Businesses spend humongous amounts on marketing. They define who they are and what makes them attractive, they define their target group and they communicate. They do this in order to set themselves apart from other brands and to attract the right people for their products and services.
It is almost a wonder that we are not talking more about personal branding, because let’s be honest there are more people than companies on this planet and when it comes to being considered for that dream position of yours – the competition will be fierce. This is where your personal brand comes into play.
Your personal brand is everything seen and communicated by you and about you, which means that it exists whether you want it to or not. Instead of passively letting it develop you can actively take charge and make sure you control your narrative, set yourself apart from competition and attract the right people, employers, and business partners.
Answer these questions and take action to get started:
1. What are your unique selling points? How do you communicate these?
Define what your strengths are based on values, experience and achievements. What sets you apart and makes you unique? Boil this down to a few sentences and now you have your brand statement, your elevator pitch and the text to include in your about section on LinkedIn, your personal letter or resume and other platforms related to your profession.
In this process it would be a good idea to take an overall look at your LinkedIn profile – make sure that all parts are up to date, well written and accurately mirrors your brand. For a checklist on how to create a good LinkedIn profile check out our earlier post on that topic here.
2. Who is your target group?
When you know who you want to be seen by, you will know your target group. Since we are talking about your personal brand in terms of career and profession your target group is likely to be companies and people within your field. More specifically, companies and people that you want as clients, want to collaborate with, or want to work for in the future.
When you have defined your target group, take a second look at your branding statement/USP and make any small adjustments that you might find necessary.
3. Do you engage?
Now engage with that group. There are multiple ways to do this, and it does not have to be an all-consuming shore. You can simply start by following the companies in question on relevant platforms (such as LinkedIn) and the like and preferably comment on their posts. Join relevant groups and interact with people there. Follow relevant publications. Like, comment, produce original content or simply repost content written by others. The more effort you put in, the sooner you will see results and reap rewards, but choose the level of activeness that suits you best. The key is to not be passive.
4. Are you consistent and relevant?
No one will ever be stand out of a crowd by trying to please everyone. The same goes for your personal brand. Stick to the fields and topics relevant for yourself and your target group. Remember that everything you click, post, comment and communicate makes up the total sum of your brand.
5. Where are you present?
Lastly, make sure you are aware of all the platforms on which you have a presence. A quick way to do this is to google yourself and to look at the regular search results as well as the picture results. Any old accounts from random platforms popping up with your name and picture? Hit that delete button! You should also consider using filters on your Facebook account if you, like most of us, have found yourself connected an increasing number of professional acquaintances on the platform. They do not need to see your family breakfasts, your cousin’s wedding dance or your weekend away from the family. Remember – keep it relevant.
If you have answered the above questions and made the adjustments you found relevant you are on a good path to strengthen your personal brand.
Keep up the good work and good luck!
The CIP team