The question is no longer IF you have a personal brand, but are you going to build it or let the marketplace manage it for you. For entrepreneurs it is the first and most important connection between you and your target audience.
As Peter Montoya states in his book The Brand Called You
“Personal Branding is the process that takes your skills, personality and unique characteristics and packages them into a powerful identity that lifts you above the sea of anonymous faces and competitors”.
Here are 5 steps you can take to create an amazing personal image online.
- Understand that you have a unique selling point. There never has, and never will be anyone just like you. You have a unique perspective, a blend of strengths and talents, these are your gifts to share. Although the products or services you provide may be available elsewhere, your ability to offer an experience that is different, interesting and relevant allows you to stand out. You have a message that only you can deliver, and it is through this uniqueness that you make the competition irrelevant.
- Specialize and narrow into your target audience. It is always tempting to sell to a wider audience. However if you are trying to talk to everyone, you are likely talking to no one. Specialize within a niche and you can create a sense of exclusiveness and provide solutions to the problems that your clients are experiencing. If you have an idea of the age, gender, income level, interests and life style of your ideal client you can speak with them on a personal basis, even if only through blogs and emails. Also as you develop a social media presence, you will have a better understanding of where your potential clients are hanging out.
- Develop a Compelling Story. Crafting your story is one of the most powerful ways to increase your value and relevance. This helps you connect with your current and future customers, and is a way to communicate your values and ethics, to share what is important to you. A friend of mine, Kim Maxwell of Shoreknots has recently started her company and is creating a wonderful personal lifestyle brand around the nautical jewelry that she designs and creates, in her hometown of Marblehead MA. Kim has put so much of herself, and her charming New England seaside town into the Shoreknots brand; her story resonates, and you feel a instant connection.
- Show Your Personality. Marketing gurus call this your brand differentiator. What do you stand for, what do you want people to remember about you? Infusing your brand with your personality shows, rather than tells people why you are different, what sets you apart. Personality establishes a connection between you and your clients, you are able to establish rapport, to build trust. Personality transforms your message from boring to fascinating, increasing your impact. You can be both authentic and professional at the same time, sharing some of the quirky, funny things that happen in all our lives, but in a professional way. Be yourself, the real authentic you. Finding the right balance between sharing too little and too much, can be challenging, but this is where we most connect with our audience.
- Create a visually distinctive brand. Think about the images and colors that speak to your brand. What is the impression you want to leave people with? For inspiration I looked to Fiona Humberstone‘s blog and book How to Style Your BrandFiona offers an excellent free workbook that walks you through the process of styling your brand, helping you to find focus and unlock the power of color psychology. Once you have styled your brand, it is important to share that brand identity across all social platforms, so you become distinct and instantly recognizable.
Most importantly in all of this, have fun! Share your authentic self, the gifts only you can share. Enjoy the journey, enjoy interacting with your audience. Relax and know that you’ve got this.
As my daughter Sophie would say “Just do YOU”!
What aspect of personal branding do you most enjoy? what is your greatest challenge? I would love to hear your thoughts. If you found this valuable, please do share on Linked In, FaceBook, Twitter and Pinterest.