you human, so show them that, and occasionally promote your business.
- Be a trusted source of information: You should know your industry as good as or better than anyone, and display your knowledge when you get the chance. In addition to creating your own blogs and articles, take part in conversations online, write guest blogs for other sites, and become the person media outlets want to contact when news breaks. Interact with other influencers in your industry—the more they share or respond to what you have to say, the more legitimacy it gives you in the eyes of your followers.
- Keep a strong list of contacts: The more you build up your brand, the larger your contacts list will get. You should keep track of who each person on your list is, how you met or connected, potential opportunities they could provide and ways in which you can help them should they need assistance with anything. You should capitalize on every opportunity you get to strengthen every relationship you have.
- Develop a clear, strong value proposition: Every company needs a value proposition to help customers understand why they should do business with them. The same is true of individuals building a personal brand. What makes you particularly attractive to potential customers or clients? What are your individual strengths, skills and values? Why should someone choose to work with you? This is extremely important to spend some time thinking about. Once you have determined your value proposition, it is important your potential customers know what it is.
- Get out and be seen: In today’s business environment, it’s easy for entrepreneurs to focus so much on their digital marketing that they let other areas of their branding slip. But when you are your own brand, you must make even greater efforts to get out and be as visible and accessible as possible to other people. Staying behind your computer screen will only help you so much when it comes to building a personal brand. You have to get out and network, attend industry conferences, hold Q&A sessions and just interact with as many people as possible.
- Be persistent: Building your personal brand takes a lot of time and effort, but it is well worth it. No one can take your personal brand away from you. It will affect you throughout the rest of your career. It’s worth spending time on to make sure you do it well.
There are many elements of personal branding that are the same as branding for a company. The difference is, you are constantly living the brand yourself. Take the time you need to think through your personal branding strategy so you can position yourself as an influencer in your industry.
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Viral Solutions LLC is a Digital Marketer Certified Partner and an Infusionsoft Certified Consultant.
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