7 Tips for Building your Personal Brand
The word influencer tends to divide people. Just by using the word in the title of this piece, I can guarantee there will be a few angry readers shaking their heads – some will have refused to even read this far! Whether you love them or hate them, there is no denying that in the world of marketing, you cannot ignore the presence of the ‘influencer’ or indeed, ‘personal brand’.
Influencers are nothing new. These days we are all aware of those people famous for their social media presence. The Kardashians, ex-Love Islanders, YouTubers and TikTokkers. In the 90s we called them ‘it girls’, seemingly famous for being famous. Before this, they were socialites. Prominent for who they are, rather than anything they have done.
In any case, their personal brand is enough to keep us coming back for more. The only thing that has really changed over the years is the media they use to build that brand.
What’s That Got To Do With You?
Well, we’d say – quite a bit. In the professional services industry, people are investing in people. Who you are is far more important than what you do. Whether buying a service, building a project team, or recruiting, we want people we trust and feel we can work with.
Qualifications and experience matter of course, but your competitors are likely to be similar in that regard. Your personal brand is where you stand out from the crowd.
Not As Easy As It Looks
Curating a personal brand is not as simple as it seems. Despite what many think, influencers don’t just post a few pictures, or film a quick video and watch the dollars (or pounds) roll in.
As with any type of marketing, you need to have a strategy in place. This must be built for your target audience and what they want. Note this is often very different from what you are selling. Those with the strongest personal brands understand how to marry the two.
Here we share some of our top tips for building your personal brand. Follow these steps and you’ll be on the way to positioning yourself as a leader in your field.
7 Tips for Personal Branding
1. Establish Your Niche
Rule number one for influencers. What is it you do best? On what topic are you a fountain of knowledge?
It can often be tempting to try to be all things to all men. We see it so often with many of the firms we work with. List upon list of things they are good at, things they can do. Every possible service and skill. The worry is if you don’t say you can do it, clients might go elsewhere.
Narrow things down. Position yourself as the best of the best in your strongest area. The goal is for anyone approaching that issue to turn to your first.
If you can establish yourself as a voice of authority on one matter, you’ll often find clients turn to you when they have other problems too. From there you can decide if you want to take them on or refer them to someone who knows best.
2. Get Out in the Real World
Building an online presence is important. But nothing beats face-to-face interactions with real people. Get out and about. Meet your peers and potential clients wherever possible.
Our events calendar can help you find construction and legal events taking place. Remember, the key is to establish those events that your clients are at – not those that are full of your competitors.
Put yourself forward for speaking opportunities. You’d be surprised at how often they come up if you just let people know you are open to getting involved.
3. Use the Right Tools
Just like needing to establish where our clients are going to be in the real world, establish where they are going to be online. There is no point dedicating hours to Instagram or TikTok only to find that your potential clients prefer podcasts or online blogs.
Identify where your clients get their information from and what works best for your audience. Remember to regularly check what works best. From social media and websites to emails and podcasts, keep on track of what resonates best with your audience. Then do more of it.
4. Do What Interests You
There is no point in trying to establish yourself in a niche you don’t care about. It is important to be authentic (more on that in the next point). Insincerity can be spotted a mile away. Think of David Cameron, and his love for Villa – or was that West Ham?!
Similarly, just because a platform is popular, doesn’t mean you need to be on it. Even online, genuine human interaction can’t be beaten. So, if you hate the thought of even opening the LinkedIn app, let alone engaging on there regularly, it’s better to leave it alone and try something else.
5. Be A Real Person
Many people are afraid of showing their true personality in business environments. There can be pressure to appear ‘professional’ at all times. But remember what we said earlier: People do business with people. Not corporate robots. Trust can only be built when we believe the person we are dealing with is authentic.
It is always wise to steer clear of some topics. If you have them, keep your more controversial opinions to yourself. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have an opinion.
This rule applies to the digital world even more so. Avoid corporate language. Speak like a human being and (sometimes) say what you really mean.
Look for opportunities to expand your reach to new markets and client bases. That might mean a guest speaker spot at a conference or webinar. Joining a podcast or writing an article for a journal or industry blog.
Don’t forget to engage online with accounts that are also doing good things. Too much time is spent pumping content into the digital world with not enough attention given to connecting with real people.
If you can do favours for people in the digital world, that goodwill often extends back into the real world. And the best benefit of contributing to someone else’s content schedule? They’ll do most of the hard work, and you can reap the rewards.
Finally, the key to any marketing and business development activity: You’ve got to keep it up.
Whether you are busy or quiet, make time for developing your personal brand. Or get someone to help you.
That’s where a strategy and marketing plan can help you. Identify early on what type of content you need to be producing and how often. Then stick to the plan.
Get started building your personal brand
All this might be starting to sound like a lot of work on top of the day job. But those industry professionals we see excelling didn’t get there by doing the day job alone.
Leave time in your diary to work on this stuff. Invest in yourself. In the long run, your future self will thank you for it. Of course, if you’re struggling to know where to start or don’t have enough hours in the day, you can always bring someone in to help you.
A consultant (like Limeslade) can support you in designing and implementing a strategy for developing your personal brand. Whether that’s identifying speaking opportunities, managing websites, social media or YouTube channels. We can help you develop your profile, from someone who is good at their job, to being a go-to thought leader in your field.
But what if I work in a large organisation?
Building a personal brand is not just important for those of you in businesses built around one individual. In fact, we’d argue that it is even more important for you to distance yourself from the crowd in a big organisation than in a small one.
In this position, it might be tempting to leave the work of building your brand to your internal marketing team. I’ve no doubt they’ve got the skills and knowledge to do a fantastic job. However, they’ve got the whole team to look after.
Instead by outsourcing to a dedicated personal resource, a consultant can take the pressure off. Limeslade can work with internal teams to identify what’s important internally as well as individually. And ultimately, if you become a leader in your field, the company will benefit just as much as you do.