The Internet, social media and many other digital platforms have ushered in a new era of marketing and branding. You now have more opportunities to brand yourself and leave a lasting first impression without spending a fortune. If you are doing great promoting your company thanks to cost-efficient tools, shouldn't you find time to build your personal brand as well?
Marketing gurus all have their respective tricks or tools of the trade. For this article, however, we will focus on three important aspects of personal branding to help you become a memorable and more relatable brand.
1. Upload a professional profile photo
Images are powerful. By putting a face to your personal brand, you are not only affirming your existence but are also establishing trust between you and your target audience. They have to know that you are a real person offering real products or services. After all, there are far too many online scammers and frauds. A professional profile picture is definitely an assurance of authenticity.
Simple as this may sound, a professional profile picture is worth the investment and should be part of your personal branding strategy. Whether you're using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn or posting blog articles on your website, it is important to make a visual impression to your prospects. How you present yourself on these digital platforms can make a lot of difference.
Moreover, branding is about creating an emotional connection. Your profile picture must be set up in a way that connects with prospective clients. According to a study conducted by Photofeeler, successful visual branding involves dress “squinching” in the photos in addition to a professional smile that shows your teeth partially.
What is squinching? This is a word used to describe the state between squinting and opening your eyes wide. You have to sport a neutral but friendly expression. It's okay to be creative with your attire but avoid going overboard. Focus on your most professional self and in displaying a trustworthy appearance in your profile photo. Minimise the distractions such as background, colours and lighting.
2. Don't wait to be found, make people find you
There is no point to any brand if no one can find it. So if you want to build your personal brand, don't wait for kingdom come. Take the initiative and find ways to connect with and be more searchable to your target clients or customers.
One cost-efficient method? A suggestion would be to launch profiles or pages for every social media platform you are using or intend to use. A Nielsen research discovered that just 15 per cent of individuals actually trust what a brand says. Meanwhile, 90 per cent trust word-of-mouth more particularly if the information is shared by family, friends or colleagues. Always understand the value of relevance and human sentiments. Do not be too business-like all the time because you're dealing with real people with real earthly concerns.
Use a single account to monitor your personal and professional social media profiles, but set a proper “social media ratio” beforehand. For instance, how much of your posts should be personal or business-oriented? Set a reasonable ratio. Should you allocate an equal number of personal and company posts or focus more on the business side of things?
There are nuts and bolts to consider when building a personal brand. Rule of thumb: always use your real name online (unless you have a better reason not to). After you create Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter profiles, don't just stop there. How about getting your name out there and writing articles on your website or submit a guest blog? Whatever marketing you do outside of social media, make sure you cross-link your social profiles and articles. This also increases your chances of appearing on the first page of search engine results.
3. Hand out well-designed business cards
But there is more to personal branding than the Internet and social media tools. Find time to network with other individuals or businesses when the opportunity presents itself. For instance, when you happen to have business meetings or conferences, keep business cards handy. They can help you effectively brand yourself and spread the word about your business.
Below is a list of attributes you should consider for your business cards:
(1) Quality texture (e.g. matte, glossy, semi-glossy) (2) Clean text that is easy to read (3) Lightweight (4) Call to action (include website, social media profile or business page links)
Demonstrate your sincerity when handing over your business cards or when you receive them from others. Engage in small talks and get to know the people you've exchanged business cards with. For instance, ask them a little background about their or their company's beginnings. You can also share a story or two about yourself or any personal or non-personal information that creates some kind of rapport.
Your Own Personal Branding Journey
Personal branding is all about fully investing in yourself and the people and businesses you want to work with. Throughout your online and real-world business endeavours, don't be afraid to innovate. Take an interest in other people so you can have a better understanding of how to engage them. Let your connections and prospects know what you can offer them.
Keep an innovative and lively online presence. Don't leave your website and social media accounts idle. Keep tabs on your competitors in a healthy way, work to get the right message across to your audience and develop your own competitive edge as an online business as well.
It's not rocket science and you will definitely succeed in your personal branding journey.