I just recently set myself up online – in June in fact! And have learned a few things along the way. I, however, am still a complete newbie at this and am still learning as I go! I think that EVERYONE should set themselves up online in some capacity. Your personal brand is something that you can just work on and build up slowly along with your business. If you want to monetise at a later date the framework will already be in place. Even if you are working for a company I still think personal branding is really important for future networking.
Why is your personal brand important?
-People can search your name and find you.
-It puts a face to a name.
-People can see exactly what you are about.
-It helps to connect you to others interested in the same things.
-People prefer to network with other people, rather than businesses.
-It helps you to share your own inspiration and ideas with the world.
It is really popular at the moment for your personal brand to also be your business brand. You get all of the above benefits – which is great! However, it also means that your business can’t operate without you. You are essentially the business so if at some point in the future you want to do something else or if you want to sell your business it will be more difficult. Ideally, you will have a business brand and a personal brand. It is more work as you will be maintaining two identities and multiple platforms!
Here are five personal branding tips that I have learnt along the way!
1. Create a ‘hub’: Ideally you want to have a place that connects all of your online activities. I think it is really important to claim your domain name if you can. I am amazed at some of the high-level people that don’t have a website in their name because I think it is so important. It is ridiculously cheap to claim your domain name (around $30NZ for the whole year) even if you don’t yet set up your site – grab your name! If you are a business person or already working for a company, LinkedIn is a great hub place for your personal brand. I think Instagram is a great hub place for creatives. You can link one website and then put the @ names of your businesses or specify any other social platforms.
2. Pick the social media platforms that most apply: Ideally you will be on as many platforms as possible so that people can easily find you or follow you where it suits them. However, it is hard to keep up with a lot of platforms when you first start so start small and just pick the social platforms that are most relevant to you then build it up slowly. Apparently, Snapchat is the hottest place to be right now if you are a business looking to create more of a connection with your customers.
3. Keep the overall ‘look’ consistent: Try and use the same name if possible or at least use the same name in your description. Keep everything consistent, try and use the same taglines. Definitely use the same profile picture!! Pick a picture where you are facing the camera and smiling so that you are more easily recognisable. Don’t change your profile pic too often otherwise, people will not remember you. Try and create a unique look or style that sets you apart from the rest – this is something that I am still working on!
4. Post content consistently: Plan a simple content strategy for each platform. Try and be consistent with your posting! Keep it simple so that you can keep it going. Now that I am set up online I don’t think it will be too difficult to keep it running even when I launch my online business. I am hoping that I can keep adding and improving as I go along! Don’t over analyse or expect everything to be perfect when you are first starting out. A piece of content is always better than no content.
5. Network every day: Try and network for at least 10mins a day across all your social platforms. Always respond to any comments. Follow back anyone who is interested in the same things that you are or if it is a business that is creating something of interest to you. Try and comment where you can! Because people are less likely to comment these days, comments always make more of an impact.
(Photo: Stefan Stefancik)