About 90 percent of all startups fail within their first five years of doing business, which makes even the more promising ones somewhat less trustworthy. So, if they can’t trust people or brands, what is there for an average customer to rely on? The people behind them, of course. By demonstrating your own professionalism, abilities, and reliability, you can set the mind of your customers at ease and make them trust your entire corporate brand a bit more. Still, establishing a personal brand and asserting yourself as a niche authority is far from easy. Here are several tips to help you out.
The first thing you need to understand is the power of networking and personal relationships for your business reputation. During corporate events and seminars, you should try to connect with people on a personal level and that means actively listening. Think about it, deep down inside, people are more interested in their own needs than yours, so, by accommodating them by patiently listening and even offering some sound advice, you’ll provide a favor they won’t likely forget. After all, Robert Brault once said that charisma isn’t just saying hello, but dropping whatever you’re doing at the moment in order to say hello. This is a principle you should abide by, both online and offline.
Use social media to put yourself out there
You should also look into the power of social media in creating your image. Think about it, when people first hear of you in 2018, they are much more likely to look you up on social media than they are to google you. For this reason alone, you need to be A) omnipresent and B) extra careful about what you upload and post on your social media profiles. When it comes to omnipresence, there’s no excuse for missing out on a major network like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn. On the other hand, you also might want to register on Snapchat and Pinterest.
Some platforms allow only a profile picture, which is why you need to utilize it to the best of your ability. For instance, in order to portray yourself as a team player, you might want to use personalised products with the company’s logo (usually a mug or a t-shirt). On Facebook and YouTube, you can even use a cover with your corporate color, logo or company name. If there’s space for you to place a bio, you definitely need to seize this opportunity.
As for being extra careful, whenever there’s a controversial topic online and a prominent figure takes a stance, there’s always someone to dig up that tweet from 2011, where they slightly contradict themselves. In other words, when putting yourself out there, you need to understand that whatever gets uploaded online is there forever. Even if you delete what you just posted, there’s a chance that someone already has a screenshot on their HDD waiting to use it at the first opportunity.
Start your own blog
Blogging is in full honesty the best way for you to share your opinions. Social media posts are restricting, seeing as how people seldom read long statuses (unlike blog visitors, this is not what they’re here for) and some platforms limit the number of characters you can use per post. With a blog, you have all the space in the world, as well as a very receptive audience. As for the blog itself, it needs to be responsive, well organized and have a plethora of internal links, so that your audience gets a breadcrumb trail that allows them to discover as much content as possible.
Be (almost) yourself
Finally, when addressing your audience, regardless of the network or circumstances, you need to make sure to avoid corporate jargon and cliché phrases as much as possible. Sure, your audience might not be there to listen to details of your personal life, but they do want to know what you as an individual feel like on certain topics. This means presenting your own values, priorities and sharing your own opinions. Developing a genuine online persona, even if it doesn’t match you personally with a 1:1 ratio, is the only way to get through to your audience.
At the end of the day, personal branding isn’t the same as making a couple of social media accounts and posting several of your opinions online. It is a marketing project and, as such, it cannot be 100 percent genuine, spontaneous and script-free. Like we said in the previous paragraph, you’re using a persona and it’s your job to make it as appealing to your target audience regardless if it’s customers or potential employers it’s aimed at.