Personal branding is a must for an entrepreneur who wants to really connect with others and build recognition as an expert in a certain field. But establishing a personal brand takes time and can sometimes be confusing. So how can you expand your personal brand in a way that adds value right away?
1. Engage with like-minded people where they are.
We hear all the time about how we’re supposed to engage with customers and how we have to connect with like-minded people, yet the reality is that few do it. If you want to grow your brand by establishing yourself as an expert on a topic, you have to be actively engaging with people who are interested in the same subject.
So, how do you do this exactly? Get on Twitter and search for people tweeting about topics that you have knowledge of. Then, engage with those people by tweeting them back with your opinions, thoughts, or advice. It’s as easy as that. The only rule here is to refrain from using this as an opportunity to advertise your company or promote yourself. If you focus on establishing relationships, they will organically learn about you or your company.
2. Find the platform that’s right for you and push out content.
If you want to have a great personal brand, you have to start with the basics: a website with information about you, a Twitter account where you engage with people, and a Facebook page where you can connect with “fans.” Those three things are the foundation of your online presence. After you have those three things working for you, it’s time to move on to what I call the next steps.
To build an audience, you have to go beyond your website, Twitter, and Facebook. You need to find the platform that works best for you by finding out what you’re good at, whether it’s writing (blogging) or speaking (podcast or web show). Once you determine which platform is best for you (and it can be more than one), you need to start working on producing and pushing out content. People who enjoy your content will eventually trust your quality and pay you in the future if you choose to write an eBook or provide a similar service.
3. Be real and show genuine care for people.
We are naturally repelled by those who seem fake and insincere. My advice is to be real! Take the time to respond to and have conversations with people; be a genuine person. If people don’t like the “real” you, you’re going to have trouble sustaining a following based on a “fake” you. Plus, allowing people to get to know you as you truly are carries much more impact on you, your brand, and your business.
4. Network (offline) like crazy.
Interacting with people on the Internet will never be as valuable as interacting with people in real life. You can’t honestly build a relationship with someone by sending 140-character messages back and forth. That is why it’s time to get up from behind the screen and start meeting people offline. Attend conferences, trade shows, meetups, and any other industry-related event you can find. The like-minded people will be there, and you can build an in-person relationship even faster than you can online. Take advantage!
Personal branding is all about showcasing an authentic version of yourself and talking to others in an attempt to get to know their genuine selves as well. While personal branding can be confusing and time-consuming, it’s easy if you focus on the real point of it all: people. Go out and start a conversation – it can only end in learning something about yourself and someone else.
Stephen Perkins is a young entrepreneur, blogger, and aspiring speaker from Houston, TX. He founded a digital media company, LittleAlien Media, in 2011, and he currently serves as the editor-in-chief of ReactrMag. He loves connecting with people via his Twitter and Facebook accounts.