Face time is valuable when you’re building your personal brand. Running into people at the company café or water cooler, popping your head into a colleague’s office, running into your boss on the elevator, and having an impromptu conversation with a decision maker are like valuable deposits into your personal brand bank. It’s not easy to replace those human, look- each-other-in-the-eye connections.
But we’re living in a time where handshakes are forbidden and we must stay at least six feet away from others. Of course, that’s if you even find yourself in the same physical space. For most people in the corporate world, the three letters that describe their current situation are WFH.
So when it comes to personal branding, the question is: How can I build my brand when I’m working in my living room and everyone I work with seems far away?
Well, not to worry. There are many ways to contribute value, get noticed and be acknowledged even when you’re socially distanced and feeling a bit isolated. These four actions will help you grow your personal brand no matter how isolated you are:
1. Leverage Social Media
When you use social media to build your thought leadership, you deliver value to others and become known as an expert in your field. That helps build your brand credibility both inside and outside your organization. Often, the external renown you create with your peers translates into power and influence internally. If you’re new to working from home, you were just given the gift of time. The minutes or hours you used to spend commuting can now be devoted to building your virtual brand. It’s time to start your own LinkedIn blog, YouTube channel or podcast. Choose the format that you enjoy and pick a vehicle that helps you reach the people you seek to influence.
2. Become A Video Star
When you use the 26 letters of the Roman alphabet to communicate, you’re truly limiting your ability to express yourself. In fact, according to Albert Mehrabian, words only account for about 7% of a communication. When you use video, you deliver a complete communication — including body language, intonation, and tone of voice, letting you deliver a more accurate and compelling message. So how can you make video your go-to personal branding platform?
- Set up your makeshift at-home studio where you know the sound is good, the lighting is right and what’s behind you is not distracting. Then, make all your meetings Zoom, Skype or FaceTime meetings. If you’re the meeting leader, set them up that way; if you’re a participant, encourage the leader to make it a video meeting. Then, be your best professional self during meetings. Show up on time, look the part and don’t multi-task. Most people aren’t skilled at participating in video meetings, making it even easier for you to show up as the star.
- Use video to stand out. When you have something to say that needs to command the attention—of, let’s say, your boss—send a video message instead of an email. We are bombarded with email so it’s hard to get your message noticed. When you use video, you cut through the clutter and send a subtle message that there’s something different about this communication. Sometimes, the medium is the message.
- Create video updates for your team. If you want your people to pay attention to what’s going on, create regular team updates sharing the latest developments, what you see coming down the pike, and lots of acknowledgement for the great work of the members of your team. People are missing the human connection they experience in the office; a video message from you will be more connective and emotionally engaging than a boring email.
3. Appoint Yourself A Leadership Role
If some or all of your team is working from home, some for the first time, they’re likely struggling a bit to find their groove. Be the person who helps make it easier for them. Communicate what’s going on in the company, provide best practices for WFH, share a funny story—do anything you can to help make WFH more enjoyable, productive and fun. When you step up during unexpected and uncertain times and show yourself as a leader, you’re scoring a big win for your personal brand.
4. Be A Digital Brand Steward
When you become the person who engages in what your company is sharing with the world and become actively involved in making that content more visible, people take notice—people who count. Brand stewards move themselves outside the normal hierarchy of an organization. They become more aware of what’s happening outside their department or division, and they commit to making the company’s brand more visible to members of their professional community. It demonstrates your loyalty and shows that you’re a bigger, more strategic player who’s engaged outside your domain. And, it gives you some content you can use to stay regularly visible to your peeps. So share the relevant content your company is posting on their social channels with your community of connections, friends and followers.
Feature Image Credit: GETTY
William Arruda is the cofounder of CareerBlast and author of Digital YOU: Real Personal Branding in the Virtual Age.