If you run a small business, chances are you spend a lot of time thinking about marketing and branding. You want customers to understand what your business is about and form a personal connection that will drive their brand loyalty. You've created a great logo, set up your website and social media presence, and you've even purchased a few ads. However, one element you are likely missing is personal branding - the art and practice of marketing YOURSELF just like you would your brand.
I hope these tips help and remember you can always visit our Smart Hustle Community for personal help with your business.
If you want to invite Ramon to speak at YOUR event, contact us.
Scroll down for a short video from Ramon on personal branding.
Personal Branding Basics
Customers want to do business with people, not with companies. This is what makes personal branding so important. Advertising is everywhere and consumers have grown wise; they no longer trust everything they read or see in an ad. Today, consumers rely more on the word of other people, whether it be a friend,family member or an anonymous person on a review website. By engaging in personal branding, YOU can become the person whom your customers trust and respect. You can become a "celebrity" in your niche and an expert in your industry. Like other forms of branding, when personal branding is done right, it ultimately leads to more customers, sales and success.
While I am sharing some specific tips on how to build your personal brand below, first you should understand that personal branding, on a general level, is much like branding your company. You must:
- Find your own unique voice.
- Create a signature image that is all your own.
- Develop consistency so that customers can begin to recognize your personal brand.
Personal branding is accomplished through a series of steps that include:
- Creating a vision for your personal brand.
- Determining your target audience.
- Setting up your online and offline assets.
- Exploring ways to get more exposure for your personal brand.
Personal branding is important for everyone, not just business owners. Having a personal brand can help individuals in a job search because chances are that companies you apply to will use Google to find out more about you. It is also particularly important for solopreneurs, like consultants and freelancers, who need a way to stand out from the growing number of competitors.
I recently gave a presentation on personal branding and invite you to check out my SlideShare presentation below. I'd also like to share 6 tips for one of the points I made earlier - exploring ways to get more exposure for your personal brand.
Personal Branding - Tips to Getting More Exposure
1. WRITE A BOOK
Being a published author gives you cachet, creating the impression that you are smarter than the other people in your industry that don't have a book. You're smart, and you do know your stuff, of course! But by publishing a book you have a feather in your cap to actually prove it. It isn't impossible to become a published author either. You can go through a traditional publisher or even have your book self-published.
2. PRODUCE AN EVENT
I produced one of my first big events in 2006 and we had about 300 attendees. Every year, the event got bigger and better. Soon the media was showing up, politicians were showing up, and the attendance count grew. As the producer of the event and the one on stage, my own personal brand was built, and I was able to reap the benefits. Producing an event sounds daunting, but you can start out as small as you'd like and then grow from there.
3. GET MEDIA ATTENTION
The two tips listed above take a lot of effort (but also bring great rewards). If you're looking to start smaller, start by building a strategy to get media attention. Being on TV, interviewed on the radio, or quoted in a print publication builds your credibility and gives you visibility. You can get started by reaching out to local sources or targeting online platforms in your industry, either with pitches or an invitation to contribute in some way (like a guest blog). You can also sign up as a source for HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and respond to media requests that match your expertise.
4. BE AN ONLINE PUBLISHER
Writing a book isn't the only form of content that can help you stand out as an expert in your niche; don't neglect the importance of online content. Take the time to harness the power of blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and other social platforms. Produce lots of great content that you are an expert in, and remember that 'content' includes things like video, audio, and images, not just writing. Over time, your digital profile will increase, which will give you a stronger personal brand.
5. CREATE REGULAR CONTENT
The most crucial aspect of content creation is consistency, where people can come to expect your content at regularly set intervals. Create an editorial calendar for your blog, setting up in advance when you're going to post, what you're going to post about, and how often you will post. For social media, you can create and schedule your posts in advance. Our 50 Powerful Tech Tools to Help Create a Successful Small Business includes our favorite tools for social media scheduling and management.
Don't be afraid to try newer forms of content too. My favorite is live video, which is becoming extremely popular in 2016. By creating a regular "show," you can form a personal connection and become a regular part of your followers’ and customers’ routine. For example, every week you can go on Blab or Facebook Live and interview someone or share your own knowledge on a certain topic for a few minutes. By consistently doing a "show," you'll build a fan base and build your personal brand.
6. INCREASE YOUR STRATEGIC NETWORK
I'm not talking about networking at your local business event with the same people you see all the time. While that is important, if you're serious about your personal brand then it's time to engage in some strategic networking too. Invest money to buy a ticket to a premium event, fly to another city and meet a celebrity entrepreneur, do networking in a way that is above and beyond your current strategy. Your "strategic network" includes those people who are a few steps ahead of where you want to be, so invest a little to make this higher-level networking happen.
Like any other marketing and branding that you do for your company, personal branding requires time and effort but can bring great rewards - sales, customers, connections and more. As a small business owner who has worked hard to build a personal brand over the years, I understand the power that personal branding holds for any business owner willing to put in the work. Get started creating your personal brand today, and if you have any questions, make sure to post them in the Smart Hustle Community.
Ramon shares, in 5 minutes, how to start and build your personal branding. He's speaking to a group of meeting planners in Atlantic City, NJ