Online Personal Branding
Personal branding online is very important whether you run an online or offline business. A well-managed personal brand has many advantages and is a true asset for life.
Unfortunately, not many people seem to be aware of personal branding and its importance. In this post, I will explain to you what online personal branding is and how you can start working on your brand.
What is online personal branding?
Personal Branding involves deliberately taking your talents, values, personality and unique characteristics and packaging them into a solid identity that differentiates you from the multitude of anonymous faces and competitors in your space.
Your personal brand is the powerful and clear ‘mental picture’ that comes to the minds of people whenever they think or hear of you. In other words, it’s about people’s perception of you.
Your brand is your reputation and to be of any use to you it should be positive and it should represent what you stand for – the values, abilities and actions that others associate with you.
Do you need an online personal brand?
You may be wondering if you need an online brand. If you have a business built around your ideas, skills, talents, passions and leadership then you can benefit from an online personal brand.
The brand will push your business forward in many areas.
How do you build your online personal brand?
As stated above, building a favourable and powerful personal brand is a deliberate effort. It takes an extended time of consistent action. You have to start by asking yourself what you want your brand to be associated i.e. what you want to be known for.
To build a strong online personal brand you have to do the following.
- Clearly articulate what you want to be known for i.e. what you want your online brand to be about
Without an objective, you cannot get results. The first thing you need to do is to perform a self-analysis and see what you are good at and what you want to be known for. Note your special skills and talents that can give you an edge in the market.
Defining your niche is crucial because it informs all your activities.
- Ensure you are visible
For people to form an opinion of you they need to know that you exist. This means doing aggressive online promotion through various channels.
You cannot afford to be ‘humble’ online if you want to be known. However, this does not mean that you have to be arrogant either. You have to strike a balance.
So, what are the elements of online personal promotion to increase your visibility?
You have to participate actively on all online channels where your target audience is likely to be.
Let’s suppose you are a life coach who wants to build her online brand.
In your quest to be visible online you may regularly post motivational posts on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc).
You can also take photos of you during a coaching session and share them on social media.
Another way to reach out could be to create podcasts, videos for YouTube, infographics etc.
You can also create your own website where you deliver your messages from. This will be the main platform where all your marketing messages spring from.
Do not miss an opportunity to show what you know and its importance in the lives of people.
For example, you may have to write or comment on a national event that has a bearing on what you do.
For example this is a picture showing me at a bitcoin presentantion.
The most critical point to remember is that visibility is more important than talent. You may be the best in your field but if you are not visible then a more visible competitor will get more business than you.
- Express what makes you unique
You will have competition in the niche you are going to choose. For your brand to stand out from the noise you need to clearly articulate what makes you unique to your audience.
Your uniqueness is what makes you the go-to person in your space. It’s also your value proposition to your audience. By showing what makes you unique you give your audience a reason to do business with you.
- Be credible
Without credibility, you will not have any business. Do not try to be something you are not. Make sure your story is consistent across all channels. Being credible also involves taking good care of your current clients so that they can vouch for you.
Your message should be genuine and believable. Credibility is a critical aspect of your brand and you should guard it jealously.
- Create an emotional connection with your audience
People are affected a lot by emotions and if you can make a connection with them on that level then you will build a strong brand.
Make sure your message resonates with your audience’s needs, desires, values and aspirations. For example, do not talk AT them, rather talk WITH them in your messages.
- Maintain your brand
You have to continually maintain your brand. Working on your online brand is never complete. At times you may have to do damage control if you get bad press or make a mistake.
- Be patient and have consistency
Building a brand takes time. You need to be patient and keep sending out a consistent message. If you go silent online then people will quickly forget you.
Keep making noise about what it is you know and do.
Benefits of a strong online personal brand
- Grants you permission to be yourself
Since your brand is built on your strengths it allows you to be unique and be yourself. You get to be identified by the things that are dear to you.
- Gain confidenceYou can have the confidence to be you since your brand is built on you. Your brand will create a space for you in the marketplace.
- Build credibility
You can build your credibility around your brand. This credibility will lead to more business.
- Showcase your speciality
When you build your brand, you become known for your speciality and this can open up partnership opportunities with people who are involved in your space.
- Leave your mark
You can get to make a difference in the world when you build your brand.
- Connect with your target audience
Through defining yourself, your values, and your strengths you connect with the people who identify with you. This can create a very loyal following for you.
- Distinguish yourself from the competition
Your brand is about your uniqueness and this helps set you apart from your competition.
- Focus your energy
When you define your brand you get to focus your energies on what you are good at. This will give you direction and stability leading to more progress.
- Expand your business territory
When you have a good online brand people will spread the word about you e.g. through shares. You can get to connect with people from the other side of the world. You will create beneficial links for yourself.
Things that can destroy your online Personal Brand
- Take it for granted
If you take your brand for granted then it will deteriorate.
- Neglect consistency
If your online presence is haphazard then your brand will not go far.
- Exhibit bad behaviour
If you behave in a way that goes against what you purport to believe in then you will lose credibility and your audience will feel ‘cheated’. It will be difficult to get that trust back.
This bad behaviour includes lying and being inauthentic. It may also include posting images, videos and posts that your audience will hold in bad taste.
- Be unresponsive to your audience
Your audience will connect with you online through comments, reviews and questions. The worst thing you can do is not to respond to that feedback. You will appear aloof and people will draw away from you.
- Have an unprofessional online image
An unprofessional image will push people away from you. You need to have an image that shows you as someone organised and progressive.
- Lose focus
If you lose focus and keep changing what you are associated with then you will kill your brand. You have to be consistent
An online brand will serve you well for life but it takes work. The sooner you start working on your brand the better.
You may also need to check out the video below that explain this in depth
Some example of people with strong online brands include Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Neil Patel e.t.c. These online brands are literally worth millions.