Enough has been written about the need to create a personal brand today if you want customers, clients, and potential job possibilities to find their way to you in a fairly direct way.
In my opinion, what many of us don’t do is think through the branding process ahead of time, plan it out and make a schedule to put our plans into motion.
So here is what we can do
Understand what you are passionate about because without passion to sustain you every day, it is hard to keep up your personal branding efforts regularly. This means that you analyze your brand and research if it is something that creates a positive experience for you. I am very much in favor of the “fake it til you make it” approach, but see if your brand is in your area of expertise and if it feels right for you and reflects what you want to represent.
Create your niche and look at:
- What makes you different, what makes you interesting?
- How do people introduce you, are they associating you with your particular niche?
- Do you know how your competitors differ from you?
Develop a sound personal brand message
Have a personal brand message for the quick introduction. Remember you can test it when you are in line for a movie or at the doctor’s office. You’d be amazed what kinds of contacts you can make if you try to connect there. Write down and refine your brand message to use on social networks and when you connect to your customers.
Set up a social media plan
Where are you going to put your efforts online? As you know, the most important way to be visible today online is through your web site and blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – so do something on them – now!
Before launching your personal brand in social media and offline, develop a written(!) strategy and look at:
- Your goals, what can you commit to?
- How will you know that your strategy is successful?
- How will you measure this success?
- What are the steps you will have to take to implement your strategy?
Make a weekly schedule for your online branding strategy and decide how much time you will give to each social network and to your offline efforts as well:
- Decide how often you’re going to blog – key word is consistency.
- When are you going to post on Facebook and Twitter?
- Do you have enough time to “answer” questions in LinkedIn, How to Use Linked In For Business? Or get involved in groups?
- How often will you update your web site with articles and good tips?
- Do you show up in business organizations, meet-ups, alumni groups where you can show off your brand?
Don’t over-think these steps! Just go ahead and start – nothing is “written in stone”, you always have a chance to improve and change your tactics later on.
Angelika Blendstrup is an expert at International Business Communications: Personal Branding, Accent Reduction, Presentation/VC Pitch Training; Author & Speaker Professional Business Communications.