How Can I Develop My Personal Brand?
When your starting your own business or trying to advance in your career, it’s important to understand you represent a brand. Companies like Apple, Chick-fil-a, BMW, or Wal-Mart automatically bring specific images to mind. Also, consider the way you like—or can’t stand—a certain celebrity based on how you perceive them as a person; brands don’t only pertain to businesses, but people as well. Whether you want to accept it or not, there’s absolutely no way to separate your personal and professional brands.
Here are three areas you can focus on to manage and promote your brand:
1. Your Appearance and Attire
What does your appearance say about you? Remember that getting up and getting dressed isn’t just reserved for the days you go into the office. In today’s society, any place in which you set foot has the potential to produce an ideal client, business partnership or new contract. Do you enter each day expecting opportunities to come your way? If so, there’s no such thing as just “running out.” You never know who you might run into. You may not always be aware of it, but there’s always someone watching you who has the potential to bless you.
2. Your Social Media Profiles
What do your tweets, pictures, and status updates say about you? People who may want to do business with you are searching far beyond your LinkedIn profile. Yes, we see your crisp collared shirt and blazer on LinkedIn, and yes, you’ve managed to scrape together a pretty impressive paragraph or two about your experience, but consumers are smarter these days. Potential clients and employers will check out your social media activity. Be careful what you post or tweet. We know the truth about you exists in your late night tweets and the Facebook albums you refuse to restrict to friends and family. As far as we’re concerned, that’s the real you. At the end of the day, potential clients and employers alike want to do business with you, not your LinkedIn representative!
3. Your Associates and Extracurricular Activities
What do your friends say about you? Again, accept it or not, your network determines your net worth. Period. When you’re out and about, who do people see you hanging out with? Whatever perception others have of your associates, they may begin to have of you. If you’re investing a lot of time in folks that aren’t going where you desire to go, then you’re wasting a lot of time and setting yourself back. Make sure you’re seen at networking events relevant to your industry. Invest your time in people and activities that support your dreams and goals and put you in front of and around people who have brands that can lend credibility to the brand you’re developing.
While checking your privacy settings and hiding your cousin’s kitten-themed birthday e-card from your timeline, don’t forget that social media is a great way to network and promote yourself. Join Facebook or LinkedIn groups that are industry-focused, or promote your brand or product by “liking” or following other professionals or businesses on social media. Who knows, they might return the favor! Building your personal and professional brand takes time and a little maintenance, but it ultimately sets you up for success.