What is a personal brand?
A personal brand is the good feeling you create and the positive value that comes to mind when your prospects and customers think of you. You do not define it. It’s defined and determined by your customers as they associate you with the values, abilities and actions they know you will take on their behalf.
One of the most powerful ways to influence how others perceive you and turn that perception into opportunities is with social media.
Here are 6 tips to boost your personal brand with social media:
1. Google yourself.
This is the starting point. Your prospects and customers are “Googling” you and you need to know what exactly shows up about you. This is what you want to improve.
2. Start “looking” different online.
Your headshot, your images, your “look” online should be congruent with the image and “look” you have offline with your prospects. Clean and professional come to mind. Hire a graphic design student who is working their way through college, who wants to improve their portfolio, to help you edit your photos and LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profile designs.
3. Start “talking” different online.
Create value for your target market. Your competition is promoting their services. They are touting how great their services are. You can share insight, be educational and add value to your target market by discussing topics they find interesting or that solve their problems. Your voice is your value proposition: the thing that makes you unique and better qualified than the competition. To determine your value proposition, you will need to: 1) Have a thorough understanding of who your customer is, 2) understand your target customer’s needs and goals and 3) position yourself as the best qualified to meet your customer’s needs through the value you share. LinkedIn is the place to start here – start engaging in the groups by sharing value first.
4. Focus on the social media channels that make sense for you.
Do you need to be on ALL the social media channels? Probably not. It’s better to be consistent and good on a couple of channels that make sense, than to be inconsistent and poor on several. All sales professionals should start with LinkedIn and then move to other supporting channels from there.
5. Be authentically different.
Great personal brands are built on the truth of who you are, what you stand for, what your strengths are and your passion for what you do. Today’s social media savvy consumer can smell shallow hype like a hound smells a fox. Be yourself on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, while at the same time don’t be reckless and post a picture of yourself drunk with the lampshade on your head at last weekend’s party either.
6. Become a person of authority in your industry.
The best way to establish authority is through your personal blog. Branding expert Chris Brogan says it best, “Your home base is your blog/website. Not everyone needs a blog. But most people who want to develop a personal brand do.” Your competition may not be blogging, so it’s another opportunity to differentiate yourself online in a sea of competition.
Let’s face it. You’re selling in a competitive sales environment and everyone is saying the same thing as you are about the products and services that you provide. That’s the bad news.
The good news is, it doesn’t matter how hyper-competitive your industry is, you have an opportunity to differentiate yourself with your personal brand using social media.
Here’s a link to a guide I put together to give you 36 resources to take your personal brand to the next level. Let me know what you think!