In my last post, we explored branding yourself and why it’s one of the best ways to control public perception of yourself and make you irreplaceable. In this post, I will ask the key questions you should answer in order to get started with building your personal brand.
What’s So Special About You?
The first step in developing your brand is pinpointing exactly what it is about you that makes you so special. What do you do better than anyone else? What have been some of your biggest successes? What do your clients or employer say are your strengths? What do you do that gets those around you pumped up?
Much like the process you followed in creating your USP, when you develop your brand you need to specifically outline the value you offer that is unique to you. Once you’ve identified your statement of individuality, make sure it’s marketable and something you can incorporate into everything you do.
During this stage, you’ll also want to make sure your own perception of yourself jives with how you want the public to perceive you. After all, if you don’t truly believe you have the power that you are building your brand upon, you’ll be balancing on a very weak foundation.
Can You Get the Word Out?
Once you have your personal branding statement, you need to start living it. The value of your brand should be clear across the board – in your interactions with clients, on your web site, through your social media conversations, in communication with colleagues, on your blog and within your comments on other blogs.
If you can voice your brand’s message without screaming, you will begin to establish your credibility. It simply requires that you keep your brand visible, and be consistent and steady in all of your activities. If you’re not able to do this, you will hurt your brand’s authority and possibly cause people to lose trust in you.
The way you present yourself is especially important in social media. You’ll also want to make sure you are maintaining professional and consistent profiles, including your avatar and photo. When focusing on you as a brand, there is no better identifier than a photo of yourself, and if you use it across the board, you make it easy for people to distinguish and interact with you.
Are You Going Beyond Just You?
It may seem contradictory, but developing a personal brand is not all about you. You need to go beyond yourself and interact with those you are trying to influence. This means participating in conversations on social media networks, responding to comments on your blog, and engaging clients and potential clients in two-way conversations. It’s also vitally important that you listen to and incorporate feedback you receive from the public.
Aim to be genuine and transparent in all of your communications. And don’t forget the importance of customer service! Your clients should know and understand your brand better than anyone else because they should experience it in every interaction with you. Consistency in managing these interactions is the best way to build a reputation with your brand that will be recognizable (and respected) by others.
Do you focus on branding yourself? How have you done it?
Image credit: Karyn Christner