If 2020 taught us anything, it is that the unexpected can always happen. While we hope 2021 will be much better in many regards than in 2020, it is important to make sure you are establishing your personal brand via personal branding.
Personal Brand vs. Personal Branding
As defined by personalbrand.com: “A personal brand is a widely-recognized and largely-uniform perception or impression of an individual based on their experience, expertise, competencies, actions and/or achievements within a community, industry, or the marketplace at large.”
Personal Branding is “The conscious and intentional effort to create and influence public perception of an individual by positioning them as an authority in their industry, elevating their credibility, and differentiating themselves from the competition, to ultimately advance their career, increase their circle of influence, and have a larger impact.”
The Importance of Your Personal Brand
Your personal brand is very important not only when you’re employed, but also when you’re looking for a new job. You need to be seen as a thought-leader and expert in your area of expertise so that you will get noticed.
How to Establish Your Personal Brand – for Beginners
One of the craziest things we’ve heard from many people – from entry-level applicants to senior executives is they don’t want to be on social media and they do not need a LinkedIn profile. No matter who you are, even if you’re well known like Mark Cuban or Richard Branson, you need a LinkedIn profile to showcase your personal brand. You never know when you may need a new job, or someone may be looking for a subject matter expert to be a guest speaker or offer a new opportunity. You won’t be in the mix if you don’t have a personal brand and a way for people to find you!
Once you set up your LinkedIn profile (be sure to include a recent picture and fill out all of the sections – your bio, summary, relevant experience, education, etc.), you can begin building your personal brand. You can write short posts or create surveys – this will let your connections know your thoughts and/or interests. You can also write long-form content (think blogs) by publishing an article on LinkedIn. You can use this to write about a specific topic that’s near and dear to your heart, a change/trend in your industry, or provide some new insight about something people may not have heard about or given thought about. There are tons of things to write about. This will help you to establish your personal brand.
You can also comment on posts, this will help to build your personal brand, as well.
Utilize the recommendations feature – have coworkers, employees, and supervisors recommend you on LinkedIn to help support your credibility in your field.
Once you feel comfortable with all of the “written” aspects of LinkedIn, you can start creating video content. Whether you go solo, or team up with some colleagues, you can share thought-leadership content via video that will help to strengthen your personal brand. As you become more advanced in your personal branding journey, you can start your own website, a podcast, a vlog, or whatever it is that you want to do to showcase you and your expertise!
A Word of Advice…
You know that saying, “surround yourself with good people” – that saying applies to establishing your personal brand and your general online presence. Be sure that you choose your connections wisely – people you know and trust. It’s fine to accept connections via a referral or who share similar interests, but just do some vetting first to make sure they are someone you want to be associated with (and who are real – the internet is full of fake profiles!)
Engage with “famous people” who share similar interests. Richard Branson publishes a lot of content, as does Mark Cuban, as well as many others. Their personal brands are very strong – you can leverage this by engaging in conversations with other followers of their content. You can meet some great people on the internet (and LinkedIn) if you’re smart about it. You never know when your path will cross with someone who can help you in your career or whom you can help. We need to help each other all that we can – spreading good karma will certainly do no harm!