A personal brand is a funny creature, part reality and part manufactured. It’s purpose is to create an image, to which one then has to live up to.
We’ve come a long way in the few years that this has started to become part of popular culture, we’ve seen celebrities come and go and they are no longer just the actors and actresses. A great example of the degree of the change that has occurred is in the rise of the people who are famous simply for being famous – who have no discernible talent, skill or knowledge but who have a knack (perhaps that’s a skill after all!) for being in the right place at the right time and being seen with, and around the right people.
But personal branding is not always a bad thing and it’s something that I work with almost every day, with individuals and with organisations. My version of personal branding lies in the ability to become the ‘expert’ in a particular area of life and I work with the social networks to achieve this.
These are my top five tips to build an excellent personal brand
- Be visible …. that is be visible in the places that people will see you, in my particular area of interest this has to be on the social networks. Remember that old proverb about the tree falling in the forest ….. If people don’t know you are there, how can they engage with you?
- Be interesting …. this is the bit that means you have to walk the walk not just talk the talk – this is no time for being famous simply for being famous, you have to add value to the people that want to get to know you. So help them, use your experience and your skill to make a difference in the world
- Be you …. let’s face it, you can only ever be you so let your personality (quirky and endearing habits too) shine through. People will only ever engage with a person and the person they see has to be authentic and genuine as others will see through your mask in a very short space of time. And anyway, why try to be someone else, you’re pretty remarkable aren’t you?
- Respond …. we all have too many things to do and too little time to them in, but if you are going to embark on this project then you need to be open to receiving comments, good and bad … in fact you also need to respond. Too often organisations tell me that they don’t want people commenting on what they are writing because it might be negative – my response is ‘Great’ because it’s an opportunity to shine. Give your audience a voice and they will respond, engage with them and they’ll love you for it.
- Give back … I can’t tell you just how important this is. Remember in point 2 I suggested you be interesting, well this is the fun bit of that. This is where your skill and experience helps other people become better at what they do too. Share your knowledge and people will seek you out; keep it back and people will slowly drift away. Encourage your audience to be better than you are, revel in their success and along the way, you’ll learn more too.