YOU are the face of your brand. Does how you portray yourself online match up with the real-life you?
When we talk about branding in a business sense, the first things people think of are logos and color palettes. While these are important elements to a company’s brand – think Coca-Cola or McDonald’s – branding is more about how you set up your company to stand out from the crowd. Branding incorporates your company’s message and mission, and when all these things line up correctly, you become memorable to your audience and solidify the foundation for a strong relationship.
For small business owners, creating a personal brand is very important because that is part of what sells your products and services to your audience. People aren't just buying your product or service, they are also buying YOU! Here are four ways to develop your personal brand to connect with more people:
1. Identify what you do, your goals, and your objectives.
You’re not just a small business owner. You’re a business coach, a professional organizer, a Certified Dog Trainer, a therapist. Wear that title proudly and soon your community will associate your name with your chosen title. Your goals and objectives will form your mission, which in turn tells you who your target market is. If your mission and your market don’t match, you need to do more research. Check out my Social Media Bootcamp, a course to learn the Secrets Successful Social Media Marketers Use to Grow Massive, Engaged Followings Online.
2. Determine your brand attributes.
What perception do you want your brand to portray? What image should appear in people’s minds when they hear your name? Do these adjectives match up with your objectives, logo, color palettes, and overall online image?
3. Create a consistent online presence with your website, blog, and social media platforms.
Yes, color palettes, headshots, and logos are important and definitely play an important role in your online presence. Clear communication with your web designer and social media manager will go a long way to guarantee that your personal brand identity is consistent across all these platforms and that your online image matches your offline image 100%.
4. Bring your brand to life by using videos.
People want to know, like, and trust you. What better or quicker way to do that than to use video to reach the masses? Video brings you into their homes and allows you to share the provocative thoughts and daily tips and encouragement they are seeking. Video is proof positive that you are a real person, and they will know fairly early on if your personality/brand jives with their own. Videos should also incorporate some of your online elements so viewers will recognize your logo or color scheme when they visit your website or view a different video.
What Does Branding Have to Do with Networking?
Quite simply, if your online persona is quite different from your offline image, expect to have an awkward moment (or two). Even if your interaction is completely online, if you conduct yourself differently than you show in your videos, you’ll invite more unwanted questions and cause your prospects to be hesitant around you, wondering if you’re “faking it till you make it” or not being authentic.
In either situation, your audience won’t trust you, they may not give you a second chance to prove yourself and may start telling people what a fake you are via social media.
Business relationships should be built on honesty and integrity, and all of your branding elements should be in line. When people trust you are who you say you are, they will begin to trust you and a relationship has begun.
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