Developing a personal brand is critical to advancing your career and growing as a leader. But it’s not just about self-promotion or simply being on social media. It’s dedicating time to defining yourself as a leader and how you want to be known both in and out of the workplace.
In our digital world, information about you is just a few clicks away. That’s why it’s more important than ever to develop your personal brand. Why leave your professional reputation to chance when you can manage your own image?
Building a personal brand is about creating an image for yourself for how you want to be viewed by employers and people in your industry. Whether you are a recent college graduate or looking to advance in your career, your personal brand will determine your success going forward. So here are some ways to develop and grow your personal brand.
Create a strategy
Just like a corporate brand, every branding session begins with a strategy. You need to know where you’re going before you can get there. Take the time to review your strengths. Here are some questions to consider:
- What are your goals?
- What’s your mission or vision for yourself?
- What are your personal values?
- What skills do you offer that make you valuable?
- How do you describe yourself?
- Do you specialize in any particular industry? What’s your niche?
The most critical part of developing your brand is to be authentic. By creating your brand around what you’re passionate about, you’ll find it easy to find ways to continue to strengthen your brand throughout your career.
Promote your brand online
In a world where everything is going digital, it’s important that you portray yourself well online. Employers will most likely Google your name before they even meet you to determine if you get an interview. Here are the essentials to promote your brand as best as possible online:
LinkedIn – Your profile should be at All-Star profile strength. Be active in groups that are related to your career field and follow corporate brands that put out valuable content.
Twitter – Having a professional Twitter account helps build thought leadership and connects you with other successful leaders. It also helps when speaking at a conference to utilize hashtags and increase your brand awareness.
Blog / Website – Depending on your expertise, you should have a website or blog. A website is a good way to show your work if you have a portfolio (i.e. designer, architect, etc.). A blog provides a way for someone to develop thought leadership in their field or niche. By creating valuable content, you will establish credibility and begin to grow as a thought leader.
While social media can help with growing your personal brand, it takes more than online branding to build recognition and credibility with your audience.
Write or speak out
Not only do you need to be online, but having a presence offline is important as well. Speaking at conferences is one of the best ways to grow your network and establish yourself as an expert in your industry.
If you don’t necessarily like speaking in front of large groups, try running a lunch and learn series with smaller breakout groups. Another way to is to write a book or eBook or make a video. This allows people to hear your expertise without having to make a speech.
Your personal brand won’t grow by just going to work and home every day. You need to get involved in the community in order to strengthen your brand. Ways you can do this is involve being on the board of a company, volunteering for a non-profit or attending networking receptions. Be sure that organizations and events you attend work toward your goals and mission that you established in your strategy.
Creating, developing and managing your personal brand require a tremendous amount of work and require you to work at it every day. Your brand will continue to change and develop as you go through you career. As long as you dedicate time and energy to it, you will grow as a leader and be successful in your endeavors.