This post is by guest author, Niraj Ranjan. This article has been edited and published with the author’s permission.
What is your personal brand? Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”
A personal brand is something that all of us who has at least one social media account have to worry about. Your digital and social footprint is more important than you would imagine.
A company that wants to hire you will certainly Google you before taking a final call; a research team will check out your online profile prior to granting you a fellowship; even your potential date will say yes to you only after running a quick search on you. So you see, it’s very important!
Mastering the art of personal branding can also help you become an influencer – quite a superpower in the digital age.
Authenticity, be it in personal or professional life, is well-received and well appreciated by the people around you. A fake version of you or your brand can stand only for a while and is never the best strategy. Fake also involves being overly self-promotional. As a rule, for any brand, it is advisable to follow 1:5 policy when you produce content or market, . It means offer 5 valuable points to the reader; in return, earn the right to talk about you once.
In addition, being fake involves a lot of non-required work. At last, you will end up looking inconsistent and untrustworthy. For example, if you are against the use of tech gadgets, don’t act otherwise so as to please people around you or your audience.
The art of communication is the language of leadership – James Humes
It is important to have enough social intelligence of how to present yourself in a given situation. Here are some key tips:
- Don’t address your senior executives as ‘guys’.
- Be witty, light, and humorous while talking to a younger audience, but never sound an egoistic or arrogant.
- Pay attention to what you say when you are trying to communicate your ideas and opinions. Being clear and crisp is the key to avoid misunderstanding.
- Make sure that during one-to-one conversations your body language is in sync with your words. If you say that you are happy, your behavior has to reflect that.
- Ensure to respond as promptly as possible. For instance, use tools like email reminders to ensure that you don’t forget to reply back to an email.
Social media marketing is cost effective as well as smart medium to build your personal brand. However, it is important to choose and focus on the social media platforms that are relevant to you and your end goal.
A few examples:
- If you want to attract recruiters and employers, a professional network such as LinkedIn is where you have to make a lot of noise.
- If you are looking to build a brand amongst your friends and social circle, Instagram and Facebook would be your best bet.
- If you are critic and want to spread your reach, again Facebook and Twitter can come to your aid.
And so on…
It is important to identify your audience and figure out where they hangout the most- you can exercise this out by doing a little research online.
For instance, 67% of the internet users are on Facebook and majority of them are women; so if you want to target women online, you should start with Facebook
If I visit your Facebook page and see that your last update was months’ ago, I definitely would not be impressed enough to follow you. Being present and being up to date is crucial.
Everyone now has an access to 3G and 4G networks. News and information travels like a wildfire and so do feedbacks and opinions. If you want to build a personal brand, you need to stay with the flow or even better stay ahead of the flow.
For example, if the purpose of your personal branding is to establish yourself as a thought leader, your audience expects you to have opinions and things to say about latest events happening in your industry. In case a company that belongs to your industry is going bankrupt, they expect some reaction/response from you, as a thought leader.
The first thing you need to do before making any attempt at personal branding is to find your niche. What is so unique about you? Something, which only you can offer?
For example, if you are running a blog, do not overwhelm your audience with a wide range of topics and things to say. This sort of brand confusion will lead to a very weakly established brand.
Being all over the place, having multiple interests, and trying to have your foot in every door can signal a lack of expertise and credibility in any one area.
Here are some tips:
- Have a central theme to everything you say. For example, if you are all about gender equality, make it the central theme of every story and every message.
- Don’t make your message/key point a riddle. The gist of your message has to be clear, crisp, and apparently obvious.
- Again presentation matters a lot. Tailor your message to match your audience.
Back in good old days, your resume was enough to demonstrate your competence; however, it’s not the case anymore. Companies and teams want you only if you show more than a list of accomplishments on one page. They need to see who you are and what your attitude is towards the life. This is what building your personal brand is all about. Just like you market a service/product to the world, you market your ability and competence through personal branding.