In today’s highly social marketplace, the brand you develop for your business may not be the only brand that affects your business. Entrepreneurs are realizing that they are visibly connected to their business more than ever, and developing their own personal brand online can help to engage new prospects, deliver key messages and elevate the credibility of their business. After all, it’s common for prospective customers and partners to project how they feel about a business leader onto the actual business itself.
The following are a few tips to help you start to develop your personal brand, and by extension, the brand of your business:
1. Define Your Brand
The most critical decision in personal branding is figuring out what you want to be known for, and how that may relate to your business. For instance, do you want to showcase certain values, knowledge or key attributes? The more you can focus in on a niche or a unique point-of-view, the better. The goal is for you to stand-out from your peers and provide thought leadership, but it should feel authentic and offer value to your audience.
Once you have an idea of the direction in which you want to take your personal brand, make sure to register a domain name, or Web address, that is reflective of that direction. After all, that domain name will ultimately represent you online. Registering your name is always a safe bet, but a descriptive domain name can better convey your brand (and also be more memorable). You’ll also want to select a domain name extension (i.e., the part after the “dot”) that is credible and well recognized so that it supports your personal brand.
2. Choose the Right Vehicle
This will come down to a decision around whether an existing social media platform is sufficient to carry your message, or whether the flexibility and control provided by a personal website is preferable. Some will come to the conclusion that both are necessary to gain maximum awareness of their personal and business brands. If you choose to use social media on its own, you can still leverage the personal Web address you selected in step 1 by redirecting, or “pointing” it to your social media page(s), giving you a branded Web address to market your page.
3. Be Consistent in Your Delivery
One of the biggest risks to the effectiveness of personal brands is the same as with your company or product brand: consistency. Like strong corporate brands, strong personal brands carefully choose a handful of core principles and messages and stick to them like glue throughout all aspects of the brand’s execution. Consistency also applies to the ties your personal brand creates to your business brands. While you won’t want to outright market your company’s products via your personal branding platforms, you can create more subtle connections through blogs, social posts and other content related to both your personal brand and your company’s brand.