The concept of personal branding in the B2B world is something that cannot be taken lightly.
In today’s highly competitive market, businesses must find any opportunity they can to not only attract customer’s attention but also convince them to convert. Unfortunately, since some companies are willing to do whatever it takes (including adopting some rather unsavory and/or illegal practices), client trust in B2B entities has declined.
However, studies do show that consumers are far more likely to trust a message when it comes from an individual, rather than a brand itself. Simply put, humans relate better to other humans than they do with companies. That being said, establishing a strong personal brand is essential for building strong connections with clients. Therefore, if you want to make it in the B2B world, your personal brand matters.
In a B2B company, this requires a very layered approach. Let’s talk about how you can create a strong personal brand that instantly communicates your industry savviness.
1. Look Professional on Paper
One of the major byproducts of this current age of social media and always being connected is the emphasis on transparency. You can learn a lot about a person’s history and experiences with just a few simple clicks and Google searches, so keeping your resume and portfolio up to date is essential to creating a perception of expertise.
In the professional world, LinkedIn has made it incredibly easy to publically present skills, experience, and develop a personal brand by sharing your knowledge. This can do wonders to attract new project opportunities and help you build professional connections that could be quite profitable.
Going beyond social media, many business leaders these days make it a point to showcase their professional resume. Elon Musk’s is a prime example. If you choose to do this, the document needs to be visually appealing, concise, and flawless. Using a well-developed template site like Resumonk allows you to refine your credentials with a wide variety of professional templates and formats. You can create multiple resumes depending on your focus, and you can easily update and adjust the information as needed within the site.
Maintaining an accurate and professional looking resume is not just important for when you are actively seeking a new opportunity. Since this can easily be the first professional impression that you will make with customers, clients, or business connections, you need to make sure that it is impressive and showcases your experience in the best possible light.
2. Make Social a Top Priority
While LinkedIn is often the first social media platform that comes to mind as a B2B professional, other social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can also be utilized to establish your personal brand. More and more business authorities are turning to these traditionally individual social sites when researching a B2B company.
According to a LinkedIn report, employees within a business have significantly higher engagement rates, and further message reaches than brand accounts do, so it is important to utilize your social media presence to your advantage as you build a personal brand. Your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts are excellent networking platforms for you to share quality content with niche communities and make personal connections.
The key here is engagement; it is the best way to build influence within social networks and get your message across to wider audiences. Make sure your posts are not only insightful but highly shareable.
Another important tip to keep in mind here is to keep the line between personal life and personal branding quite clear, especially if you are acting as a brand advocate for your business. You may want to create a separate account for your professional social media so that you can share your personal content separately and avoid any mixed messages.
3. Get Proactive in Communities
The most important ingredient to a healthy and successful personal brand is the connections you have with others. It’s not just about what you know; it’s whom you know, too. The good news is that personal accounts are far easier to connect with than business ones.
Focus on becoming proactive in your networking strategies – as you will often have to make the first move as you get the ball rolling. Attending industry networking events or business conferences is a great starting point to help you meet more people within your niche. If writing is your strength, try your hand at guest posting and submitting your content to popular blogs and online magazines. You can even contribute to forums about your areas of expertise or volunteer to be interviewed on podcasts or YouTube channels that reach your network.
The most important thing with networking is to make sure that every move you make is genuine to yourself and the B2B business brand you are representing. Try to avoid adopting the mindset of only looking for how connections can solely benefit you. Instead, look for ways that you can connect with other people and help them grow and learn. This will help you create the kind of personal brand that attracts real, meaningful connections.
4. Track Your Influence
While your branding efforts do need to be sincere if they are going to make a significant impact, it does not mean that you shouldn’t be strategic about them. Marketing teams diligently track their advertising content’s reach and ROI to determine how their brand is doing, so you will need to do the same if your personal branding efforts are going to make any difference.
Online tools can help you track your personal brand in much the same way that businesses do and allow you to focus on specific social media audiences to help you increase engagement. For instance, Followerwonk is used specifically for Twitter to provide deep insights into your followership, including social authority and demographics. This tool is great to use for social campaigns, particularly with influencers because it provides recommendations for connections and tracks growth along the way. Additionally, HowSociable is a great resource to keep tabs on your social influence (as well as that of your competitors). This tool compares stats from twelve social sites and shows which ones could use more attention to better reach your followers.
Personal branding is a serious undertaking that will require dedication, perseverance, and planning. Stay aware of your online behavior and reputation, as in today’s highly connected culture, every move you make online can be beneficial or detrimental. Be proactive about your efforts and be vigilant about tracking the results.
In any sort of B2B marketing, the goal is to prove that you are an expert that stands above all other experts in your field. Being as how we are living in a world where everyone is constantly connected, companies across the board are wise to put a face in front of their brand.
Establishing your personal brand in the B2B industry is an intimidating task; however, the rewards can be astounding for both you and your business. Customers are looking for personal connections with professional entities. By creating an approachable yet impressive brand about yourself, you can provide just what your clients are looking for.
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