For an executive, building a personal brand can sound like another unnecessary task on an already too-long to do list. But, if done right, the process of building a personal brand can be extremely beneficial and even fulfilling.
People want to do business with other people, not companies. Companies whose leaders have strong personal brands benefit by being able to hire top talent, generate new business opportunities, and even sell their services at higher rates. Personal branding isn’t an “extra task,” it’s just good business. However, so many people get overwhelmed by the prospect of building a personal brand that they never even begin. We’re going to break down personal brand-building to its essential elements so that you can identify your voice and have a positive experience establishing your executive presence.
Two things that are the most important for building a strong personal brand are:
So before you go online and start typing, you want to invest some time in exploring who you are, what you stand for, and what kind of message you want to send.
The key here is to ask the right questions of yourself so that you know exactly who you are and how you can best present your core values. This self-discovery can actually be quite fun! And you don’t have to do it on your own either. In fact, you should gather some suggestions and opinions from your trusted colleagues, peers, friends. Spend 20 minutes every week on one of these questions and brainstorming with a friend or significant other what your potential answer could be. In no time, you will have your strategic branding path ready! This is good networking practice too. You will quickly realize how appreciative people will be that you cared about their opinion and what they had to share.
Now on to the questions:
- What are you known for? (your professional reputation)
- What are you an expert in? (your specific field of expertise)
- What is your personal leadership philosophy? (your guiding principles)
- What drives you to do great things? (your motivation)
- What can you do that other C-level executives might not be able to? (your differentiating factor)
- What is your greatest professional achievement? (your proudest moment)
After going through this exercise, you will be able to articulate what makes you YOU, which will allow you to always stay authentic, define your target audience and most importantly, what message to communicate over time. Write your answers to these questions down and when you’re struggling with creating content or building the next step in your career path, look back to your answers for help and guidance.
Once you are done with planning, you want to go online and start creating content and working on your visibility. The best place for you to start is with your LinkedIn profile. If you have accounts on other social media that you are using for business (like Twitter) make sure that you are staying consistent across all of them. To ensure that your branding efforts are visible, make sure you:
- Have 500+ connections on LinkedIn to make it easier for the algorithm to find your profile and recognize it as “active”
- Are a part of industry-related organizations. Other members will be able to see your content even if you are not directly connected with them, expanding your reach
- Use relevant hashtags in your posts to optimize your profile for keywords
Get into the habit of posting every week. Look back at your answers to the questions above if you get lost or lose inspiration. Be authentic and stay true to your field of expertise. You will be surprised how over time things will resonate with people and how satisfying it will be to get feedback from your network and clients.
Learn more of Andjela’s expert tips by watching her free webinar on personal branding