Personal branding does tend to have a reputation for being a career progression technique and that is correct, but one major factor that I have learned over the past year, researching this topic is that is covers a much bigger spectrum.
Personal branding shows the way to portray ones WOW factor; the skills, attributes and values that make people stand out from the crowd in their career. If we were to consider this in the business world, we would call it competitive advantage. Here is where personal branding can do for your business.
“The most meaningful way to differentiate your company from your competitors, the best way to put distance between you and the crowd is to do an outstanding job with information. How you gather, manage and use information will determine whether you win or lose.” – Bill Gates (@BillGates)
You, along with your business have so much information to share and with the online tools that are available, how the audience receives and the frequency of delivery on multiple devices makes it all that easier to engage with your audience. Digital marketing trends are responsible to how content can be delivered, however the audience rarely gets to see the human element of this content. What if Richard Branson for example, shared an article from his own account on LinkedIn? Would you notice it faster if it were shared by the Virgin brand or his name? Would you prefer to listen to what your customers say directly over what competitors say?
Stephen Ryan, Head of Marketing of Fota Wildlife Park (@marketingincork) said at a networking event that “People love people” and this always stuck with me. Everyone loves to hear the gossip (don’t deny it!), the news, the stories. You may have heard of story-driven content. Everyone loves to hear that story of how the business came to be, your first job, your experiences and overall the sharing of knowledge is what makes us all human.
This is what will add value to your business; make it stand out from the crowd; it’s competitive advantage. Personal branding techniques adapted into everyday business is a way to gain competitive advantage.
Here are a few tips on certain techniques you should incorporate into your business.
For every client, I conduct a full self-audit. This is a necessity to discover where the business online brand stands. Ideally an appearance on the first page is a goal, but what about the people spearheading the business, do they appear at all?
Set up a google alert so that you will receive reports on when you are searched for by others.
Offline personal branding is just as important as online. By speaking at events and overall attendance at networking events is a great way to sustain and build on your online presence. Do consider taking part on the soapbox, show your audience what you know, what your business can do for them.
Create social media accounts like an arm from an overall business one. The key is to develop a personal brand of your professional self and link it back to the main business account. Speak on behalf of the business but in a tone that creates the human element of the business brand. For example, share a post that comes from the main account but comment on it. Provide value to your posts, they will be a reflection of your business.
Take note of business hours where you can promote your business on Twitter and gain followers. It is very popular now and a wonderful forum to represent your business brand. The use of a hashtag (eg #corkhour) can get your business trending to attract new business and overall promotion.
Keep building on these engagements to show your audience your own knowledge and interests. Share articles from business magazines or social media accounts. Comment on other shared articles from peers and engage in conversations that would apply to your profession. Commend others on their own work as well. It’s always very professional to give credit when it’s due, even online.
The aim is to reach a desired audience so keep building on connections and how to do that is to stay active. Make sure you engage and not just retweet or like a post. Follow groups on LinkedIn for example and create interesting posts.
I recommend that every business to have a website but the most important part is to have a blog on that website. If you are the only employee or have numerous employees, it is a great way to share experiences of management, leadership and knowledge of those who make up the business and make that business grow. Remember again, people love people. This doesn’t have to be very week, but decide on suitable weeks to do so and then share it throughout the social media platforms.
Try to keep up-to-date with the latest trends of your business and comment about them. This will show that you are on top of your game for your business.
Be in control
It is so important to be in control of your online brand for your business and it may be just you or another representative of your business delivering content. However, have you considered how your employees represent your business with their online activity? Decide on how to inform your employees about your brand identity.
To finish off, if you are a start-up business or a well-established business, take a look at your brand and how these techniques of personal branding can increase your competitive advantage.
For information on workshops for inductions, management levels or individual private consultations, contact Maeve on email@example.com or call 0864495668.