You might have a strong brand for your business and a strategy in place for building brand awareness, but what are the benefits of personal branding for your business?
People work with people. That’s something I always say. No one wants to do business with someone they don’t know.
Would you trust an imagined person behind a logo? Or would you trust someone more if you could see their face and hear their voice?
As an entrepreneur, you can help people get to ‘know’ the person behind a strong brand simply by using your social media channels the right way. Your personal brand is your key to building trust and giving your brand awareness the boost it needs to reach the right people.
Why is personal branding important for growing a business?
How many people out there do we follow on Instagram whom we somehow feel we know personally? You’ve probably had a glimpse into their lifestyle – what they do for work, what their hobbies are and what their values are. As humans, we’re naturally curious about that stuff.
And when you’re looking to buy something, you’ll naturally want to know who you’re dealing with. Can you trust them? Do your values align with theirs? Do they know what they’re talking about?
Personal branding brings people in. It fosters a sense of trust and a feeling of ‘knowing’ someone already, be it through email newsletters, social media or a website.
Branding yourself contributes directly to business growth. Remember, you’re the brains behind your business and much a part of it as the logo, strapline and the product or service you’re proud to promote.
It might sound daunting at first, especially if you don’t have a marketing background, but building a personal brand doesn’t need to be complicated. It simply means showing up as your authentic self and becoming the recognisable face of the business that your target audience can connect with.
Here are some of the key benefits you can reap from taking some small but simple steps to develop your personal brand.
1. Establish authenticity and connection with your customers
Let’s be honest: a faceless conglomerate is not somebody a potential customer is going to trust straight away. Start by making a list and ask yourself:
- “What are my values?”
- “How can the product or service I provide help to make people’s lives better?”
- “Do I have any personal success stories I can share or successful case studies from those I’ve worked with?”
Social proof is one of the most powerful ways to influence people to take positive action. It’s why, according to Wyzowl, 95% of people say that reviews, positive or negative, influence their purchasing decisions. Say, for example, you’re in the process of looking for some new CRM software for your business. Would you make a booking with the first website you land on?
Or would you seek out reviews and recommendations from others to ensure the investment is worth it?
Use your personal brand – whether that’s your Linkedin, Instagram or YouTube depending on where your potential customers hang out – to share your success stories and talk to others about how your business has helped them.
People want to know how you help people. They want to know how your clients feel and how they benefit from your services. They want personal stories – yours and your clients’. As a life coach for business owners, I do this by posting content on my YouTube channel and chatting to entrepreneurs about their successes on my podcast. I don’t make this overcomplicated – I simply share valuable information and wisdom through the channels people look to first.
If you can offer value first, people will remember you later, even if they’re not quite ready to buy yet.
Your personal social media is also a great way to build connections and a sense of community. Ask questions and involve your followers in discussions, then remember to take time to reply to the comments. Building relationships with your audience can turn strangers into loyal customers over time, purely on the basis of trust.
2. Increase your brand awareness
Good brands are distinctive. They communicate their values well and are consistent in what they say and how they present themselves. These form a brand personality and brand identity. The result is that they attract loyal followers and advocates – which is great news for your business growth and brand awareness.
You’re likely not the only business out there in your industry, so you need to be able to stand out from the crowd and show people why they should choose your business, rather than a competitor’s. Large businesses can sometimes end up having a cold, distant tone to them, making it harder to connect with the humans behind the brand.
However, when using your personal brand to its full potential, you have the chance to truly be real. This authenticity breeds visibility. To put it bluntly, people are immune to bullshit, right? With so many social channels, we’re bombarded constantly by noise and it can get a bit tiring when you just want to scroll your social media feed after a long day. You know what I’m talking about – those annoying ad pop-ups that get us reaching for the ‘x’ button. We don’t connect with them because they disrupt our experience. We probably don’t even remember the brand or what they were advertising.
Sharing your personal brand where your customers are already looking for solutions means you’re bringing value to them right when you need it. And when you get a like, share or comment on a channel like Linkedin for example, that then increases your reach to their network (and not just those that follow your company page). The likelihood is that their connections are looking for similar solutions, so you’ve already opened to door to hundreds of other potential customers who can benefit from what your business offers.
The more engagement you get on your personal posts, the more the algorithm will show them beyond your own network, positively impacting your brand awareness.
And the more visible you become, the more opportunities you create for yourself as the trusted expert behind the brand.
3. Create a great first impression
What impression are you making on those around you? Think about the following:
- Does your online presence truly reflect your values?
- When people come into contact with you, can they tell clearly what you’re all about?
- Do they buy into what you’re saying?
- Do they want to work with you?
In real life, if you arrive to meet a client all ruffled, unkempt and unprepared, I can guarantee it’s going to put them off immediately. Likewise, you wouldn’t turn up to an important interview in your pyjamas.
If you want to appear as the successful brains behind the business, you need to give the impression that you’re both professional and approachable as a persn.
What energy do you bring to those around you? Is this same energy reflected in your online presence?
It’s such a pervasive pitfall to leap ahead and busy yourself working on your social media or website before you’ve done the work you need to do on yourself. In some cases, maybe it’s your lack of confidence that’s holding you back from knowing what you really want to say. If this is true for you, take a look at my post on how to increase confidence as an entrepreneur if you’re in need of a little pep talk.
Think of your digital presence as a tree: you are its roots. The trunk is your real-world ripple effect. And the branches are your online presence, reaching out to those around you. These branches are an extension of yourself.
In other words, your online presence should come from the heart and be in line with your mission.
What would you say to build rapport with someone in real life? How would you give advice or share your wisdom? What language would you use? Think about this before you launch into building your digital presence. Once that’s nailed, then you can think about all those extensions of yourself and create a memorable first impression – for all the right reasons.
4. Stand out from the competition
We live in an age of individualism, where we’re all fighting to be ‘unique’. There are fewer and fewer groups of people aligning with each other like there were in past decades (think punk rock or the sixties’ age of ‘free love’).
That’s good in a sense, right? Why should we want to be like anyone else?
Your business should offer something that improves people’s lives or at least makes life easier. You want to show that what you offer is the best possible solution for doing this.
To do this, you need to hone yourself down to the best of what you can offer people if you want to set yourself apart. After all, if people don’t like what they see, there will always be a competitor out there they can go to instead.
Put on your professional hat and think about what sets your business apart from the competition. What experience do you have that others don’t? What support can you offer? What’s your unique value proposition (USP)? If you have a team in your business, what are the areas of expertise within it that can be shared online?
If you’re struggling to get your personal brand right because you’re lacking skills in certain areas, don’t be afraid to outsource help from professionals. Seek out a good coach or consultant to get the best from their skill sets. Work with them until you’re happy that you have a brand that is personal, true to you, and feels good.
Put as much love into your personal brand as you do your business and watch your followers (and potential customers) grow.
Seek out advice on your personal brand
A little tip for you that’s easy to do (and that costs nothing) is to show your Instagram feed to someone else. Ideally, this will be someone who doesn’t already know you that well. Ask them: “What impression do you get from me by looking at my page?”
Is it consistent or are there areas for improvement? If your stream is a little disorientating, then maybe it’s time to revisit it.
If it’s consistent but is giving off a different vibe or suggesting something different to what you want, then it probably needs a bit of work.
However, if it’s consistent and enhances the image you’re trying to portray – brilliant. You’re on the right track and ready to go.
Consistency matters. It’s why content marketers make sure their brand voice and style are recognisable across all communications and social channels. And it’s what makes you and your brand distinctive.
You could even go as far as to send out a survey to a wider circle and see whether there’s any room for improvement. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback.
Only through honest feedback can you learn and improve.
Personal branding advice from an expert
There’s a beautiful quote that I love from Warren Buffet:
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.
If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
And it’s so true. Your personal brand, like your business, is a delicate creation. It’s important that you build it and nurture it with as much care as you have with growing your business.
With this quote in mind, we can say that the extension of your personal branding online is essentially ruled by word of mouth. And social media is word of mouth on steroids.
Think about how quickly the negative effects can take hold if someone tweets something about poor service from a brand. Everyone who sees that will know to avoid doing service with the business mentioned.
However, if someone raves about an excellent product or service, that’s powerful social proof for the business.
Your online presence can be skyrocketed to success or pulled down in a matter of minutes, so it’s absolutely key that you’re doing and saying the right things.
This doesn’t mean putting undue pressure on yourself or freezing up in fear. If you truly believe in your own values and in bringing the benefits of what you offer to others, you can encourage positive interactions that will help your business flourish.
Start building your personal brand today
Where do your target customers hang out? Are they scrolling Instagram for inspiration or are they looking for insights on YouTube or Linkedin? Perhaps you could engage them with a weekly newsletter with valuable insights and help them get to know you.
In the physical world, we might bump into ten or twenty people (maybe more) on an average day, depending on what we’re doing and where we work. But on social media, that gets amplified massively – we might ‘bump’ into 500 or 1,000 people within the reach of stories, posts, reels, etc.
Do the work on yourself first. Define what impression you want to make. Articulate your values in alignment with your business. Then gauge from others what impression you’re creating with your online presence.
If you want any help with building your confidence or defining your personal brand, that’s what I’m here for. I’m passionate about helping people like you reach their potential in both their personal and professional lives – drop me a line and let’s see what we can achieve together.
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely road for some, but everything’s a lot easier when you have a supporter by your side.