The adage that you never get a second chance to make a first impression holds true today.
Social media has changed how we present ourselves to the world. Our persona is available to anyone anytime and almost anywhere. That is why creating a personal brand is so important. It’s an extension of who you are and what you stand for. The latest polls show that 90% of employers check out an applicant’s social activity during the hiring process and 97% of consumers learn more about a company online than any other source.
Whether you’re an employee interested in climbing the corporate ladder or an entrepreneur hoping to establish authority and thought leadership, you need a personal brand strategy. And that starts with your personal brand goals.
Your personal brand goals are unique to you and as you grow, your goals may change. When you think about your goals, it’s important to choose one, maybe two. Consider where you are and where you want to go. Let’s take a deep dive into six goals that resonate with most people – and remember, you’re only looking for one. Diving into one goal at a time will allow you to define and prioritize which area you want to work on first without getting overwhelmed. Remember, personal branding is a marathon, not a sprint!
1. Increase brand awareness
There are several reasons someone might want to increase brand awareness. Some of those include establishing yourself as a thought leader or growing your online community. Increasing your brand awareness is the first step. If this is your goal, here are some tips to follow:
- Conduct a social audit. Is your personal brand consistent across all platforms? Does it represent who you are and your expertise? Your social media channels are an extension of YOU so make sure your online profile matches what people will see and hear when they meet you in person.
- Add personality. Remember, your personal brand should spotlight who you are. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle in elements of your personality, quirks and all. One of my favorite quotes that always reminds me to be brave with my personal brand is, “vulnerability is the only bridge to build better connection.”
- Be authentic. Being authentic is being true or genuine. Dr. Brene Brown defines authenticity as letting go of whom you’re supposed to be and embracing who you are. Authenticity is the fastest way to build trust with others and fulfillment with ourselves.
2. Generate leads
Perhaps your goal is to generate leads – either for your product or service or for a potential new job or career change. Generating leads is the cornerstone of building a personal brand.
Having a clear target audience will help you refine your message to speak to the needs, pain points, and desires of your ideal customer. This goes beyond traditional marketing messaging and sales copy. The best way to create and convert new connections is through storytelling.
This story should be one that inspires and motivates someone to lean in and sign up for more.
A compelling personal brand story has three components:
- Character. The character of the story is you (psst, we talked about this already).
- Conflict. The conflict is the meat of your story. It’s ok to be vulnerable here. The conflict should resonate with your audience. This conflict should be one that became a catalyst for growth. Think, what was your breakdown moment that revealed a breakthrough?
- Conclusion. The conclusion is how you overcame the conflict – it’s the “aha” moment. This is where you share what you’ve learned from your struggle, how you solved the problem, and how you are now equipped to help others overcome and achieve positive results, too.
3. Grow your network.
Is it better to have 10,000 followers or 500 that you’re actively engaged with? It’s not a trick question. But there is a ton of conflicting information out there. So, here it is …
… If you want to grow your network in a meaningful way, seek connections with real people in a real way.
Creating an authentic personal brand that represents who you are is the first step to building real relationships. Our personal network is our most valuable asset. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Your network is your net worth!” It only takes one person or introduction to lead to a new opportunity. You never know who you’re going to meet or where you might meet them, but nurturing relationships (online and offline) is essential for growth.In fact, most positions are filled through who you know – and that starts with your network.
4. Leverage media and collaborations
Depending on your far-reaching goals, your short-term goals may include collaborating with others. This serves as an important milestone if you’re just getting started or identifying yourself as a thought leader. In the beginning stages, it may be difficult to get noticed individually, so collaborations are a great way to gain exposure into other like-minded communities.
When positioning yourself for a collaboration it’s best to be clear on how the collab is a win-win for everyone. Why should someone want to collaborate with you, what do you bring to the table?
There are many great ways to collaborate with others today. Here are some ideas to get your wheels turning.
- Co-host a Livestream
- Podcast interview
- Blog Q&A
- Newsletter or email blast mention
- Co-created video series
- Co-created reels
- Co-created webinars
5. Monetize your digital presence
Almost 75% of consumers are influenced by word-of-mouth when making a purchase. That’s the power of influencer marketing and peer approval. If your goal is to monetize your personal brand and digital presence, you will need an established brand identity, core message, an engaged online community and consistent content distribution.
If you’re eager to attract brand partnerships, you’ll need to create your own unique signature traffic builder. What is a signature traffic builder? A signature traffic builder is the content you commit to sharing on a consistent weekly basis. Your signature traffic builder might be a blog, podcast, online course, Twitter chat, Livestream series, email newsletter, or webinar.
Brands are always looking to create engagement. They also want to participate in experiential opportunities to broaden awareness. A signature traffic builder will attract and expand your target audience, generate more engagement, and this in turn will attract more brand awareness and partnerships.
6. Book Speaking Engagements
Keynote speakers with “social proof” can make upward of $10,000 per engagement, plus expenses. However, there are several necessary steps and elements needed to make you a strong candidate for speaking engagements. And yes, it is ideal to get compensated for speaking. But, if you are just starting out it is so worth it to speak for free, refine your skill, capture content of yourself, and build your testimonial portfolio.
- Define two or three “signature” speaking topics that showcase your expertise and unique approach
- Create a short to medium-sized speaker’s bio
- Get a professional headshot taken
- Be active on desired event or company channels you want to speak at. Show some love, share your expertise in the comments, and take a look at their previous speaker profiles for inspiration
- If you have footage of you speaking at prior engagements, show it! A speaker’s reel or speaker deck with testimonials is a powerful way to market yourself.
And remember to include your Speaker information in the Experience section on LinkedIn!
Your personal brand is your best l marketing tool. Use the suggestions provided to refine your goals to achieve what you want. And remember, goals are only achievable when you have a defined purpose and are passionate and persistent in your efforts.
Now, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want a deeper dive into building a personal brand that will catapult your success, check out my Globally Rated TOP performing LinkedIn Learning Course, Learning Personal Branding.
Or, if you’re interested in my one-on-one coaching packages, click this link to explore how I help my clients increase their visibility, influence, and profits!
Wishing you the absolute best in your personal branding journey,