In a sea of online competitors, how do you create differentiation?
As business professionals, building an online personal brand can set you apart. Not only can it help you cut through the clutter, but also allow you to make meaningful connections.
Whether you’re a healthcare provider, real estate professional or chef, developing a powerful personal brand can be advantageous. It may increase your online visibility, and distinguish personal attributes that tell your story in a consistent and identifiable manner.
So what is a personal brand, and how can it be a benefit to you, no matter if you’re under the umbrella of a national firm or a partner in a small business?
According to Peter Montoya, a marketing and branding specialist, a personal brand is,
“The powerful, clear, positive idea that comes to mind whenever other people think of you. It’s what you stand for—the values, abilities and actions that others associate with you. It’s a professional alter ego designed for the purpose of influencing how others perceive you, and turning that perception into opportunity.”
While there is no quick road to success, committing to an online strategy to boost personal brand awareness provides a worthwhile opportunity.
Your first step is to determine what makes you one of a kind. Once you recognize the unique skills and talents you offer, then work to convey that message and maximize exposure.
Below are four ideas to get you started on the road to creating a memorable online personal brand.
Steps to Build an Online Personal Brand
1. Your Website
As the use of the Internet for consumer search continues to grow, it is imperative to meet potential clients with a prominent online presence. This begins with the positioning of your website.
How to use your website to tell your personal brand story:
- Define who you are and what traits set you apart. Are you optimistic, adventurous and determined? Express that throughout your website either through color, font, images, or verbiage. You have a multitude of ways to define your personal style; don’t be afraid to explore them.
- Use your “About,” “Contact” and “Services” sections to properly set expectations. What is your communication style and what can potential clients expect throughout a sales transaction? Take the time to identify your differentiating factors and share them in a way that builds trust.
- Consumers can sense if there’s inconsistencies within your personal brand. From the tone of your latest blog post, to the copy on your sales or marketing page, be an authentic representation of who you are offline in your online world.
2. Social Media
While your website is an essential element of creating a powerful online personal brand, social media should be a pillar of your overall online strategy.
Use social media to establish a presence that’s consistent with your personal brand mission, vision and values. It should be a support system and a complementary component to all of your offline and online endeavors.
To improve awareness and increase authority, strive to:
- Share your favorite content whether it’s industry news, tools or resources.
- Engage with other industry professionals and create synergistic relationships.
- Actively comment on other people’s status updates and tweets daily.
- Be open, honest, and clear in your intentions.
- Stay consistent in your efforts, don’t post and disappear!
- Follow or connect with people that fit within your goals or strategy. Don’t randomly follow people just for the sake of building numbers.
- Give without the intention of ever receiving.
3. Email Marketing
Email marketing is a perfect complement to any online strategy. It can keep you top of mind and let subscribers consistently interact with your business and brand.
Whether it’s a drip email campaign or your monthly e-newsletter, use email to draw prospects back to your online properties.
A few tips to up the readability of your email from Stephan Hovnanian, Shovi Websites, a website design and email marketing company:
- Use shorter sentences.
- Write in active tense.
- Learn how to use triggers.
- Put a call to action at the top of email and in a few other places.
- Put three blog posts on page for more clicks on the top blog.
4. Content Marketing
An important component to building a powerful online personal brand is content marketing. While it might be a buzzword across the Internet, content marketing is a simple strategy that can add a lot of bang to your marketing bucks.
In its purest form, content marketing is connection marketing. It’s creating valuable content that connects with the right audience, in the right location, at the exact right time.
It boosts awareness, drives traffic, and connects the dots between your business and personal brand value proposition.
The key to content marketing success is a deep understanding of your audience. Know their likes, dislikes, fears, and doubts. What can you write that will meet their needs in real-time?
Remember, there is no one-size fits all solution to building an online personal brand.
Commit to showing up on a regular basis and transforming all that embodies you and your business into a living, breathing embodiment of the brand that is you.