Before the introduction of social media, “personal branding” was an entirely different practice. Sure, someone could build something of a reputation for themselves, but this was purely based on interactions and potential word-of-mouth recommendations.
In 2020, we are fortunate enough to be equipped with the wondrous tool of social media, and various easy-to-use content creation tools, that allow us to shape and mold our networks’ perception of us into whatever we want it to be.
Personal brands are not just crucial to individuals, but businesses too. In specific industries, an employee’s personal brand can be just as important as that of the brand.
The recruitment industry, for example, is becoming ever more dependent on social. Recruiters can broadcast their opportunities and successes to audiences potentially wider than their organization’s corporate accounts. See how Frank Recruitment Group empowered their employees to establish credible personal brands.
So, what can you do to shape and build your personal brand? We’ve identified four key things you’ll need to do in order to stand out in the busy crowd.
Be Active on Social Media
Being active on social media is arguably the most important thing you can do to elevate your personal brand, as in the age of social media, that’s where your peers will be looking. Having a social media presence ensures that you are always visible and at the forefront of your networks’ feeds.
Being active on social media to benefit your personal brand doesn’t necessarily mean continually talking about your industry or your company. You must remember not to bombard people with your services to a point where they end up unfollowing you. After all, people may still follow you and not be interested in your company or the services you offer.
It’s worth considering your industry and what you want to achieve on social before you start firing out comments, posts, and articles. Have a focus or a niche, establish yourself as an expert by focusing on one topic. Try not to appear as though you’re a would-be jack of all trades. Make sure your followers know what you specialize in and exercise your knowledge to show why you specialize in it.
“Carve a niche, and then carve a niche within your niche. The best personal brands are very specific.” – Adam Smiley Poswolsky – Author of The Breakthrough Speaker
Engage With Your Network
This ties in somewhat with being active on social media, but we’re keeping it separate as there are many ways to engage with your network, peers, and colleagues.
Engaging with people on social media is another way to boost familiarity among your networks. Make sure when you’re doing so that interactions are genuine. You won’t build much of a personal brand for yourself if you’re just saying “happy birthday!” or “congrats on the new role” when prompted…
Set up social listening tools to ensure that you weigh in on all industry-relevant topics, further establishing yourself as a thought leader. Things like Tweetdeck and following hashtags will help simplify this process. As is often said with social selling, being seen as an industry thought leader means that you will be the first person and company that springs to mind when someone is ready to buy.
If your organization uses an internal communications platform, make sure you keep up to speed and weigh in as and when you can. Forbes said that a critical way to building your personal brand is to ask at least one question per meeting. Well, why not take this out of the boardroom and be just as curious online?
An employee advocacy platform like DSMN8 will also allow you to give credit to your colleagues with its internal communications feature. The software is incredibly intuitive and follows a social media feed design that also allows you to add comments and like posts.
Advocate for Your Organization
Advocating for your organization is an essential part of building a strong personal brand, as it lets your network know what you’re about and brings attention to your organization.
This also reflects well in the eyes of your peers and senior management, as it displays a genuine interest in the brand’s content and its success. Too many people want to keep work at the office, and between the hours of 9 and 5, so stand out and show people you’re serious about what you do.
If your company is using an employee advocacy platform like DSMN8, be sure to get involved! The leaderboards and rewards feature is a fantastic way for employees to stand out from the crowd and showcase their efforts. This can be a great way to network and build familiarity with people outside of your immediate team too. Remember that in many industries, having a great personal brand is just as important to your colleagues as it is your outer networks.
Creating content is the last step in establishing yourself as an industry expert. It’s one thing to talk the talk, but taking this to the next level with written, video, or audio content is what truly separates the Gary Vaynerchucks from the average Joe.
With this wealth of knowledge, you should be well on your way to establishing a reputable personal brand in the eyes of your networks. The only thing to ensure you do now is to be consistent.
Remember that algorithms show mercy on no one, and in the age of short attention spans, people can be quick to forget!
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Senior Marketing Manager and Employee Advocacy Program Manager at DSMN8. Lewis specialises in content strategy, growing brand visibility and generating inbound leads. His background in Sales lends itself well to demand generation in the B2B niche.