how to grow your personal brand

5 Things You Can Do Today To Build an Epic Personal Brand

By Stacey Murray

Once upon a time, personal branding was reserved as one of the many‘first world problems’ of celebrities, public figures, the rich and the famous… well, at least it used to be a consideration exclusively for those in the public eye. The concept of personal branding is hardly a new one, however in this age of social and online media, virtually anyone with an internet connection can access and utilize countless platforms to be seen, heard and searched.

So how in the heck do you even begin to distinguish and position yourself favourably in a very noisy and crowded online sea of people and info?  Simply by creating and leveraging your powerful personal brand, you savvy thing!

Personal branding is your reputation; how others perceive you. It is how you project your message and your image which assists others to form an impression of you. It is what you’re associated with and what you are known for. It also helps to manage misinformation. In its simplest form, it involves presenting yourself the way you would with your own company brand.

All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You. – Tom Peters in Fast Company

Crafting your personal brand is emerging as a digital age necessity. Going on a date? A job interview maybe? Networking or going to a business meeting?
You’ll probably be Googled and checked out on any number of social media sites, And don’t go pretending like you haven’t done your share of online stalking of other people too! Let’s honest - what have you found about others online that has shaped your impression of them? 

In a previous life I was a recruiter. Long, long gone were the days a firm handshake and taking someone at their word is enough to get a job. The checks I undertook were ex-tens-ive. No joke, they were something you’d expect of Homeland Security. This very much included Google searching and social media checks. It was my job to interrogate assess a candidate’s fit to the position and the company.

What could I possibly find that could potentially impact a candidate’s consideration for a job? Try mug shots and news reports, semi + fully nude photographs, racist / sexist / homophobic content, evidence of wild weekends including drink skolling / drug taking / unconscious photos. I’ve even caught out lies and inconsistencies on CVs and info told to me in interviews! You name it. I’ve seen it. And if I can find it, so can everyone else. Of course if that is the image you are trying to project – though it physically pains me to say: go for it! But for the rest of you trying to establish some sort of credibility, authority, professional and authentic image, it’s time to get serious about creating an epic personal brand.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Oprah Winfrey? Kim Kardashian-West? Sir Richard Branson? Martha Stewart? Coco Chanel? Warren Buffett? Ellen Degeneres? Walt Disney? Of course you have! What comes to mind when you hear each of their names? Those are the attributes that help comprise their personal brand.

Many of today’s most identifiable, enduring, affluent brands are the personal hallmarks of identities and entrepreneurs who have built their reputation and wealth with their great hair faces, personality and expertise at the forefront of their brand. Love them or hate them, they have emerged as popular or respected authorities and experts, influencers, thought leaders and innovators in their fields.

Even individuals need to develop a brand for themselves …. Whatever your area of expertise, you can take steps to make people think of YOU when they think of your field – Accelepoint Webzine

Good news: you don’t need a herd of PR + branding experts to manage ‘your brand’ (though these tips are designed to help you look like you do!). You’re probably in some way already doing it without realizing it.

Building a brand need not be headache inducing or terrifying exercise! Let’s begin with 5 steps you can start from today (with bonus actions you can tackle further down the track). Remember, above all else, be creative, be real, be consistent, be you.

1.      Get To Know Yourself

NOW: Create a mission statement outlining who your audience is and what you want to achieve. What do you want to be known for? What do you believe in? What are your strengths (and weaknesses)? What makes you different, distinguishable from other people? Write this down. Use your natural tone and your voice as you would in person. You don’t want to sound like two different people online and in real life!

2.      Digital Audit

NOW: Update your online/social media profiles | Clean up unfavourable posts/content | Ensure your email address is professional.

LATER: Write a bio | Consistent branding across all platforms | Professional photography | Own domain name | Create a portfolio | Testimonials.

3.      Create Value

NOW: Begin regularly posting, commenting and sharing valuable content | Join relevant communities or groups | Participate in online forums + chats.

LATER: Blog | Write articles | Create communities | Offer your knowledge freely | Collaborate.

4.      Get Personal

NOW: Be on the lookout for potential networking opportunities + speaking engagements (and seize those that are a good fit!),

LATER: Teach classes / workshops | Business cards | Volunteer your skills and expertise to a worthy cause or group | Project work | Become a mentor.

5.      Learn, learn, learn!

NOW: Monitor for feedback | Handle criticism and rejection graciously | Keep up to date with what’s going on in your profession/industry.

LATER: Plan | Be a student of your craft/profession and keep learning + developing | Engage a mentor, influencer, expert in your field.

Building an authentic personal reputation is much like building a business or career: it is a marathon, not a sprint.

Creating a brand that is truly genuine and authentic to who you really are is as liberating and exciting as it can be daunting. Don’t be intimidated by putting yourself out there. People connect with people, so be real, be vulnerable, be human! Knowing who you are, living the values you espouse, presenting your image in its truest form is what attracts the sincerest personal connections, draws dream opportunities from ideal employers, and invites loyal clients, customers and colleagues to you.

To embrace who you are is to champion your (epic) personal brand.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – what fears or barriers are holding you back from building an effective personal brand?  

Stacey Murray is the founder, and Chief Partner in Crime at Her Signature Life. She believes we all deserve to make a living doing what we truly love.

During the day Stacey answers to Master T, her one year old boss. By night, she talks incessantly, teaches passionately and writes crazily to support other creatively skilled + professionally trained mothers striving to build meaningful businesses and careers. Also a chaos tamer in training, keen traveller, Game of Thrones tragic, and aspiring cider taster. Say hi on Twitter or Pinterest!

3 Ways to Use Facebook Groups to Connect to Your Audience

By Shannon Davis

Participating in Facebook groups specifically for entrepreneurs is one of the most successful marketing strategies I use for my business. I've signed on new clients, made friends with women doing amazing things and connected with affiliate partners through Facebook groups. But you can’t just spend time browsing around these groups and call it “marketing”. Here are my top 3 tips for utilizing Facebook groups successfully:

1. Be Genuinely Helpful

Don’t just read everyone else’s advice, weigh in! If someone wants a review of their new sales page, give it a look over and give your honest feedback. If someone asks a question about a particular software that you happen to be a wiz at, answer it and offer some tips. Please note, this does not mean that you should plug your products or services every time someone asks for help or a suggestion. In fact, never plug your own stuff unless it’s on a promo day. Offer helpful, valuable information and make real connections. People are naturally curious and will likely check out your page without any prompting. 

2. Be Easily Found

Since you've offered such super helpful advice, people will click through to your profile in order to check out your biz and what you’re all about. Make it easy for them to find! For the best chance of actually making a connection, either have your biz listed as your job with a link to your website in the description OR have a Facebook page for your biz and tag it as your job in your about section. Make sure they can find out more about what you do as soon as they land on your page. Don’t make people search for you or they will give up! I speak from experience here.

3. Participate

Most biz-related Facebook groups have specific days for you to share blog posts, promos, or even Twitter handles to connect on multiple platforms. Participate regularly in those days - and that doesn't mean just drop your link and hope someone clicks on it. Read through and comment on other people’s blogs. Tweet out for other biz owners (and be sure to tag them) to help get the word out about their biz. Most of the time, they’ll return the favor.

Your time is valuable, so make sure that you’re using your time in biz-related Facebook groups effectively! I guarantee that you’ll notice a big difference.

Shannon Davis is the online business manager extraordinaire behind The Empire Strategist. She began offering virtual support for entrepreneurs in early 2013, and rapidly grew from zero to fully booked in under 6 months, allowing her to leave her corporate job behind for good! Shannon uses her systems savvy and administrative expertise to take the behind-the-scenes operations of online business from shaken-up to supremely seamless. 

Shannon also enjoys exploring new cultures, putting her History degree to use by volunteering on archaeological excavations (where she met her fiancé) and diving into the chaos that is planning her destination wedding. You can connect with Shannon on Facebook or on Twitter.

3 Ways To Grow Your Personal Brand // Blog Biz

Grow-Your-Personal-Brand

By Elizabeth Kelsey Bradley

Blogging is ( amongst many things) a way to show the world who you are and what you stand for, as well as what services or products you offer. It tells people what you stand for, and what your quirks are. From reading my blog, you’ll probably notice I travel often and value holistic health and spending time with my family. My love of old school movies and even videos games creeps in time to time.

You don’t have to have a lifestyle blog to hone in on your personal brand. In fact, I believe that personal branding is integral for businesses and blogs of all types looking to thrive in today’s marketplace. People want to buy from people, and they want to consume content from blogs written by someone they can relate to ( or aspire to be like).

So how do you hone in on your personal brand and grow it with Social Media? Here are my top tips that I use with clients.

1. Own Your Worth
Most of us hate to brag and won’t own up to our accomplishments, associations, or other noteworthy elements that others would find quite fascinating. But this isn’t something optional; if you are a Health Coach looking to get clients, you need to mention your training and expertise. If you are a painter, mentioning where your art has been featured or where you trained will be helpful in crafting your personal brand and piquing the interest of potential buyers.

I know what you’re thinking: what if I haven’t been featured anywhere or have little experience?

I bet you do have the above and don’t even realize it. Honestly, everyone has some accomplishments or associations worth mentioning, whether it’s a guest post or doing an interview on a blog. If you don’t have any, now is the time to start building up your media page.

2.) Show, don’t tell
Developing a strong brand relies on showing and not telling. This can be done by crafting a story over just listing things in a way that isn’t too compelling, or it can include using multimedia and digital storytelling ( use that iphone!) to tell your story. As a Social Media Coach, I tell everyone I meet how visual social media is the future, and guess what? That ties into showing over telling.

Your readers want to get an inside glimpse inside your life + biz. They want to get to know you, and be inspired by you. Use Social Media such as Instagram and Pinterest as well as great branding in your blog posts.

3.)  Be Specific
A strong personal brand is memorable. It’s refined, and not all over the place. You probably have many different interests ( I know I do) and skills, but I challenge you to pick and choose what you want to be known for. These questions will help you decide what you want to focus on:

  • What comes naturally to me? 
  • What gets me SOOOO excited that I just can’t help but do a happy dance? 
  • What questions do people ask me on a regular basis?
  • Where does my business and what I’ve answered to the above overlap?

Remember that growing a brand happens over time. But as a blogger, you have the tools to help grow your personal brand, inspire others, and increase your business in a way that’s never been done before. The internet offers us the way to distribute our message all across the globe. Make sure you know what you want to be known for and what you excel at and you’re going to grow a thriving online tribe.

Elizabeth Kelsey Bradley is a Life + Social Media Coach based in Thailand. Her writing and photography have been featured on Cameron Diaz’s blog Our Body Book, Wild Sister, and Tiny Buddha, in addition to being a regular contributor to Annapurna Living. She blogs about savouring the good things in life at Savouring Simplicity.