Personal branding is not just for people who are in the public eye. Personal branding is for everyone and it is essential that you understand how important it is for you and for your business. That is especially true nowadays, with the popularity of the Internet and with the explosive amount of interactions on the various social media channels.
The need for your personal brand
There are many important reasons why your personal brand is critical to your business’s success. First of all, you need a personal brand because people are going to do searches and they are going to find you and your business (if you are lucky). You absolutely want that to happen. In fact, if it doesn’t happen in exactly that way, you will have no hope of building a relationship with them and eventually getting them to want to buy what you are selling (it is irrelevant whether it is a product, a service, or both).
The truth is that your online connections will be looking for the best in that particular category and when they come upon your information, it may take a little while and a lot of evaluation before they decide to actually contact you. That is exactly why you need to make sure that your personal brand is in tip-top shape.
The personal brand of the past
In the past, the way that you would have gone about creating a personal brand, developing that personal brand, and perfecting that personal brand was very different from it is today. In the past, you could make it a reality by simply declaring it to be the case. At the time, your target audience probably didn’t expect a great deal from you and your business so it was easy to establish your personal brand and to get other people to buy into it. You never really had to “put your money where your mouth was.” In other words, you never actually had to prove that whatever you were saying was actually true.
It is a really good idea to take a good, hard look at your personal brand and to determine if it is what it needs to be at this point. If you come to the conclusion that it is lacking (by today’s standards), you need to fix it as quickly as possible.
It is extremely important that you remember that your brand must be consistent across all of your communications (in every form). If your message is strong and consistent, other people will not have the power to say or do anything that is contrary to that. In this day and age of technology, it is normal to expect that everyone who is considering connecting with you on a professional level will check you out before you ever actually speak with each other.
You need to be sure about what a search will uncover about you and your business
Leave nothing to chance, ever. It is critical that you know exactly what the searcher will find when that person searches for you. If you aren’t sure what the person will find and you are not exactly sure about what to do to ensure that the person finds exactly what you want that person to find, you can take the simple approach.
Make sure that all of your social media profiles are as complete as possible: You probably have profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the other popular social media channels on which other people are also interacting. That is great. However, it is very important that your profiles on all of those social media channels are complete. How else do you expect other people to get to know you online. After all, that is why you have social media profiles. Your profiles are not for you. They are for other people.
Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is complete: LinkedIn is the most effective social media channel for professionals. If you aren’t taking advantage of all that LinkedIn has to offer, it is definitely time to start doing so. If a person searches for you on LinkedIn (and, trust me, they will), you want to be able to give them helpful, valuable information about you and your business.
Use graphics effectively: There are many people who are visual and your content will make a much more positive impact if you balance the words on the paper with a graphic element as well. The bottom line is that you want your content to be noticed so that the people online start to interact with you and to build a relationship with you. Graphics will make your content pop and it will get noticed really well.
Celebrate the recommendations on LinkedIn: Your online connections will generally be more than happy to give you recommendations. Basically, all they have to do is to push a button. It is easy and it looks really good for you. There may be a debate as to whether recommendations actually have any effect either way but it can’t hurt to have them.
Highlight your testimonials on your website: This is something that other people will definitely be looking for when they search for you online. It is important to remember that you are the only person in the universe who can’t express how amazing you and your business are. The only people who have the credibility to do that are other people. Think about those testimonials as jewels. If you own beautiful jewels, it is unfair to keep them locked in a safe somewhere. You should share them with the world.
Your personal brand is your calling card in so many ways. It is a representation of who you are and of what you can do for other people. Just like the other important elements of your business, it is important to visit your brand often and to make adjustments whenever you feel they are necessary. Also, bear in mind that your personal brand will make a lasting impression on other people. So, make sure that it is everything that you want and need it to be. So, be creative, be inventive, be sensitive, and be compelling. It will work very well for you and your business.
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Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
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