Whenever you open Instagram, a slew of posts from "influencers" populate your feed. People’s names are in the headlines of articles, and the rise of the "famous entrepreneur" has begun. Personal branding is in, and it’s a secret weapon. It’s how people know who you are.
To understand personal branding, you must understand business branding. Effective business branding is why we don’t hesitate to purchase a new facial cleanser from our favorite skincare brand, whereas we hesitate to try a facial cleanser from a brand we’ve never heard of. We become defensive of brands. We’re either die-hard Apple or PC supporters or Coke or Pepsi drinkers. Personal brands connote the same type of loyalty.
Here are a few reasons why personal branding is a secret weapon in your career.
Think about it. If a stranger approached you on the street and tried to sell you an ecommerce consulting package, you wouldn’t be interested unless they had some serious facts about how their package could help you. But, if someone you knew for their expertise in scaling ecommerce businesses approached you, you’d be more likely to buy from them. You’d feel connected to them.
If you can create this same sense of trust with your target customers through what you share on social media and how you interact in person, you’ll have that secret weapon when it’s time to sell.
A personal brand doesn’t just help to get customers invested in your cause -- it also helps get your employees invested. Altimeter shared research that proves when a company invested in personal branding initiatives, “employees were 27 percent more hopeful about their company, 20 percent more likely to stay, and 40 percent more likely to believe in the competitiveness of their employer.” These personal branding initiatives could include a “meet the team” campaign on social media, a monthly letter from the CEO with accessible and friendly language, or starting a YouTube channel featuring interviews with key team members.
In addition to helping current employees get behind your cause, it could also help with recruiting, too. If you’re looking to expand your company’s team, high-quality employees may be more likely to interview with you and accept a position if they’ve heard about you in your industry, or feel like they know you beyond your initial emails because of the content you have available.
Finally, personal branding is at its height when it’s working for you on social media. A recent research index from Sprout Social found that customers are 77 percent more likely to buy from a brand if they follow them on social media. And, customers will only follow a brand on social media if they have content that’s interesting, useful, or funny to them.
Engage your personal brand on your company's social media -- and your personal page -- by sharing stories from your life, inspirational quotes that have been helpful to you, and funny videos. All of this content compounded will help "strangers" feel as if they know you, bolstering your personal brand and leading to customers.
As far as how to get in touch with your personal brand, remember there’s no one you have to be but yourself. It sounds cheesy, but people can tell if you’re being authentic or trying to convey something you’re not.
Stand in your personal brand’s truth and share it loud and proud as your secret weapon.
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