Do you have a personal brand? Is it something you have even considered? Sometimes your personal brand can be just as important as your company brand. Sage Business Expert and Career Coach Greg Fry explains how you can leverage your personal brand online to make meaningful connections.
People do business with people. When I go to a networking event I meet individuals who own or work in organisations. It is the appearance, the knowledge and expertise level and the physical connection that I make or don’t make with that individual that will determine whether I do business with the company or not.
So if that is how the offline works. Shouldn’t the same logic work online?
If you are going to network online you will have to demonstrate your expertise and stand out. You need to build a strong Personal Brand.
What is a personal brand? It is how you look, communicate and engage online. Heck, in a nutshell it is developing and showcasing your personality online.
So what should you do before unleashing “Brand You” to the world? Here are 10 quick tips.
1. Identify where your existing and potential customers are hanging out online. If your customers are on LinkedIn be there. If they are not – don’t.
2. Listen – Before you start blasting the digital world with your latest status update or blog post take a moment to listen. How are other people communicating? What is the appropriate tone to use? What conversations are generating the most engagement? Take a moment to look at other industry professionals and identify who is doing well communicating their message. These are the individuals you want to benchmark against.
3. Be conversational – When building a “valuable” personal brand that will generate awareness and fill your sales funnel.
4. Don’t make statements have conversations. Invite people to comment and participate in your conversations. For example if I am sharing an article that I have written on a LinkedIn Group I will always ask others to share their thoughts e.g. What do you think? What are your opinions on this? Are there any other points you would add? Do you agree or disagree?
5. Create and share valuable content – Simple rule give your reader content that they want and will find valuable rather than try to force them to listen to what you want to say. Be generous and informative with your content.
It sounds simple, but very often I find business professionals try to avoid giving too much of value away online. They fear by sharing valuable tips and advice will mean possible customers may no longer need their services. This is a barmy fear to have. Think about it if I share valuable and useful content with my prospective customer they will see:
- I know what I am talking about and
- That I am an open, kind and genuine individual.
These two traits will encourage you to do business with me.
And as regards giving too much away ask yourself this – If someone shows you how to re tile your bathroom you have a choice do it yourself or hire an expert. The chances are you will not have the time, patience or confidence to do it yourself. The chances are that you will go the expert you know can do the job well and that is likely to be the person that showed you how to do it in the first place.
5. On and offline – Stay in touch on a regular basis. - Remember real business relationships need to be developed and meeting your contacts on a regular basis is a vital component. I meet five LinkedIn connections off line for a coffee every week.
6. Know your message and be clear – This is the key when writing your personal profile online and communicating your message. You must clearly convey four things: Who you are. What you do. What “value” you can offer.
7. Make it effortless for prospective clients to engage with you – Make sure you include your contact details on your Social Media profiles and invite people to contact you. Tip – I have my contact details in the summary section of my LinkedIn profile, so even people that are not connected to me can contact me
8. Respond to anyone talking to you – If someone talks to you online make sure you respond to them. Not doing so is like ignoring an email that everybody can see. Tip – I check my social media accounts first thing every morning and respond to anyone who has engaged with me in the past 12-24 hours. I do this before I check my email.
9. Encourage call to action. – Give people a real reason to contact you and provide “calls to action” such as “Call now”, “Contact me for a FREE E-Book on……”, “Call now for a FREE web Audit”, “Book your place now” etc.
10. Be Yourself – It is the true you that people will gravitate towards. Behave the same way online as you would in the office or at a networking event. Smile, have fun and portray your true business self.
Finally, when you start to build a presence online keep the foot on the accelerator and don’t stop. Update your status frequently and contribute to online discussions often. People are quick to notice you online, but even quicker to forget you if your activity grinds to a halt. Happy Social Networking.
This just the tip of a “Personal Brand Iceberg” and I hope to follow up this article with more tips and tricks on how you can build and enhance your personal brand soon. Feel free to leave a comment below with any suggestions on what topics I should cover in next blog post or leave a comment on this one.
Thanks for reading.