Every business owner needs a personal brand to establish what they stand for. Your personal brand should be unique because this is your chance to ensure your business stands out from the crowd. Effective personal branding is one that accords your visibility, both online and offline. Even though we live in a digitalized world, there are countless people who still appreciate the brick and mortar shopping experience.
The internet provides each business owner with unlimited resources they can use to achieve an effective personal brand. Are you an expert writer who wants to earn money on the side? Freelance writing jobs online gives you the opportunity to put your skills to use.
Use these tools and resources to leave a lasting impression on your audience. Failure to put enough efforts towards building your brand allows outside forces to control your narrative.
Below is a guide that gives you an in-depth look into personal branding and all its facets.
What Is Personal Branding?
Before you begin working on your personal brand, you need to establish what it is. Gone are the days when branding was all about the products and services a business offered. Today, branding can be about anything. Businesses need to identify what they want to be known for and use it to establish a business identity.
Remember that you can establish a personal brand even when you don’t have a business. For instance, entertainers and artists today have to create a profile that fans and followers can identify them with.
The beauty of technology and the internet is that anyone can access tools and resources to help with the brand creation process. Ensure that the identity you create for yourself leaves a positive impression on your audience.
Why Does Personal Branding Matter?
Many people dismiss creating a personal brand because it is time-consuming. Whereas this is true, all the time and effort you dedicate to this will not go in vain. Remember that people are googling you at every stage of your career and what they find has a significant impact on how they perceive you.
In fact, many companies refuse to hire any professionals without an online presence. Whether you’re looking to start your business or seek employment, personal branding is a crucial step you cannot afford to miss.
With a strong positive online presence, you can easily convince employers or customers of your professionalism and reliability. Think of personal branding as an opportunity to build for yourself an additional channel for achieving success. It has the potential to make or break your career advancement opportunities.
Starting from the beginning can feel overwhelming, but once you build a foundation, adding to it becomes easy. Establish a roadmap to help you manage the entire process.
How Effectively Build a Personal Brand
We’ve already established that your personal brand should present you as an ideal choice for employers or customers. You need an effective brand building process that’s not exhausting or overwhelming. Remember that this is an ongoing process that you cannot complete within one day.
Break down the entire process into manageable phrases to ensure you give each phase your best. You’re not doing this for the sake of it, but with long term success in mind.
Build a Basic Brand
Begin by building a basic brand. This constitutes an online presence that highlights your qualifications. Update your profile with fresh content to show proficiency in your field. The basic Brand needs to define what you stand for.
Google yourself to figure out where you feature in search results. What do people see when they look you up? You need to know what you’re dealing with before you come up with an effective brand.
Clean up Risky Search Results
The search results that are closely attached to your name define who you are. Remove all risky search results because they are likely to come back to bite you. These include comments on social media, images, and videos that portray you in a bad light.
Anything that doesn’t fit with your vision should go. Pull down any posts that might prevent you from securing opportunities in the future. Ignoring this step is very risky because it takes only one negative search result to sabotage your entire personal brand strategy.
Once you clean up your existing profile, you can now define yourself. Use the unique elements that make you who you are to define yourself. What is your vision for your personal brand? Gather all your accomplishments and use them to establish yourself as a valuable brand.
Establish long-term and short-term goals and have a timeline for each objective. The information you share will determine if you achieve your goals or not.
Showcase Your Skills and Achievements
Begin by writing down all the achievements that make you proud and identify moments when you got recognition because of your skills. The skills and achievements you showcase will project a message the audience will use to determine their perception of you.
Have a succinct bio and an elaborate brand statement to all your social media pages to achieve brand cohesion. Consistency does not only appeal to your audience but to search engines as well.
Build and Maintain an Online Presence
Your work does not end with establishing a cohesive personal brand. Building a personal brand is a continuous effort to ensure external forces have no leeway to drive your narrative. Building an online presence ensures that people have an easy time finding you on different social media platforms.
You need professional profiles on all relevant platforms and a personal website. After all, you have no business creating a personal brand if you’ll not ensure it attains visibility. Some of the platforms on which you can have a professional profile include;
Having several professional profiles on different platforms is guaranteed to boost your Brand’s effectiveness.
Optimize for Search Engines
Lastly, you need to optimize all pages for search engines. After all, search engines are the medium your audience uses to interact with your profiles. Ensure you include your location where possible and always use your full name on all platforms.
You also need to optimize your content with relevant keywords and make use of meta-data where necessary. Make a habit of writing in the third person to ensure your audience feels included.
Hidden Risks to Personal Branding
Like any other project, personal branding has its own pitfalls. Even though hidden, you can easily identify them and avoid falling into any. Building a personal brand is a lot of work, and it would be a shame if your efforts didn’t pay off in the end.
Restricting Your Persona
It’s always advisable for you to stick with a specific niche when you’re creating your personal brand. However, you might end up pigeonholing yourself. People will hardly recognize you outside your niche.
Choosing a highly specific niche can be risky because you might end up with no reasonable ROI. Besides, keeping up with your persona can be a challenge. For this reason, ensure you carry out extensive research about your niche. Once you specialize, switching back can sabotage you.
Research about who your competitors and use your findings to come up with a unique angle to help you stand out in the crowd. Ensure that you don’t go for an over-saturated niche because making it to the top can be a challenge.
To escape this pigeonhole, use every opportunity to demonstrate your versatility. This way, your audience will not view you in one dimension alone.
There is no guarantee for ROI
Even though building a personal brand is viewed as an indispensable career strategy, there is no guarantee for ROI.
Additionally, you cannot achieve your ideal personal brand overnight. Working on your Brand takes a lot of time and effort. You have to sacrifice your comfort to ensure you build your desired online persona.
This huge investment of time and resources can sometimes be just that – an investment without returns. Many people get to a point where they question if their efforts will eventually bear fruit or not.
It Takes a Lot to Keep Up With Your Online Persona
Usually, when you build another persona, you have to project a certain charisma to get the attention of your audience. This makes it difficult to stay authentic. Your brand personality might not match with who you are in real life.
Keeping up with a personality that’s separate from who you are can be challenging. When you emphasize characteristics you don’t ordinarily showcase; your audience can easily see through the fabrication.
Deviating from your real self makes you seem like a fraud, even when you’re not. This dampens the impact of your personal Brand because people don’t want to associate with anyone who’s not transparent.
You Can End Up Making Promises You Cannot Keep
Your personal Brand can sometimes oversell your qualifications. This is a risky path to tread because once you set the bar high, going lower costs you your credibility.
For instance, your blog posts can establish you as an expert in a certain field. When you get an opportunity, you don’t qualify for, getting yourself out of such a situation without hurting your Brand can be difficult.
It’s always a good thing to tout your best qualities, but ensure you don’t go overboard. The internet can be quite unforgiving sometimes.
Your personality might be swallowed by the brand
When you spend so much time perfecting your personal brand, it might end up being more “brand” than “personal.” People will end up judging you based on your brand when it’s not an accurate representation of who you are.
Ensure that your online interactions do not replace who you are in person. Try as much as you can to use your Brand to represent who you really are in real life.
You Can Easily Attract Negative Publicity
You’ve probably heard people say that negative publicity is still publicity. However, as an entrepreneur who’s just entering the market, this is not the case. One negative public stunt is enough to crush you.
When you create an online persona, there is always the possibility of negative publicity. Getting involved in any controversy is bound to put you in the line of fire. Entirely avoiding debates is also a bad idea because people want to interact with people with solid arguments.
People can easily misquote you and tarnish the reputation you’ve worked so hard to create and maintain. You need to put yourself out there to get the attention of your audience.
Yet, the more outspoken you are, the higher the chances are for you to attract negative publicity. That is a built-in risk that you have to learn to go around.
Building an online persona for yourself is essential for career growth. Showcasing your skills and achievements makes sure you establish a positive online presence.