Your personal brand is a mix of who you are and how you’re unique in your field. Figuring out how to solidify your image requires attention to what others in your industry claim and digging deep into your personal values and practices. The persona your company has and your personal branding efforts work together but are distinctly different.
What steps should you take to enhance your personal brand? How does it all tie into your business model and why do people care about who you are at the core of what you do? The best brands often have a strong personality behind them as a driving force. Examples include Wendy’s with its founder Dave and Walmart with founder Sam Walton. Even once these entrepreneurs passed on, their driving personal force remained behind.
Here are some steps to take to reach new heights with your personal brand and achieve the unique image you want. The goal is to develop loyal followers who will sing your praises to like-minded people. Word-of-mouth marketing starts with your current clients and ripples outward.
1. Adapt for mobile as soon as possible.
Any message you send out must resonate with mobile users. More people than ever before are using their smartphones to access the internet. Your first consideration should be how your branding efforts look on smaller screens.
Facebook looked at 35 brand lift studies across 10 verticals with 34 advertisers. They found performance campaigns resulted in a 94% uplift in conversions when advertisers included brand awareness in their campaigns. In addition, mobile-optimized creatives resulted in a two-fold increase in brand awareness.
2. Use branding to establish your authority.
It’s vital you stand out in your industry as the go-to person on topics related to your industry. You can overcome other obstacles by talking about them openly. For example, a female entrepreneur may want to talk about how she got where she is. About 47% of the American workforce is women, but females make up only 25% of senior executives.
What unique perspective can you offer? What challenges did you overcome that no one else faced? Think about how you are unique in your field and turn it into a conversation starter.
3. Upload only high-quality content.
Anytime someone searches the keyword phrases most pertinent to your company, they should see your name and your brand name pop up in search engine results pages (SERPs). Share content on your website, upload videos to social media, guest blog on other sites, and offer value anytime and anywhere you can reach your target audience.
Pay attention to the content offered on other websites. Are there any gaps you can fill with your unique perspective? Tell your stories within your content to highlight how you solved problems for your customers and why you are the best choice for others to turn to for their business needs.
4. Reinforce branding by building an online community.
Do you have a fan club? You can build an online community in many different ways. You can engage with users on social media, start a newsletter mailing list or offer a podcast or weekly live video. Think about the topics people want to learn about and share the answers in a format they can easily absorb.
Keep in mind you should somewhat control your audience. So while Facebook might be a great way to initially connect with a specific audience, encourage them to sign up for your newsletter so you can reach them regularly and not have to pay a fee to boost your post.
5. Embrace a cause.
What do you care about at the core of your being? One example of a business with strong personal branding is Boombas. They had an idea to sell a pair of socks and give a pair to people in need, such as through homeless shelters. What are you passionate about? Does it align with your business model?
The latest Consumer Culture report looked at consumers in different age groups and found 83% of the younger generation state it’s important to buy from a company sharing their values. Other generations cared a lot, too, with Gen-X at 73% and Baby Boomers at 60%.
It’s essential you find something to care about and can get behind. It might be best to stay away from anything too controversial as you risk losing half your customer base. However, you can tap into many different causes people care about, such as helping the homeless, animal welfare, the environment, and improvements to your local community.
6. Connect with influencers.
Who has the ear of your ideal customer? Look for people to connect with who can help expand your personal brand. Many companies today work with micro-influencers. These people have a smaller audience than some of the megastars of social media, but they have highly engaged users and the ability to spread the word about your product or service.
Talk to your influencers about the best ways to get the word out about what you do. They might feature you in an interview, share news about your company or highlight how you got started in the industry. Be open and forthcoming with their audience and you’ll gain a few new clients here and there. Over time, word-of-mouth grows.
Change Is Inevitable
If you don’t like your personal brand image, it’s never too late to change it. Admit your mistakes and look for how you might best improve. Ideally, you’ll build on your principles year after year until you reach the heights you desire.
However, it’s also a good idea to reassess your brand and if it needs any changes. What works and what doesn’t? How can you best meet the needs of your users while still staying true to your own vision?