As an online business owner, you probably know the importance of branding. Branding is one of your most powerful tools as a business owner, so you want to use it effectively. In order to get the most out of branding, you'll want to focus on building your personal brand, as well as your business brand.
Your personal brand defines who you are to your audience. Your personality, your interests, and your goals are all represented by your personal brand. In fact, you already have a personal brand, whether you've actively worked to develop it or not.
With the right personal branding, you can improve your sales and increase your audience. By giving yourself an awesome reputation among your audience, you give your business a favorable impression as well.
Building your personal brand works similarly to building any other type of brand – it's about putting your best foot forward. We've put together a list of the best personal branding tips from leading experts in marketing, to help you get started in the right direction:
1. Carefully select your profile pictures.
No matter who you are or what kind of business you own, your audience must see you as professional. As a business owner, you're seen as a leading authority in your niche, and you must present yourself as such.
Building a brand of professionalism begins with the photos you choose to represent you – particularly your profile photos. You might like the photo you friend took while you were at the bar last week, but it has no place in your professional brand. Instead, invest in professional photographs for your personal brand:
- Always smile in your photos. It builds trust between you and your audience.
- Wear proper attire. Again, you might like your vintage Harley-Davidson motorcycle jacket, but your audience may not feel the same way. Instead, wear professional clothing – a suit and tie or a classy blouse will go a long way in building your personal brand.
- Use high-quality photos. You don't have to work with a professional photographer to get professional photographs, but you do need the right equipment. Your photos should be clear, well-lit, and properly composed.
Think of your profile picture as your first impression with your audience. Your goal should be to give your audience the same first impression with your photo as you would with a handshake.
2. Be authentic.
Authenticity sells because it's very difficult to find. The internet is full of fakes who will do whatever they can to make a sale, and being authentic will help you stand out. Not only will it make you stand out from your competition, but it'll also make you more attractive to your audience. In general, people prefer authenticity to fakeness, so keep this in mind with everything – your photos, your content, etc.
3. Share content consistently.
Consistency is one of the greatest tools in your arsenal for building your brand. Long gone are the days where you could post one blog per month and expect to succeed – in today's ever-growing marketing, you have to post nearly every day to stay in the forefront of your audience's mind.
Whether it be videos, digital art, or blog posts, only share high-quality content. It's better to share nothing at all than poor content – sharing nothing will halt your growth, but sharing poor content may actively push members of your audience away. Share often, but don't be afraid to hold back because something is sub-par. Your content speaks volumes about your personal brand, so make sure you're sharing content that makes you proud.
4. Use social media regularly.
Again, consistency is key to building your brand. In addition to posting and sharing high-quality content, you must post and interact on social media on a regular basis.
Post on every social media platform at least once a day – for platforms like Twitter, don't be afraid to post upwards of 5 times per day! This helps you grow your social media presence, ultimately building your audience and your brand.
5. Tell your story.
How did you make it where you are today? What steps did you take, and what struggles did you endure to find success? What are you current goals and ambitions?
When people know who you are and where you came from, they're more likely to trust you and support your goals for the future. Your audience wants to know who you are, and the best way to tell them is a compelling story. Write your story in a way that others will want to read, and share it far and wide.
6. Be deliberate in establishing your personality.
You have to be authentic with your audience, but you also have to make a name for yourself. When your audience hears your name, there should be one or two adjectives that come to mind – smart, educated, professional, and friendly are all excellent terms you'd like to have your audience associate with your personal brand.
When you're establishing your personal brand, decide who you want your audience to see (without being disingenuous – if you didn't go to college, don't tell lies in order to brand yourself as “educated”). Make this very clear to your audience in every way you can – through your choice of photo, your content, and even your choice of design and color scheme.
7. Reply to comments and messages on social media.
By interacting with your audience, you develop a more personal relationship with them. Replying to every comment, message, and tweet might be time-consuming, but it will pay off immensely as growth for your brand.
8. Use a creative, unique, and memorable logo.
The human brain recognizes symbols and colors much more quickly than words, giving logos great power. Your logo defines who you are to many, many people, so choose one that will stick in the minds of your audience.
Your logo doesn't have to be complicated – in fact, some of the most recognizable logos in history are very simple – but it has to be unique. When your logo is memorable and unique, you've created a very powerful tool for your brand.
9. Create a unique tagline for your brand.
In addition to logos, taglines stick in the minds of your customers. When you read the word “Nike,” there's no doubt you immediately think of the words “Just do it!” Why? Because you associate the words “Just do it!” with Nike – unsurprisingly, they branded themselves that way on purpose. Channel this with your own brand by creating a catching tag line your audience can relate to.
10. Start a podcast.
Podcasts are very simple to create, but offer limitless benefits for your brand. Podcasts are an excellent way to connect with your audience and share your thoughts, share news about your brand, and answer questions. All you need is a microphone and a way to upload your podcast, and you're ready to get started.
11. Speak at public events.
By speaking at events, you can establish yourself as an authority in your niche. Speaking at events doesn't happen overnight, but start by sending requests to speak – classrooms are a great place to start, as well as conventions. Investigate upcoming events in your area, and put in a bid to speak. With time, you'll attract larger audiences – simultaneously building your brand and establishing your authority.