Question: What do photographers, wellness coaches, small business owners and freelance creatives have in common? Answer: They all benefit from building a strong personal brand online. Why? Because potential clients, partners and customers will likely conduct an online search to find out more and verify professional authenticity before reaching out.
In other words, a personal brand speaks for you online. It is more than a first impression; it’s key to becoming an influencer in your industry. Developing a personal brand is now make-or-break for business and your reputation. Here’s how to do so step by step.
Establish a Personal Platform
First, stake your claim online using tools like a personal website builder. Using a platform with templates allows you to focus less on complicated web design and more on creating a website that truly represents you and your work. Everything from the domain name to the photographs and website copy helps shape your brand.
In 2016, mobile device browsing overtook desktop browsing for the first time. Since then, the popularity of smartphones and tablets have only boosted the prominence of mobile internet usage. That’s exactly why utilizing a personal website builder that’s mobile-friendly is key in this day and age.
Cultivate a Social Media Presence
Besides a personal website, people will inevitably look for your pages across social media networks—including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and more. These platforms will allow you to post content, interact with followers and promote your services.
While growing a social following is a crucial part of modern branding, engagement metrics alone do not tell the entire story. Yes, likes, comments, and shares are useful indicators to track over time. But it’s important to promote genuine interactions above all. Use your pages to start discussions. Answer followers’ questions and address their comments in a timely manner. Reach out to other professionals to establish lasting connections.
Become a Thought Leader
A thought leader, according to one Entrepreneur contributor, is “someone whose views on a subject are taken to be authoritative and influential.” In order to accomplish this feat, you’ll need visibility, engagement with your audience and a unique point of view within your industry.
Your website and social media pages are tools to get your branded expertise out into the world. In addition, you’ll want to maintain a blog so people can easily consume your longer-form content. Over time, your name will become synonymous with “expert” in people’s minds—as long as you’re producing valuable content and maintaining a consistent online presence.
Grow Your Brand Persona
Flexibility will help you successfully grow your brand persona over time. As you gather feedback and get better at your craft, you’ll be able to hone in on what you can offer. Don’t be afraid to adjust as you go. As long as you’re passionate and knowledgeable about what you’re doing, others will be too. Keeping an open mind means you’ll probably outgrow what you envisioned on day one, and that’s perfectly healthy. Growing your persona also means keeping up with industry and segment current events as they emerge. Long story short: Never get complacent.
A personal website builder and some social network tutorials will help you establish the foundation for your brand. From there, it’s all about connecting and collaborating online and in person. The ultimate goal is thought leadership within your field.