Your personal brand is your “professional reputation.” It’s affected by the way that you present yourself – your skills, knowledge and technical expertise – and how others (colleagues, clients, prospects and even personal connections) perceive you in return.
We recently held a web seminar on the topic of “Personal Marketing Strategies for Summer” where we shared ways to amplify your personal marketing activities. I’m going to touch on four ideas that you can try out immediately to start boosting your brand so that you can provide more value as a resource to existing clients, prospects and the your professional network. If you want to go deeper into the content than what I’ll share here, I’ll provide instructions for accessing the recording of that web seminar at the end of this post.
- Make a Specific Networking Goal
What organizations do you belong to? Do they reflect your professional and/or personal interests? Networking through your member organizations works best when you truly enjoy going to the events and meeting people with whom you have a common interest. So, if you cringe at the idea of next week’s social hour with your current organization, it’s probably time to look elsewhere. Replace that membership with another, more strategic choice. On the other hand, you might look forward to your organization’s next social hour, but it’s because all of your buddies will be there and you can catch up on golf or the latest episode of that TV series you love. If that’s the case and you are no longer meeting new people, it might be time to find a new organization or at least refresh your efforts to engage a broader audience.
Make a networking goal that you will meet or make significant progress toward by the end of this summer. Some examples might be:
- Joining one new organization that matches your interests and attending one event per month
- Making a point to meet two new people at each of your organization’s upcoming events
- Scheduling one personal meeting per month with different contacts from your organization and including another person from your firm
Depending on your professional experience, you have an arsenal of information, knowledge and expertise built up and just begging to be shared. Start writing! If your firm has a blog feed, ask to be a contributor. You can also use LinkedIn’s publishing platform. If your article is well-received, it could be included in their “Pulse News” section, meaning it will be accessible by a far wider audience than your own personal connections will provide. You might also check with various trade or NFP publications to see if they have a need for articles. You will most likely have to submit a sample piece and be open to their editing, but it’s a great way to get your name and your firm’s name in front of others. It also creates a shareable source – since you’ll have a link that you can share with your networks, on social media, and on your firm’s website.
If you don’t like to write, there are other ways to share content. Content aggregators like Paper.li create personalized e-newsletters by allowing you to select specific subjects of interest. You can then push your e-newsletter to your networks and can choose the frequency that you send them. Remember that the content should be relevant and interesting to your audience.
You might have topics that you’d like to write about, but don’t feel like you have the writing skills or the time to draft a well thought-out piece. Consider hiring a ghost writer. Many marketing companies offer ghost writing services that will have a writer “interview” you on a subject, asking all of the questions they feel are required to write a succinct article. Then, they will write the article and then send it to you for input and final clean-up. The end product will have your name as the author and you can share it in the same way you would your blog posts or e-newsletters.
Pick one avenue that you want to pursue and make a commitment to have produced shareable content by August 31st.
One way you can build your personal brand with existing clients is by getting to know them and their businesses better. Consider meeting with your top clients during the slower season (now!) and ask questions that help you learn about their industries, their unique challenges, any cycles or seasonality that affect their business and any other impacts on their success. When you show clients that you genuinely care, you build rapport and deepen the working relationship. As they start to realize that you can proactively solve the challenges they didn’t realize they had, answer their questions, and point them toward market opportunities that you feel they could capitalize on, they’ll perceive you as a trusted advisor and crucial to their business.
Start by choosing three clients to schedule an “out of cycle” meeting with. You could have lunch, coffee or invite them to an outing or other social event.
Social media is an awesome medium for building thought leadership. There are many platforms and each have their own benefits. For statistics and demographics of each platform, visit www.socialbakers.com and then choose one platform that you’re going to hone your skills using. Share interesting articles, industry updates, and news that pertain to your audience. And, if you decide to create content, it’s a perfect place to share it and reach larger networks.
You can expand your reach depending on the platform you’re using. For example, if you’re using Twitter, you can “tag” other Twitter users or subjects in your posts and it will place your Tweet on that person or subject’s feed. If I want to share a blog that my colleague Jennifer Wilson wrote and try to reach the largest audience possible, I would post something like this: “Loving “Why Do You Care Where I Work? Six Reasons to Go Virtual” by @JenLeeWilson #CPA #ROWE http://126.96.36.199/six-reasons-to-go-virtual/”
Now, if you type “#CPA” or “#ROWE” (which stands for “Results Only Work Environment”) in the Twitter search bar, you’ll find my Tweet. Be careful though, you don’t want to overuse hashtags in your posts – be strategic with your tags in posts.
Once you choose a platform that you’ll become an expert and frequent user of, set a number of times that you’ll post per week – and it should be at least three to keep a continued presence. Maintaining several social media profiles can get tricky - read my blog, “Wrangling the Social Media Monster” for tips on better managing your social media activities.
Set a goal to choose one social media platform and do two things:
- Post at least 3 times per week
- Increase your number of followers by a certain percentage (for example, 15% increase by September 15)
Then, as you become more comfortable posting regularly, you can consider creating that same goal for another social media platform.
If you want to learn more about these ideas and others that I didn’t include in this post, consider purchasing the recording of our personal marketing webinar here: http://188.8.131.52/news-and-events/recorded-webinars/. When you purchase one of our recorded webinars, you receive the recording, the presentation slides and any other tools that we mention during the session.
Each idea I’ve shared is simple to start. Choose one idea that you have the most interest in and get started. Let me know how it goes, your successes or challenges – I’d love to hear from you!