‘If I lost control of the business I’d lose myself–or at least the ability to be myself. Owning myself is a way to be myself.’ – Oprah Winfrey

People love to interact with other people, instead of brands with seemingly no face, or human touch to them. Having a strong personal brand not only elevates your status and reputation within your professional community but can also open doors to new deals, partnerships and opportunities. All founders and business leaders should strive to build a personal brand, as it helps to bring the company into the spotlight and makes it easier to market and promote it. A leader with a strong presence online can help push the business towards greater success.

So how do you establish your personal brand?

1.Create your personal Brand Vision!

Businesses create vision and mission statements. Creating a personal brand begins much the same way by creating a personal vision, it is what separates you from the rest of the world.

Decide who you are by identifying the unique aspects of your personality! Decide what you do you aim to achieve in life and build up your credibility. Think of the legacy you want to leave, and which values you want yourself to be associated with. Get professional photos done, write up or get help in writing your personal story.

2.Define your Target Audience

Once you have your vision, the next step is to determine who your target audience is. Most professionals are selling something to someone. If you’re looking for a job, you’re selling yourself to a potential employer. If you want to start your own business, you’re selling yourself to potential clients.

If you get this part sorted out, you’ll be able to brand yourself even better.

3.Create Social Media profiles

Choose one or two social media platforms that sit well with your industry. Fill out your profile details thoughtfully and completely. Social media is all about sharing and building communities. Become an active contributor. Help others if they pose a question or a concern. Share your thoughts and opinions (responsibly and respectfully) on current matters of relevance. Create content that is consistent with the persona you want to achieve.

4.Become an expert

Publishing content is an excellent way to establish your thought leadership. Being a consistent creator of high-quality content confers influence and following.

You can choose to publish on a variety of platforms:

  1. Social Media (such as LinkedIn’s publishing platform)
  2. Create your own website
  3. Publish on blogging platforms such as Medium
  4. Become a contributor to an established publication.

Apart from publishing articles and blog posts, you can also record podcasts or start a Youtube channel. The idea is to be consistent and choose a platform you are comfortable with.

5.Speaking engagements

Being invited to speak at conferences and seminars can be a huge boost to your personal branding. Embrace them wholeheartedly and see your social capital rise. Jerry Seinfeld had famously said, “according to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death”. It’s a fact that public speaking doesn’t come naturally to most people, but practice and preparation can overcome all. Start with a small group, and do bigger talks as you gain confidence.

6.Stay polite and thoughtful

It’s easy to get carried away and to be mean to people when you don’t actually see them. There is a tendency on social media to say things which we wouldn’t normally say to a person’s face. Comments can hurt if they are spiteful or insulting. Keep the human touch, just like you would in a face-to-face scenario.

7.Network, network, network!!

It may be a cliche, but it’s true that you get what you give. If you help and support people, they will help you back. We all focus on our families and ourselves. For establishing quality professional relationships, you need to give to the people that you want to connect with, be it in the form of endorsements, referrals, introductions or advice and mentorship.

There you have it! We’ll leave you with this parting quote from Oscar Wilde:

‘Be Yourself. Everyone else is already taken.’


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