So, what exactly is Personal Branding? Simply defined, Personal Branding is the practice of marketing people and their careers as brands. It is an ongoing process of developing and maintaining a reputation and impression of an individual, group, or organization.
QUICK HISTORY LESSON
The confusion with online presence and social media stems from the fact that in its original state, social media was developed to serve as a virtual conversation to bring friends together. Before the early 2000’s, websites were for businesses. Friendster, for example was for personal use. Somewhere around 2008, businesses started realizing that they could capture customers by utilizing social media. The lines have been blurred ever since.
The first ever website was created in 1991 (It is still up today!). It is 1-pager explaining what the web is. Social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have made it much easier for the average business owner to have an online presence.
According to Enterprises Tech, over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created each day. That can certainly be information overload! For travel agents, the issue lies in the fact there is little to no control over what is posted by other representatives about the travel industry, destinations, etc. The best moderator to decide what should be posted is you. It is important to remember that every post is tied to your personal brand.
STANDING OUT AGAINST THE REST
Love them or hate them, consider the Kardashians. I know, I can feel your eyes rolling. But there’s a lot to learn from Kimmy and her tribe. Good salespeople know that it’s all about relationship building. People will buy more from you when they trust you. They will also engage with you more as they get to know you. Think about it. Do the people you admire most online post impersonal content every other month? Or…do they show you snippets of who they are?
Brandingyourself.com states that over one billion names are Googled every day. 45% of US adults that Googled a potential business partner found something in an online search that made them decide not to do business with that person. Odds are that you too have googled someone. And odds are that someone has googled you before they chose to work with you.
When you show your audience your personality…tell them snippets of your story, share goals, impart knowledge, etc., CONSISTENTLY…you will notice more people liking, actively engaging, following and sharing your content.
CREATING YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE
What does your online presence SAY about you?
It’s no longer enough to post pictures about your “lifestyle” and have people follow you.
How do you create an online presence?
We are going to focus on 4 quick things to keep in mind as you develop your online persona.
- Start thinking of yourself as a brand – When you have a personal brand, the customer’s relationship becomes with you vs. the company. Determine how you want people to perceive you - what do you want people to say about you.
- Audit your online presence – Make sure your social media bio, posts, website, etc. reflect the brand you are building. Audit everything from colors used, to images, to the tone you use when writing articles, posts, etc.
- Find ways to produce value – Create content with purpose. Share your expertise, what you learn, your opinion, and more. Some people are understandably intimidated by the thought of content creation. Remember, there’s no value in content that you’ve taken time and effort to create if no one sees it. Share your work across your social media and on your blog. You can contact other bloggers and partner to share each other’s information to further extend your reach.
- Be purposeful in what you share (create an editorial calendar) – Consistency is key. Your audience(s) can only develop trust with you if you are consistent…so be consistent. Create a plan, not only on what to say, but when to say it and how often. An editorial calendar can be a great tool to help you keep your messaging steady.
You can use Google Calendar, which is free, to develop a Content Scheduler. You can divide your content into blogs, newsletters for email marketing, infographics for webpages, SEO content, videos, call to action (CTAs), social media posts, etc – and then share them across platforms.
Just as the Kardashian brand wasn’t built in a day, neither will your personal brand. Just like creating the perfect home, there’s always more to do. Check back for upcoming articles as we delve a little deeper on the personal branding blueprint and tools that will help you with the process.