When you search for your name and your company name on Google, what comes up? If you are lucky enough to have an unusual name, the chances are that the first page of Google will feature your company profile, LinkedIn page, and any blog posts you’ve written. But do those links represent you in the very best possible light? Do they explain who you are and why someone should work with you over a competitor? If not, you need to invest in online personal branding: the only way to have influence over what people see about you online.
What’s important to stress is that online personal branding isn’t just for entrepreneurs and CEOs. Everyone should be focusing on building a personal brand that they can use to sell products and services. Once you’ve built a reputation in your industry, it can be there for life.
So, what is online personal branding? Simply put, it’s the art of marketing yourself and your work as a brand. It requires patience, commitment, and hard work – you cannot become a brand overnight. But by developing your reputation across social media and search engines, you’re able to appear as an authority in your industry, which will ultimately assist in growth.
We’ve put together the benefits of online personal branding and tips on getting started…
Online personal branding aids discovery
By consistently posting relevant and engaging content on social media and your company or a personal blog, you’re able to reach more consumers. Some of those may “follow you around the web”, seeking out content you’ve created because they’re a fan of your work. The key is to build a brand voice that you can shout about across all of your social media sites and blogs. The more frequently you post, either on your own blog or on third party websites through guest posting, the sooner you’ll be seen as an expert in your niche.
If you write a guest post every day and you’re always on Linked and Twitter, you’ll build a community and people will find you naturally. Then, when they’re looking for a product or a service in your industry, they’ll come to you before reaching out to a competitor. It’s a way of making sure you’re seen and ultimately convert your followers into paying customers.
Build trust and awareness
Another benefit of online personal branding is building trust. In today’s always-online times it can be easy to dissociate a human from their online brand. But the truth is people buy from people. If you’re a friendly figure in your industry and a regular on popular blogs and podcasts, people will see you as someone they can trust and depend on. Offer advice on running their businesses, and they’ll be more likely to “repay the favor” and buy from you.
Over time, people will feel like they know who you are. They’ll follow your journey as you grow your influence. They’ll have read your ebook, watched your videos, and subscribed to your podcast. You can naturally build a relationship with potential customers without ever having to speak to them directly. Social media allows you to speak to thousands of people at the same time and make a genuine impact. If you’re trustworthy, transparent, and consistent, you’ll have no trouble in forming valuable connections with potential clients.
Make your content purposeful
If you only take away one piece of advice from this article, let it be this. The best way to build your personal brand is to create truly valuable and purposeful content. It’s easy to fall into the trap of churning out sub-par content when you’re in the rat race. And for a while, you might get away with putting in minimal effort. But in order to truly make an impact, you need to create really valuable and useful content that makes a difference to readers’ lives.
Beauty entrepreneurs can share tips on building a beauty business. Marketers can offer a guide on increasing conversion rates.
The more detailed and in-depth you are, the more your subscribers and community will get behind you and come back time and time again. If you start to fall off and create content that’s been covered to death, people will disengage.
Some thought leaders say paid advertising is the key to their success. Rather than writing ten articles, they’ll write one and pay for it to be promoted on Facebook and LinkedIn. That way, they’re getting more eyeballs on their work, and they can focus on creating impactful blog posts, infographics, and videos that are designed to elevate their platform. It’s simple.
Do something different
With so many people investing in online personal branding, you need to work hard to stand out from the crowd. It’s not good enough to fall in line with what everyone else is doing, as you’ll never attract the attention of potential customers. Find something unique about you or the services you offer and exploit it. It could be that you’re a work-from-home mom, or that you were the first personal trainer to work with Beyonce.
Whatever it is, the sooner you identify that USP (or create one if there isn’t one), the sooner you’ll scale.
Consistency is key with online personal branding
Finally, a quick word on consistency. When you’re working hard to build a personal brand, you must focus on posting quality content on a regular basis. From social media to your blog, everything you do should follow the same style guide and look and read well. You’re not going to become an internet celebrity overnight, perhaps never. You must think about the bigger picture and think long-term. You might only have a small audience today, but in time, you’ll be glad you made the investment.
Work hard, hustle, and take inspiration from more established players. In time, you too could have the audience and power they hold.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when thinking about online personal branding, but the key is to just get going. The sooner you make the leap by setting up your social media handles and a category on your blog, the better. Post as often as you can and learn as you go – you don’t need to get everything right every time. If you need help, enlist the support of the team here at Biz Online Marketing. We specialize in personal branding and online PR.