We are living in a highly connected digital world. At the touch of a button you can reach someone about ANYTHING on the other side of the world and get an instant response or reaction. This level of connectivity presents an unprecedented opportunity to build a formidable personal brand online.
Create your own brand
And the great news is that you can create your own brand identity, yourself. Sure, you can engage the services of a marketing group or agency if you are time poor or looking for additional assistance. But there is nothing stopping you from forging your own digital path either. In this article, I will show you how.
So what is individual branding? In a nutshell, it is the way you present yourself to the world. Both in person and online. In this article I am going to focus on the digital component of individual branding.
Individual branding allows you to develop a unique name, identity and image for yourself. Individual branding allows you to target different audiences and differentiate yourself from others who offer the same service or products to the market.
You influence your individual brand in everything that you do online. For example, every comment you make online, every article or blog post you write and each LinkedIn update you author, contributes to your individual brand.
You are looking to do two things when it comes to building your individual brand:
- Provide value to your audience (whoever they may be) and;
- Demonstrate your personality in some way, shape or form
You can positively influence your individual brand online by proactively building your profile. In a professional context this might include:
- Updating your LinkedIn profile
- Creating a personal website to showcase your work, experience or recent projects
- Commenting on a range of social media and professional digital platforms to assist others in your industry sector
Here are some specific ways you might work to build your individual brand online:
- Offer tactical hints and tips to others on sites such as LinkedIn
- Answer common questions asked in your industry, niche or area of expertise in industry online discussion forums
- Create video guides or tutorials in your area of expertise for others to learn from via Youtube, your personal website or LinkedIn
- Offer a “behind the scenes” look at your professional self or business so your audience gets some insight into your personality on your social media accounts
- Acknowledge the exceptional contribution of others to your industry via digital networking sites such as LinkedIn
- Outline projects and initiatives you have been part of that make you feel proud on your personal website, LinkedIn profile or social media accounts
Personal branding examples
You don’t have to look far to find many examples of exceptional personal branding. For relevant examples in your industry sector, consider googling “personal brand examples [industry] sector”. You will see a range of examples that are sure to inspire you to action.
For the most part, you are likely to see examples of:
- Personal websites
- LinkedIn profiles
- Professional biographies
- Video clips, How to guides and infographics
Personal branding identity
Planning a personal branding identity is an important step before you start creating new digital content. In a professional context, it is very important to develop key personal brand messages. Any content you develop should be aligned with those messages.
Whilst it is easy to pull together an “Instagram” worthy branding plan, you MUST make sure that you are being true to who you actually are and what you stand for in your industry sector or niche market. Whether you are selling products or your own professional services or skills, it is essential to evaluate all content you plan to post against that identity before posting any content online.
Personal brand management
Just as with a social media strategy for any business, you should develop a plan for managing your own personal brand. In a digital context, this means developing a plan for:
- How you are going to build your brand (eg through blog posts, industry conference speaking gigs etc)
- The type of content you are going to post and;
- The digital channels you are going to use (eg LinkedIn, personal website, industry digital forums etc)
With a personal brand management strategy in place, you will more effectively and efficiently build your personal brand online.
Personal branding training
If you are not very confident when it comes to blowing your own trumpet, you may wish to explore some personal branding training. You can source digital training courses and face to face courses easily online.
Just make sure you thoroughly research the groups offering training before making any financial commitments.
Personal brand statement examples
To get you started, consider creating a personal brand statement that you can use on your LinkedIn profile, your personal website and any other digital professional profiles you create.
An effective personal brand statement explores a few key elements:
- Reference to your area of expertise
- Your level of experience
- Your key differentiator or competence that makes you worth knowing
So as an example, I am experienced in the area of Recruitment, Talent Acquisition and Personal Branding. I have worked in this niche for over 20 years. I pride myself on my ability to assist organisations and individuals to grow their professional profiles so that they can connect, work together and “make formidable things happen”.
So the personal brand statement I use is:
Connecting formidable people with formidable opportunities to make great things happen
For more great personal brand statement examples head to 7 Personal Brand Statement Examples on the website personalbrand.com
Be open to changing your brand statement over time as your skill set and experience changes. The way you represent yourself online must keep pace with the work you undertake, the skills you attain along the way and the key ways that you provide value to your audience(s).
It can be daunting to start making yourself known in a digital world. But when you have a clear picture of your strengths and key messages and a plan for building your personal brand, including the digital channels you will use, you are ready to launch.
So dip your toe in the digital water or dive straight in. The choice is yours. The professional reputation you build will lead to exceptional work opportunities and more valuable professional connections. Get started today.