Nike convinced you to Just Do It. McDonald’s knows you’re Lovin’ It. And Like A Good Neighbor, State Farm is there for you. Branding is big business, but it isn’t just for megacorporations—it’s for everyone. Personal branding has become a bit of a buzzword recently, and for good reason: With the advent of social media, it’s easier than ever to build your own digital empire. Below, we’re sharing eight tips to create an authentic personal brand and position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
1. Identify Your Unique Sales Proposition
Determine what you have to offer. What’s unique about your experience or skill set? How can you educate others in your space? If you have multiple interests, drill down to the ones that will most effectively help you break further into your desired industry. You don’t have to start out as an expert. As long as you’re involved in the discussion, you’re building brand recognition on the topics that are important to your career.
2. Be Authentic
Don’t change who you are. The point of personal branding is to share your personality with your colleagues, industry, and potential clients. Faking a persona for the sake of advancing your interests doesn’t do your brand justice, and it can come off as disingenuous to others. Find your strengths, be authentic, and watch the connections roll in.
3. Define Your Audience
Whose attention do you want to attract? By determining who you’re targeting, you can decide on the best platform for your work, the best sales and engagement tactics, and the style in which you should write or design content. It’s okay if you’re audience is broad early on. As you develop your personal brand your audience should begin to focus.
4. Hone Your Pitch
Write your elevator pitch. If you can’t succinctly answer the question, “So, what do you do?” it’s time to refine your pitch. Make a list of the key points you want to hit, then write, refine, and practice your pitch until you can easily and efficiently explain your value in 30 or 40 seconds.
5. Build Value
Have something to offer. It’s great to be curious, but unless you’ve got something valuable to offer others, they’ll likely scroll right past your “I’m looking to learn more about…” post. Are you a pro in sales? Production? Coaching? Whatever your expertise might be, find a way to share it with the world. Writing expert content on Medium or LinkedIn is a great place to start.
Use social media wisely. Whether you’re most active on LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, or Facebook will largely depend on your industry—but your story should be consistent across all platforms regardless. On LinkedIn, zero in on your skillset, and be sure to quantify your accomplishments: “doubled blog readership in six months” sounds a lot better than “edited company blog.”
7. Be Productive
Don’t be too cautious. Spending months designing a logo or days crafting the perfect Facebook post won’t get you anywhere. Find your niche, establish your platform, and get to the meat and potatoes of your content, whether that be writing articles, sharing designs, or uploading videos. Don’t get caught in the weeds with the method of delivery—just get your brand out there and refine it along the way.
8. Be Consistent
Anyone can create a blog, but it takes someone dedicated to their craft to post regularly. No matter your medium, create a schedule and stick to it. Potential employers and clients will see your commitment to your work and know you’d be a disciplined addition to their team. If life get’s in the way of your schedule, have a backup in place. Social scheduling tools can allow you to post consistently even when you can’t produce new content. If you’re having trouble coming up with topics to cover, look to the industry leaders who you admire for inspiration.