For many small business owners, they are the face of their company and as such integral to it's branding. However what many small business owners don't realise is that this means they have to manage their own personal brand as well as their business brand, with each requiring a different strategy. Your personal brand is all about getting your face and personality out there and promoting yourself as an expert in your field. Here are the 5 Key Aspects of Personal Branding;
1. Be the Eternal Student - Learning & Development
It's very easy to get to a point to feel like you've seen it all, heard it all and maybe even done it all and as a result there's nothing left to learn. Never fall into this trap. In order to remain relevant and expert in your field, you must always be on the look out for changes in your industry and industries that interact with or effect it.
Don't limit yourself either. Pick up a variety of skills and you never know how they might come in handy. Learn a language, sharpen your tech skills, do anything that prevents you from mentally stagnating and in turn passing this on to your business. Remember that in order for your business to continue growing, so must you.
2. The Virtual Self - Build and Maintain an Online Presence
How you present yourself online is ultimately how 99.9% of your clients and all your prospects are going to see you. They may not interact with you personally on a daily basis but your online presence is their connection to you, so be careful how you come across. Social Media can make or break your personal brand so think before you tweet, update your status or share something.
Your professional profiles, such as linkedin.com, should contain as much information as possible so that your clients and prospects can get an understanding of you professional achievements and expertise. Use professional photos on all profiles, including Facebook, and always review anything you're tagged or mentioned in before it's published to your profile.
If you are not managing your online presence yourself, you may have it outsourced, then you should be checking on them at least once a week to ensure you're still relevant and being presented in the best way possible. Outsourcing is great but at the end of the day that person isn't you and they may not always get things right, so keeping an eye on things allows you to catch things early and provide instructions.
3. Speak Your Mind - Speaking Engagements
There's no better way to build an awesome personal brand than to be a speaker. This places you as an expert in your field that people want to work with. Speaking engagements can be fantastic opportunities to market yourself and in doing so, your business. You want to consider the audience your speaking to and pitch your talk to them specifically. Don't use a cookie cutter speech you've been running with for the last three years because chances are it's not going to work on every audience.
Start off small and work your way up. This will not only give you a chance to perfect your speaking style but will also help to build a solid base of testimonials and referrals. It's unlikely you're going to land a gig speaking at the G20 Summit but if you do, find a mentor or speaker you respect and ask them to coach you. As with any aspect of business, mentoring and coaching is key as you want to learn from someone else's mistakes more often than your own.
4. The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword - Thought Leadership
Thought leadership is huge these days. You only have to google the term to come up with some big names, big brands and even bigger personalities. Thought leadership articles are all about establishing and building credibility, giving you a chance to give back to the community, your industry and the world. Write on topics you're an expert on but don't be afraid to pitch your take on things that might be considered "well established beliefs". Change is good and if you've thought it through you never know where your idea might lead.
If you are going to write thought leadership articles, makes sure they are submitted to more places than just the blog on your website. Submit it to any media sites or groups who focus on your industry or the subject of your article. These places are always interested in fresh content and as long as your writing is good enough (please spell check, grammar check and then spell check again), they will likely be keen to publish it. As with anything it's a numbers game so submit where ever you can and you will get hits. Like speaking engagements it's all about building credibility and establishing yourself.
5. Be Yourself, No One Else is Better At It! - Authenticity
Imitation is the highest form of flattery but when it comes to your personal brand, there is no point trying to be someone else. You want to present yourself as genuine and honest and by emulating another person, you're just creating a carbon copy that will never be as good as the original. So don't trying building a brand around a fake "self" because ultimately it will all come unstuck and likely at the worst possible time.
Your brand needs to reflect who you are, what you stand for, what your values are and what kind of person your clients and prospects can look forward to working with. At the end of the day, people connect with other people not copies so if you're not being true to yourself, people will see this and you will struggle to make quality connections. This is one area where it's not about quantity but the quality of your connections, so be sure you're being as authentic as you can be.
This article was prepared by Ant Ulijn, Social Media Extraordinaire and Values Alignment Expert from emanation. If you found this information useful, please comment below and make sure you like us on Facebook for more great content like this.