With so much competition in every industry, your personal image and brand are essential for setting yourself apart and appealing to your audience. Without a strong brand, you'll find it difficult to differentiate yourself from the competition. What exactly does it take to create a compelling and memorable image? Here are five tips for creating a strong personal brand.
1. Use Content to Build Your Brand
Most small and medium-size companies struggle to achieve brand awareness. While larger companies often struggle with negative images, smaller ones struggle for visibility. Your first task, then, is to construct a brand that attracts attention. The fastest way to do this is to create lots of good content. Advertising is no replacement for this. Even the best ads have to point to something. If all you have is a hype-filled sales page, you're not going to build a strong brand. You do this with content, such as:
. Blog posts. Blogging consistently provides people with helpful information and establishes your expertise. Research popular topics and keywords so people searching for this type of information will find your site.
. Social media. Choose a few social media sites where your audience is active, whether this is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, SnapChat or others. Share text posts, links, images, and other relevant content consistently. Stay engaged with your followers and answer their questions and comments.
. Videos. One of the best ways to build your brand is to create a video channel. Even simple webcam videos go a long way in helping you connect with your audience. Use videos to introduce yourself and your team members, instruct people on how to use your products, show people your office, store, or facility. Live video streaming is an especially powerful way to reach people on social media.
These are just some of the platforms for creating content. There are other possibilities as well, such as podcasts and webinars. You don't have to do all of these things but it's important to create branded content that shows people who you are.
2. Build an Email List
Email marketing is one of the oldest online marketing tactics of all, but it's just as effective now as ever before. It has a distinct advantage over most other internet strategies because it's your personal list. Once you have people's names and email addresses, you contact them whenever you want. You don't depend on them finding you via the search engines or visiting your Facebook page. On the other hand, email is a great way to promote your website, blog, product pages, and social media pages.
Email is the ideal platform for branding. With marketing tools such as MailChimp or AWeber, you create professional templates that let you create the image you want. You decide when to send your emails, the tone to use, and what offers to promote. For branding purposes, make sure your emails aren't overly promotional. Provide lots of helpful and interesting information.
3. Stay Consistent With Your Voice
To create a strong brand, it's necessary to maintain consistency across all of your platforms. This depends on your own preferences, the nature of your industry, and the kind of audience you're targeting. For example, is your tone professional/ formal, friendly/casual, or hip and humorous? Think also of what your USP (unique selling proposition) is. Are you marketing yourself as the best, cheapest, fastest, coolest, or newest? This will determine your tone.
Brand consistency means that your appearance and tone are the same on your website, articles, videos, social media, and anywhere else. If your words are professional and businesslike but you're sharing the latest funny memes on Facebook, this isn't consistent. This means that everyone on your team is on the same page, even if they're working in different areas (e.g., web design, social media, blogging, PR, etc.).
4. Increase Awareness of Your Customers and Industry
A successful brand doesn't exist in isolation but within the context of an industry and in relation to its customers. If you're not in touch with the needs and preferences of your customers, you can't build a strong brand. You also have to stay current with the latest trends and developments in your industry. This includes keeping a close eye on your competition. Here are some questions to regularly ask yourself:
. What are the most pressing needs of my customers and prospects? What problems do they face?
. Who are my closest competitors? What strengths and weaknesses do they have relative to my business? Which strategies will shift this balance in my favor?
. What are the most important developments in my industry? Are new technologies likely to create a major disruption anytime soon? If so, it's time to get on board with these changes or offer a viable alternative.
. What additional perks, services, or advantages will my customers appreciate? This may include coupons, a loyalty program, more extensive customer support, or a stronger guarantee.
5. Monitor Your Reputation
Although your goal is to establish a certain image for your personal brand, what really counts is how others see you. There's often a discrepancy between one's self-image and how other people actually see that person (or business). The only way to know what others think of your business is to closely monitor your reputation. You want to know when someone says anything about you, positive, negative, or neutral.
There are many brand monitoring tools, starting with Google Alerts. Also, keep track of comments about you on social media, forums, personal blogs, and anywhere else. It's important to stay ahead of any complaints or controversies. Don't waste time arguing with trolls. However, if someone raises a legitimate concern or misrepresents your business in any way, respond immediately, even comments on someone else's platform. For example, if you find a discussion about you on another blog, there's nothing wrong with chiming in with a comment. Always monitor and guard your reputation.