Gone are the days when only celebrities, politicians and business leaders nurture an image. Our highly techie and individualistic society now allows individuals to cultivate their own brands as well. The popularity of social media and networking platforms has made the task even easier: Just about anyone can create a profile or image of oneself with a click of a few buttons and share that profile with anyone on the online world.
This personal brand is the public’s perception of an individual and his or her values and beliefs, goals and plans, achievements in his or her chosen field and more. This does not consist only of the personal details one shares on the internet such as age, education, current job and work experience. It also covers a person’s activity on social media and networking platforms – own posts, comments, reactions, shares — as these reflect one’s thoughts and sentiments, beliefs, aspirations, choices and preferences. Indeed, data from these actions are used by platforms to curate ads based on the profile created and push these ads on to a person’s feeds.
Sharing views and opinions on topics related to one’s field of expertise does play a big role in building a personal brand as it helps in establishing that the individual can be a trusted and reliable source of information in that particular field. This is one way many have been able to develop a profile or role as an influence(r) and even a key opinion leader in their respective area, which in turn helps in making sure their ideas reach a wider audience.
No better medium than online
In the Philippines where people spend an average of almost 10 hours a day online, going digital seems to be the best route to take to build one’s personal brand. Besides having little to no costs involved, the internet guarantees a wider and more interactive reach. That is, with the right approach and plan. Job opportunities, thought leaderships and speaking engagements are just a few of the rewards that may come one’s way with commitment and effective use of time and creativity.
Using the digital strategy allows you to interact with more people while letting them learn more about you and your activities and views without having to share the same space physically, which is handy in the current situation. With the internet being ubiquitous and digital social networking and even personal websites and blogs very popular, there has never been a better time than today to build one’s personal brand. Indeed, with most people staying indoor or working from home, now is the best time to start working on that personal profile.
Use online presence effectively
The internet makes establishing your brand, growing your influence and gaining connections a lot easier. But how do you create an effective online presence?
There are many ways and channels now to create online presence. Those new to the game can start by joining online forums on topics related to their field. These can be stand-alone forums or discussions hosted on websites. Either way, these forums allow you to share your knowledge and gain new insights in your area or areas of expertise at the same time let you start building a network that can you perhaps tap later.
If you are tech-savvy enough to create your own space online, you may consider investing in your own website. Websites are not only for businesses after all. These can be platforms for sharing more information about yourself and communicating with your target audience, especially if part of the branding you have in mind is to espouse an advocacy.
Fill your website with relevant, timely and valuable information to keep your readers engaged and updated. Use an overall design, voice and tone that reflect the image or brand that you want to create or enrich. Curate the information that you will share and make sure to update with new data regularly to keep people returning to your site and learning more about you and your brand, services, products or advocacies.
Social media and social networking platforms also serve as good channels for personal branding. With the Philippines having 76 million active social media users, socmed provides an easy and inexpensive way to create a network or following. Facebook certainly is no longer just about connecting with friends and family from afar. It is now also about expressing one’s insights, joining discussions on certain issues, promoting products and services, and building one’s image. Twitter likewise helps in projecting one’s personality and thoughts.
Meanwhile, social networking sites such as LinkedIn help professionals broaden their network even more. LinkedIn members can join community discussions and connect with people in their field, including thought leaders. By creating original content for sharing with people in your field, you can start establishing yourself as an expert in your area as well.
For an effective online presence, be clear as to the brand you want to establish and the audience that you are targeting. If your online presence is meant to establish your credibility in your line of work, then focus on content that is related to your expertise. Share content and join discussions on topics related to your area of work or industry on your social networking sites while keeping personal posts such as selfies minimal on social media. If your goal is to position yourself as a reliable source of information on a certain line of products, say beauty products, your content then needs to revolve around such products and related activities.
Targeting the content you provide and share will help create a personal branding that’s consistent and useful. But remember that your goal is to share details about you and your interests so be mindful about oversharing and overposting as these could work against you. Social media is a double-edged sword that could make or break your brand. Be sensitive as well. It won’t hurt to be aware of issues and the many sides and shades surrounding them so you will know how to tread carefully. You don’t want to be at the receiving end of a backlash simply because you were too lazy to check facts or was plain insensitive.
It’s a long process
Developing a concrete personal brand doesn’t happen overnight. You need a clear plan, valuable content, a strict schedule and most importantly, endless supply of creativity and patience. Cleaning up your profile, not to mention the regular task of tweeting or posting on your social media pages and weekly catching up with fellow experts in the industry, can be hard work. Developing content relevant to your market is also a challenge and finding topics that will win you a solid following even more so.
Take it a step at a time. Have a daily, weekly or monthly plan. But do enjoy the process so you can continue to be creative not just with your posts but also with your overall strategy. Remember, you also need to communicate that you enjoy being the public person that you are so your followers will likewise enjoy engaging with you.
You can talk about your experiences instead of just sharing knowledge, ideas and opinions. Personal anecdotes make you more relatable and believable and will give your followers a better glimpse of who you are than simply resharing stories you read online or heard someone say. Secondhand material becomes less effective the more they are recycled and soon, your audience will get tired of the same old stories and will look for more authentic messages from other people. Start building your personal branding little by little every day as soon as you’re comfortable enough to do it. Consistent plan and work and a little creativity will ensure you are ready for when doors open to reveal new opportunities.