Building your personal or business brand is an essential component of building a successful career or business. A solid brand helps others to get a better understanding of who you are, what you stand for, and what you have to offer. It isn’t just about getting more clients. It’s about building and positioning yourself in order to attract the right clients—people that are aligned with your values, visions, and ideals.
In the latter part of 2013, I made a decision to start building my personal brand. I've always been passionate about uplifting others and encouraging them to pursue their dreams. This inspired me to start sharing inspirational quotes on social media and speaking at events. One quote inspired another and one successful event lead to another.
After trust is built and relationships are formed, opportunities often follow. - King Buari
Today I'm not only fulfilled by doing what I love, but my business has directly and indirectly benefited several thousands of dollars from my personal brand, and the numbers keep climbing. Many business deals are now being close via direct messages (DM’s) than ever before. Building your brand especially in this digiital era is one of the smartest decisions any professional, entrepreneur, or business will ever make.
Building your brand especially in this social media era is one of the smartest decisions any professional, entrepreneur, or business will ever make.
Below I've listed the 10 things I did which helped me to position and build my brand. If you've been thinking about building your brand this is a great place to start:
1. Audit Yourself
The first and most important thing to do before building your brand is to audit yourself. Get a pen and paper, be honest with yourself, and answer the following questions:
Are you happy? Are you doing something you enjoy? What’s changes do you need to make in your life? What would you like to remain the same? How are you helping others? What kind of legacy do you want to leave?
Of course, these aren’t the only questions. Feel free to add your own.
2. Specialise In A Field
Many people are jacks of all trades and masters of nothing. This was one of the mistakes I made earlier on, and something you should try avoiding. Focus your time and attention on your core strengths and be vocal about it! What makes you stand out?
Maybe you are passionate about fashion and do a great job blogging about it. Or maybe you’d rather make the actual clothes or style others. Zero in on the unique skills you possess. The fewer things you focus on, the more impact your brand would have on others.
3. Build Your Communication Skills
Whether you’re a shy person or have an outgoing personality, effective communication is important in order to build your brand. When I began speaking I joined Toastmaster International; a non-profit organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills. I strongly recommend taking speaking and writing courses. There is no trick to this. The more your practice, the better you’ll get.
Before networking events, I prepare a short pitch about my personal and professional brand. It’s really helpful to quickly explain what you do, why it is important to you, and your extracurricular interests. Once memorized you can use your pitch at other conferences and events.
4. Blog About Your Expertise
Building a website and blogging about your expertise is a great way to establish your online brand. Several people make the mistake of sharing content solely based on topics that might generate website traffic. This is so wrong. Just be yourself, when you speak your truth your message would resonate with others. Blog about things you are knowledgeable about. Make your name and brand synonymous to a particular field. With a gorgeous website, good content and the right mixture of SEO terms, your content would begin to drive traffic to your website.
As an alternative to blogging you could send short newsletters to your mailing list. Or caption your social media post with a few short paragraphs. This is a strategy I often use. Something I’ve personally termed “micro blogging.” lol.
5. Stay Active On Social Media
Social media is clearly one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to get the word out about your brand. Your personal or business brand can massively benefit from being actively engaged on social media. One of the ways I have personally organised my social media content which has enabled me to stay consistent is by organising my content over the weekend, so I never run out of content during the week.
Being active on social media doesn’t only include regularly posting content. You need to engage with other people and brands. When you come across something you don’t really understand, ask a question. If you see something you admire, compliment it. If you come across something that inspires you, like and comment it. Randomly inbox your active followers and let them know how much you appreciate them. Don’t just observe others, socialise! Thats the whole point of social media.
6. Partner With influencers
Brand influencers are personal and business brands that have built credibility and respect with their audience over a period of time. Such influencers mostly have quite a good number of active followers and can help give your brand the endorsement and exposure it needs. Partnering with brand influencers is by far the most effective way of establishing your social media presence. This is the strategy I personally used to build my Instagram following, and I’ve found it to be much more effective than Sponsored Ads.
7. Build Your Network
Connect with people online and offline that align with your brand values. Regularly network, build and nurture relations. You can find networking events by searching Eventbrite.com, Meetup.com, etc. You can also search hashtags on social media and send a direct message to start a conversation. This approach would often land you some great leads once it is well thought through and executed.
8. Learn To Say No
Often times when you brand begins to take off, people will start asking you for favours to help promote their products, services, events, etc. No matter what it is, if it does not align to your brand values, learn to say NO. Don’t sell out, stay loyal to your audience.
9. Lend a Helping Hand
Helping others is the most powerful way to show them that you care. Devote some of your spare time to inspiring others or teaching them something beneficial. Don’t be always about the money, be about the people. Reach out to someone either in person or online to find out how can add value to their life. Support a worthy cause, provide professional advise and lend a helping hand— support others anyway you can.
10. Hire An Expert
Sometimes effectively applying the following steps by yourself can get a bit overwhelming. In such instances hiring the services of an expert is a much better alternative. Hiring an expert or a branding and digital marketing firm would not only save you time in the short term but money in the long term. When branding is done right the benefits are endless. You’ll discover that people would develop a deeper sense of trust for you, and are more likely to do business with you. It’s one thing to tell people your values and it’s another thing to effectively express it.
It's one thing to tell people your values and it's another thing to effectively express it. - King Buari