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Define Your Brand. Building a personal brand is the first step to develop thought leader status. Identify your purpose, strengths, values and passion. This is not about me, me, me — — it’s about your value to others. You need to understand your target audience as well as competition. What’s important to your audience? How can you solve their needs better than your competitors? Only then can you crystallize your expertise or niche and put your stake in the ground. My personal branding talks often begin with a question: “Who in the audience has a personal brand?” and am surprised at the small percentage who raise their hand. Everyone has a personal brand — positive, neutral, or negative — which defines them. Although it seems personal brands (and thought leadership) “just happen,” they don’t — the best ones take years and require an ongoing effort.

As part of our series about how to become known as a thought leader in your industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Stacey Ross Cohen CEO and founder, Co-Communications, Inc.

Stacey is an award-winning brand professional who earned her marketing stripes on Madison Avenue and at major television networks before launching Co-Communications, a full-service PR/Marketing firm with offices in New York and Connecticut. Stacey is also co-founder of College Prime, a company that provides social media and personal branding training to high school students to succeed with college admissions, internships, and beyond. She is a Huffington Post and Thrive Global blogger, TEDx speaker, and has been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, Crain’s, Sales & Marketing and other leading national media. She holds a B.S. from Syracuse University, MBA from Fordham University and recently completed a certificate program in Media, Technology and Entertainment at NYU Leonard Stern School of Business.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

I was born in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in a very entrepreneurial family. My parents had successful businesses of their own in the fashion industry and later years — real estate. I’ve always been a risk taker and love to take on new challenges. In fact, I started my first business at age 14 — — a home waitress service — — with my friend Jen. Driven to make more than the standard hourly babysitting rate, we placed an ad in the local newspaper with the headline: We Set, Serve & Clean upLet us help you at your next party. The only expense was the purchase of a white uniform bought second-hand. We ended up increasing our earnings by 500%…plus we were booked for months out with repeat business.

After a short stint in corporate (CBS and a division of Young & Rubicam), I started Co-Communications in 1997 in a spare bedroom of my house with no lofty goals — just to “do it better.” Our team of 15 incredibly talented individuals create high-impact communications programs for diverse clients in real estate, education, healthcare, professional services, non-profit and hospitality. I’m particularly passionate about real estate since I grew up in it and am also married to a real estate attorney. One of the projects that I’m most proud of is the 18-month communication campaign “Build the Bridge Now” to raise awareness about replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge with a new Hudson River crossing, the largest public works project in state history.

I’m extremely passionate about helping people “be” and communicate their best selves online and off and am currently working on a book project on personal branding. I live in Westchester County, New York and have two amazing daughters, one dog and one grand pup. I love spending time with my family, travel, movies, and am a die-hard Orange Theory fitness fan.

Can you briefly share with our readers why you are an authority about the topic of thought leadership? I havehelped build brands and thought leadership for CEOs, executives, and entrepreneurs across a range of industries for 25 plus years. I’ve been fortunate to study and tap into the expertise and wisdom of prominent thought leaders to see “what makes them tick.” I frequently write and speak on the topic of personal branding and thought leadership at universities, corporations, and industry conferences (and also am proud to wear the badge of a TEDx speaker). Besides being skilled at positioning an individual’s narrative in highly competitive markets, I educate them on the online/offline tools and techniques that produce thought leadership success.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

After college, I worked at an ad agency in HR which closely aligned with my “then” career objectives and education. I became mesmerized with the ads adorning the office walls and would constantly ask the creatives and account execs for the “why” behind the concept. I realized that this was my true calling — to bring words and images to life that tell a story. I moved on to take a position at CBS/FOX Video in the international marketing division and was lucky to have an amazing boss and mentor. Much of my day was spent gazing at spread sheets analyzing past performance and forecasting — — which I found interesting but lonely. I’d somehow always find my way to the PR department to find out what exciting campaign they were working on — — e.g., screening of a Mick Jagger video at a downtown hot spot. The PR department was eliminated and the woman who headed it up started her own agency, and upon chance meeting, she asked if I’d like to chat about a job opportunity. I was hired as a Senior Account Executive and CBS/FOX became my main client. PR was foreign to me and there were no You Tube videos or internet at the time. I just figured it out and quickly became the owner’s right-hand person. I saw the good, bad, and ugly of running an agency and this learning was priceless for starting my own agency.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I was managing the press at a world premier video screening for the Boston Celtics at Boston Garden when I worked with CBS. When an attendee approached me, I assumed he was there to cover the event and directed him to the press “pit.” A sales rep from the company elbowed me and whispered Stacey, “That’s the Boston Celtics’ coach.” I turned 10 colors of red but the coach and I became quick friends. Lesson learned: Research the key players prior to covering events!

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define what a ‘Thought Leader’ is. How is a thought leader different than a typical leader? How is a thought leader different than an influencer?

A thought leader is considered an authority on a particular subject matter or industry. They share their deep knowledge, insights and ideas with audiences through speaking engagements, media interviews and content development — — and have a truly distinct (sometimes disruptive) perspective which inspires innovative thinking in others. A leader, on the other hand,holds a dominant position within his or her field and sets direction for their team. Their success is usually measured against specific organizational objectives. One of my favorite leadership quotes is by Ronald Reagan:“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” An influencer can be a thought leader and vice versa. Where they differ is their motivation. Influencers typically seek fame and financial benefit from advertisers/sponsors who want to reach the influencer’s audience whereas “knowledge is power” for thought leaders.

Can you talk to our readers a bit about the benefits of becoming a thought leader. Why do you think it is worthwhile to invest resources and energy into this?

Establishing yourself as an expert in your field gives you a competitive edge and builds both mind and market share. When done right, you can reap many benefits — career advancement, higher salary, rewarding partnerships, new clients/business opportunities, and revenue growth.

Let’s talk about business opportunities specifically. Can you share a few examples of how thought leadership can help a business grow or create lucrative opportunities?

Consumers make purchase decisions based on an emotional connection with a brand or individual. In order for someone to engage or buy something — they need to know, like and trust you.. Since thought leaders humanize a brand and are perceived as credible sources, they (positively) influence purchase decisions which drives sales.

Ok. Now that we have that behind us, we’d love to hear your thoughts about how to eventually become a thought leader. Can you share 5 strategies that a person should implement to become known as a thought leader in their industry. Please tell us a story or example (ideally from your own experience) for each.

Define Your Brand. Building a personal brand is the first step to develop thought leader status. Identify your purpose, strengths, values and passion. This is not about me, me, me — — it’s about your value to others. You need to understand your target audience as well as competition. What’s important to your audience? How can you solve their needs better than your competitors? Only then can you crystallize your expertise or niche and put your stake in the ground. My personal branding talks often begin with a question: “Who in the audience has a personal brand?” and am surprised at the small percentage who raise their hand. Everyone has a personal brand — positive, neutral, or negative — which defines them. Although it seems personal brands (and thought leadership) “just happen,” they don’t — the best ones take years and require an ongoing effort.

Create a strategic roadmap. Throwing spaghetti at the wall simply does not work. It’s all too easy to jump into the tactics (e.g., creating a blog). You need to be both intentional and proactive and have a well-informed strategy. When we work with a new client to build thought leadership, we insist on starting with a plan which details objectives, target audiences, messaging, tactics and a 6–12 month timeline. It’s also a good idea to create a monthly content calendar to schedule what, when, where to publish. Align your content with trends and national holidays. For instance, if you’re a climate change expert, you may want to step up your content during Earth month (April).

Develop Content That’s Relevant (and Platform-Appropriate) Good is not enough — you need to create great content (curated and self-published) to capture your audience. Whether you develop articles, blog posts, ebooks, news releases, white papers or videos, make certain the content speaks to your audience. It is also important to be bold, share your point of view, and make industry predictions. Content is more than words; make use of striking visuals. Consider creating infographics to present data in a more digestible way. Also, showcase your value with a “wow” portfolio of client testimonials, achievements, success stories, and a professional bio/profile with headshot. Nothing matches the power of earned media to build thought leadership and brand recognition. I work closely with thought leaders to secure high-level media coverage — broadcast, print, online — — and then we cast a net far and wide.

Become your own news channel: Once you have great content, you need to deliver through a multi-channel approach (websites, speaking engagements, social media, blogs, e-newsletters, podcasts). Select channels that are in sync with who you are and reach your audience — — you can’t be on everything. Here’s the important thing to remember: Communications does not work if you turn up the volume and walk away — instead, you need a consistent drumbeat to achieve top of mind awareness. Speaking is a top tool to build thought leadership. Capture your speaking engagements and make sure to publish them on your website and social channels. Create a speaker’s bio and/or sizzle reel to further grow your opportunities within the speaking realm. I recently interviewed Ryan Serhant, a top-ranking real estate broker, author, and television personality (Million Dollar Listing New York) who recognizes the importance of educating and entertaining his audience. With 2 million plus social media followers, Ryan is an example of “broadcasting” at its best. He is a Forbes contributor, YouTube Vlogger, speaks at industry associations, and is frequently interviewed and quoted by national media. He is particularly proud of his new online course “Sell It Like Serhant” and media and entertainment company, Serhant Media Group, which allows him to have deeper content capabilities.

Grow Your Network. It’s been said that “Your network is your net worth” and there’s actually a great book written by Porter Gal with this title which shares best practices on how to establish and grow your online and offline connections. Networking is one of the most important investments you can make to grow your following. Engage and build relationships with mentors, influencers, and industry leaders. Consider joining a board or committee (both professional and community). Be social — — attend live networking events and be sure to connect with your new contact promptly via LinkedIn etc. I have organically grown my LinkedIn followers to 27,000 which has given me brand visibility, higher search ranking, and business/speaking opportunities.

In your opinion, who is an example of someone who has that has done a fantastic job as a thought leader? Which specific things have impressed you about that person? What lessons can we learn from this person’s approach.

I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote the book Eat, Pray, Love, and gave an inspiring TED Talk (which I’ve watched half a dozen times) called Your Elusive Creative Genius. She talks about creativity in a disruptive way contradicting the predominant view that creativity is a rare gift and contends that ALL of us have a genius within us. She shares her own personal creative journey and challenges her audience to find their own creativity. Her thought leadership status is well-deserved — she is insightful, visionary and is a sought-out authority and speaker on creativity. She also regularly delivers thought-provoking content through social channels and has a podcast in which she interviews famous creatives.

I have seen some discussion that the term “thought leader” is trite, overused, and should be avoided. What is your feeling about this?

I agree that it is overused. There are many individuals who call themselves thought leaders and they are not. You can’t just put the stake in the ground and say “I’m a thought leader in xyz” — — thought leadership is earned and requires time, effort and reinforcement plus a large and engaged following to help spread their insights and ideas. Ultimately, it is your audience who decides if you deserve thought leader status.

What advice would you give to other leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?

We need to “own” our days which are often ambushed by trivial “stuff” — — raising our stress levels and causing us to lose focus on our priorities. My simple advice is to avoid this by creating boundaries and saying “No” more….

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

#cando — — be a problem solver, not a problem spotter and continually challenge yourself

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Wayne Gretsky’s quote “Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been” is my all-time favorite. The need to be one step ahead in business has never been more important. If you continually look in the rear view mirror, you’ll soon be obsolete. Marketing is an art and a science and requires us to anticipate trends and be nimble to change a campaign’s direction in real time. Our client’s appreciate and benefit from the constant flow of forward-thinking ideas and technology that we bring to the table.

We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Richard Branson. I saw him headline a session a few years ago at Forbes 30 under 30 conference in Boston and I could have listened to him for hours….maybe days! He is incredibly insightful, funny, inspirational and authentic.

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Sourced from THRIVE GLOBAL

By Luke Lintz

A personal brand is how your accomplishments, personality and work are portrayed to others. The major difference between a business brand and a personal brand is that a personal brand is built around you, so it’s easy to connect on an emotional level with your audience. A business brand is built solely around showcasing your business services, offers, testimonials and track record, with very little emotion involved.

Branding shouldn’t be a battle of whether to have a personal or business brand, but how you can effectively grow both brands together. Something spectacular happens when your personal brand is bigger than your business brand and you can effectively refer people who have built trust with you to your company’s products or services.

My marketing agency specifically works on high-level personal and business branding. The most common question I receive from potential customers is: “What sort of ROI is associated with building a personal brand?” I always respond, “It’s priceless, and it takes at least 12-18 months to get there.”

I find this a funny question because I think everyone is capable of comprehending the long-term value of building proper personal and business brands, but so many people are stuck in short-term thinking. The ROI of branding is that it’s an enhancement to your current direct marketing efforts. The value comes in the long term with many different streams of revenue. For example, we had one client who grew his following on Instagram from 3,000 to 100,000 followers by posting consistent, quality content. Through an Instagram direct message, he was booked for a speaking gig that paid $25,000, with travel costs, hotel and food covered.

There are three main categories for your branding presence: your online presence, social media presence and local presence.

• A branded website, press, dedicated articles, features and a Google Knowledge Panel all play a role in your online presence and determine how you are portrayed on search engines.

• Consistent and high-quality content, your short bio, and the number of followers you have all play a part in your social media presence.

• How you are talked about with other people (when you are not around), or if you’re not talked about at all, is your local presence.

I dedicated the majority of my time to my clients’ brands until recently branching out and working on my own personal brand. I am now working heavily on growing my social media and online presence by publishing consistent, quality content about my main projects, working with major influencers around the world and publicizing it all.

If you are just starting out with your personal brand, regardless of industry or experience, you should ask yourself some of these questions:

• Who is your target audience?

• What do you want to be known for in 10 years?

• Who are some leaders in your industry, and what do their personal and business brands look like?

• How are you going to dedicate time each week to work on your personal brand?

There are more people online than ever. With such an overwhelming number of people in your industry or niche, how do you stand out? The answer is simple: There is no such thing as competition. There is no such thing as two of the exact same personal brands. If you’re able to stay consistent and are willing to invest your time and resources into your personal brand, you will be bound for success in the long term.

If you don’t currently don’t have a personal brand, here’s an action plan for getting your brand started:

1. Open social media accounts on two platforms. If you’re a business professional, you should have accounts on Instagram and LinkedIn. Don’t overwhelm yourself by starting on every platform available.

2. Next, collect all your professional photos. You don’t have to be in a suit, but the photos should be very high resolution. If you don’t have any photos, find a local photographer, and book a photo shoot as soon as possible.

3. Hire a graphic designer, and ask them to make social media banners, Instagram stories, and graphics for your Instagram and LinkedIn profiles from your professional photos.

4. Create a biography for your social media accounts. This is crucial because it’s the first thing your potential audience sees, and we all know how important first impressions are. Keep it short and concise. It shouldn’t focus too much on you, but on how you can help your customers.

5. Plan out a strategy to post consistent content about what you do.

After all of this is done and you post content day in and day out, you will eventually see returns that you can’t put a price on.

Feature Image Credit: Getty

By Luke Lintz

Owner of HighKey Holdings Inc.

Read Luke Lintz’ full executive profile here.

Sourced from Forbes

By William Arruda

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

By William Arruda

William Arruda is the cofounder of CareerBlast and author of Digital YOU: Real Personal Branding in the Virtual Age.

Sourced from Forbes

By William Arruda

Social media can be pretty intimidating for some people—especially those who tend to shun the spotlight and avoid self-promotion. That being said, there’s no denying that social platforms can and do allow individuals to build personal brands that afford them greater professional opportunities.

Having a robust social media presence is an asset to your long-term career growth. In a survey by recruitment platform Tallo, 87% of Gen Z respondents saw the career significance of online personal branding. These competitive young workers and employees-to-be are making it imperative for candidates of any age to up their personal branding game online.

No matter what career stage you’re in, you can use social media to your advantage to improve your personal brand. Here are three strategies that will help.

1. Look beyond LinkedIn

Most people assume that when it comes to career growth, the only social media platform worth spending time on is LinkedIn. This is a myth. While anyone who knows me has heard me tout LinkedIn as a crucial starting point (with over half a billion users worldwide!) there is real power in supplementing it—as long as your image and messaging remain consistent across all platforms and your goals are tailored to what each one does best. For instance, LinkedIn is indeed essential for delivering your digital first impression and expanding your professional network, but Twitter is ideal for sharing content you’ve published and starting a discussion. Should you have a professional presence on every major social platform? It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

Brian Freeman, CEO and founder of microinfluencer platform Heartbeat, believes it’s a mistake to overlook newer, trendy platforms like TikTok if you want to bulk up your audience. “TikTok makes it easier than any other platform to go viral and gain a new following, then pass that following on to other social media platforms where you have a presence,” he says. “Whether it’s Instagram, Twitch, Twitter, or YouTube, you can go viral on TikTok and gain thousands of new followers on a second platform at the same time.” Most social media users are active on multiple platforms. When someone decides to follow you on one, follow them back—and then follow them on a different app to win their views across social.

2. Publicize your expertise

“Thought leadership” is a term often used in the content marketing world to describe content produced by company executives aiming to position themselves as experts in an industry or topic area. It can take myriad forms, but its goal is always to reinforce the credibility of the brands (personal and corporate) that produce and byline it—and it’s typically quite effective. Good news: It can work for you, too.

While publicists pitch the media, asking journalists to write about their clients, thought leadership lets you become the author of that coverage, not just by publishing your content in traditional outlets but also by publishing it through social media. If you’re an expert at something, let the world know by sharing your knowledge and ideas. Speaking at conferences, serving on boards and interacting with journalists and other influencers in your field of expertise will of course allow you to learn from and teach others, and it will also get you acquainted with people who might be able to help you achieve personal and professional goals. But taking a proactive approach to sharing your expertise on social media shows the world that you’re open to professional interaction and eager to answer questions. Engage in group discussions, provide thoughtful commentary on relevant posts and make an effort to introduce others to helpful resources, and you’ll be surprised by the opportunities that come your way.

3. Advocate for your organization

You’re serious about your career, so you want to be taken seriously—whether that’s at your current company or at the one you aspire to join. Your social accounts, when consistently and professionally branded, provide a platform for your company or college to get some free PR, which can help with both sales and recruiting on their end. Plus, by painting your colleagues and cohorts in a positive light, you’ll cement your image as a team player who cares about your organization’s future. That’s something every employer wants to see.

Doug Wilber, CEO of Gremlin Social, a social media solution for banks, understands the power of social selling (branded content posted on employee accounts). “When employees share their positive work experience on their personal accounts, they become powerful recruiting tools that can draw in potential candidates and increase employee retention,” he says. In turn, employees also benefit from brand advocacy. When you have a credible personal brand online, your words carry more weight with potential customers and other external contacts, meaning you’ll likely have more success in your day-to-day role.

Social media scrolling doesn’t have to be mindless or unproductive. In fact, social platforms give you a way to create and seize opportunities that would have been off-limits just a decade ago. Start with the three strategies above, and you’ll be amazed to see how far your personal brand can reach.

Feature Image Credit: Getty

By William Arruda

William Arruda is the cofounder of CareerBlast and author of Digital YOU: Real Personal Branding in the Virtual Age.

Sourced from Forbes Billionaires

Sourced from Forbes

Whether you’re applying for jobs or seeking new business opportunities, building a positive personal online brand is key. Potential employers and clients may be researching your social media to get a sense of who you are, so it’s just good practice to present yourself in the best possible light.

The members of Forbes Coaches Council know the importance of developing your personal brand on the internet, and how to use that brand to stand out to your target audience. Below, this group of experts shared 15 steps you can take to build a personal brand that’s both positive and consistent.

1. Audit Your Existing Digital Presence

Conducting a social media audit is a key step in social branding. You should be auditing past posts to ensure that there are no questionable posts. Sites like BrandYourself.com can support this. You should also Google yourself and keywords associated with your brand and/or business to ensure that you come up in searches and the sites you want to highlight (LinkedIn, personal website) appear first. – Jasmine Briggs, Creatively Inspired Coaching

2. Bring Your Personality To It

Building your personal brand means showing who you are, not just what you know. Getting known for something that’s in your area of expertise that can transfer across channels is a strong start. But don’t forget to bring your personality to it. Consider your passions outside of work and the blend of skills and talents that make you stand out and integrate that into your feed. – Sheila Goldgrab, Goldgrab Leadership Coaching

3. Aim To Contribute

Social media just amplifies the brand of “you” that anyone who meets you in person would also experience. My advice is to aim to be a contributor. Ask, “What can I contribute today that will lift a spirit, let someone laugh, give hope to someone feeling hopeless or provide a practical tool that can benefit someone right away?” Authenticity comes through in social media as it does in person. – April Armstrong, AHA Insight

4. Know Your Strengths

When we know our strengths and come from that purview, we show up more authentically. We cannot be all things to all people or situations, and showing up from our genuine selves is unbeatable. This can be seen in our narratives, articles that we choose to highlight and people and companies we follow. – Sandy Lewis, Positive Shift Coaching

5. Go Where Your Prospects Are

To build a positive online brand, you have to be out there on the social media platforms your prospects and clients are using. Establish both personal and company profiles and pages, following best practices, and be sure they reflect your brand and feel engaging and authentic. Then post relevant content you think is interesting. Avoid being sales-y or over-focusing on your products and/or services. Deliver value. – Jennifer Wilson, ConvergenceCoaching, LLC

6. Use A Purposeful Filter

Everything you do on social media contributes to your personal online brand. With that in mind, be very deliberate and purposeful about every tweet, like, post, snap and blog. Ask yourself before you hit enter: Will this contribute in a positive way to my brand? Does this add or detract from the legacy I am creating? Would I want someone to read this about me 12 months from now? – Paul N Larsen, Find Your VOICE as a Leader ™

7. Identify And Communicate The Problem You Solve

A crucial part of personal branding is getting clear about the problem you can solve. If you don’t know, invest the time to figure it out. Don’t use generic fluff words to describe your strengths. Instead, get clear about one or two things you are dominant in and communicate that with consistency throughout your brand. Own your expertise and realize that it is what’s valuable to the market. – Jean Ali Muhlbauer, People at Work

8. Learn How To Engage In Difficult Online Conversations

When you become “internet active,” your opinions might trigger other people. No social media is free from haters. It is easy to lose composure and reply in a way that doesn’t promote your brand. Engage in strong discussions carefully. Try to label their emotions using inoffensive phrases like “It looks like you might…,” “It sounds like you would like to…,” and just kill them with your kindness. – Inga Bielińska, Inga Bielinska Coaching Consulting Mentoring

9. Request Quality References And Referrals

Have others toot your horn. Most of my business is based on referrals from current or previous clients. In my contracts, we require a video and written reference and quality referrals. We often repurpose the video testimonials when we want to promote a particular program. We have our clients post the reference on LinkedIn and speak directly to their experience and why others should work with us. – A. Margot Brisky, ELDA4U, LLC

10. Tell Stories That Help Other People

The world needs more people who openly talk about their ups, downs, successes, lessons learned and funny stories from their business and life. Don’t post to brag and to look impressive on social media. Don’t spread any gossip and negativity. Be human and create content to help other people. Make it about them. Remember: One post can change a person’s life. This should make you show up daily. – Dr. Natalia Wiechowski, Think Natalia

11. Find A Mentor

One practical step is to find a role model that demonstrates a positive personal online brand. Look through your contacts and see who is doing this well. Reach out to that person and ask them to advise you while you develop your social media presence and brand. Recently I’ve been working with a group of colleagues where we help each other evaluate our brand messages and how these show up online. – Cindy Stack, Whole-Life Leader

12. Run Your Posts Through The ‘Job Interview’ Test

If you’re in a job interview or phone screening call, would you feel free to communicate the content of your social media to the job interviewer? Typically what I post on social media I would have no problem communicating in a job interview. If you have to edit your word choices for the purpose of the job interview, then you may need to reconsider your word choices for social media. – Vince Morales, CPC, MCC, Zoe Transformation Coaching & Consulting

13. Know Your Narrative

What are the topics or themes you want to be known for? What kind of ideas or work really represent you —especially the “you” you’re striving to become? Human beings crave clarity, and to help others see you as you want to be seen, you need to know your own narrative, or story line, first. Then, only post, share and comment on items that are consistent with your narrative—resist the rest. – Darcy Eikenberg, PCC, Red Cape Revolution

14. Think About The Emotions You Want Your Audience To Feel

When branding oneself, particularly to be attractive to employers, consider the feeling you want them to experience when they see you on social. Not all emotions are created equal and that’s a good thing. Do you want them to have felt a sense that you are confident, warm, quick-witted, organized or any one of hundreds of other feelings? Start there and back into what you present and post! – Michele Davenport, MOSAIC COACHING SOLUTIONS

15. Create A Real Brand With A Tagline, Mission And Look

Think of yourself as a company. What is your mission (what you are up to)? What is your tagline (how you want to be remembered)? What does your brand look like (graphic representation)? Have your personal business card, social media headers, resume and email signature all match this message and look. – Christy Geiger MCC, CPCC, Synergy Strategies Coaching & Training

Sourced from Forbes

 

By Ryan White

These three value-driven strategies will improve your social media game and help you build a loyal following on Instagram.

Social media has taken this generation by storm. Nowadays, your online following is like your resume. Many millennials see your following and engagement numbers as equivalent to your overall credibility.

Even the big guys – Apple, Starbucks, Taco Bell and many more – have turned to social media as a way of business. They realize it is the future and the best way to reach young people today. Facebook ads, for example, made over $40 billion in total sales in 2017.

I truly believe that this new wave is only going to get bigger – and the people who build the largest brands over the next five years will not only make the most money but will create the most impact in the world.

We live in a time where anyone with an internet connection can earn a living. We are seeing the rise of digital entrepreneurs as we speak. That said, things have definitely changed when it comes to monetizing through social media.

The social media space is a nonstop evolution process. It’s no longer just about being active online or posting an ad for your business – it’s all about the brand. People only buy online from brands they trust and have an actual connection with. Too many people try selling before establishing a relationship with their followers, which doesn’t work like it used to.

I want to show you how to build a cultlike following of excited and engaged people from around the world so you can turn that into an income stream for yourself. We are going to focus on Instagram, as it’s the fastest-growing social media platform, with over 1 billion active monthly users and counting. Instagram allows you to simultaneously grow a brand on Facebook as well – another big perk.

To do this, as an example, I want to share with you three strategies that my friend and Instagram expert Alex Lombard and I are currently implementing to crush it in 2019 with our brands. These strategies work for both a business owner and an individual looking to create a presence on Instagram.

1. Build your personal brand.

The first strategy is to focus on building up your personal brand on Instagram. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done or what kind of business you own – the world wants to know you. Your buyers will arise and become more active when they see your face and hear your voice. It gives your potential customers the ability to build a real connection with you.

2019 is all about the rise of the personal brand. People are taking over industries by simply documenting their life through their Instagram feed. Things like starting a podcast, doing live videos and posting quality, value-driven content seem to be the winners moving forward on Instagram.

One powerful way to accomplish this is through what’s known as influencer marketing. This simple yet effective strategy made over $1 billion in revenue in 2017 and has helped millions of brands explode on Instagram.

The idea is that you reach out to major accounts within your niche market and ask them what it would cost for them to post your photo or video on their account, exposing their followers to you. You may even be able to collaborate for free in return for you promoting their brand on your account. It’s a common win-win tactic that, when used correctly, can take your brand to another level.

The key is to become known in your industry, to become the go-to expert in your specific field, and one of the best ways to do that is by building up your personal image online, particularly with Instagram.

2. Build an engaged following of people who love everything you do.

Having a lot of followers on the front end looks really good and is the starting point to establish yourself as a figure of authority. However, without a back-end following of truly engaged people, you won’t see true engagement or ever really sell anything. The goal is not only to establish credibility but also to build a culture with your followers so they listen and take action on everything you say.

There are many ways of doing this, but by far the most effective is the story feature on Instagram.

The first strategy of Instagram stories is to provide as much value as possible. Everyone on Instagram is trying to sell you something, but few provide any real value. Remember, no one cares what you know until they know that you care!

Find creative ways to do this. For just a few examples, you can give value by simply uploading motivational or inspiring content, sharing tips and tricks you have learned inside your niche or industry, or actually giving something of value away for free to your followers. E-books, courses, cheat sheets and video recommendations are all great and easy value-adds that people love to receive.

The second strategy for building a cultlike following through your story feature is showing your day-to-day life to your followers. This strategy is what allows your followers to really connect with you on a deeper level. An example of this would be you waking up in the morning and taking a video of you talking about how excited you are for the workday and sharing a tip about your morning routine. As dumb as it may sound, it works.

Another example would be you walking across a stage accepting an award for something. Your story is a peek into your actual life, and I recommend showcasing the good, the bad and everything in between. It shows you are human and allows you to not only establish some credibility with your followers but also connect with them. We live in a filtered world, and the brands that are raw and real will take the upper hand in 2019.

3. Create a clear message through quality posts.

Content is king on Instagram – on any social media, for that matter. One of the biggest mistakes that so many people make is that their content doesn’t portray a clear message in an effective way. If I click on your profile, I should know within seconds what type of brand you have, what niche you are in and what I will get by following your account. I recommend a few steps to achieve this:

  • Decide what type of brand you are building. Is it a fitness page? A sports page? A motivational quotes page? The best way to do this is by starting with whatever you are excited and passionate about. You can’t hit a target that isn’t there.
  • Design your content around that overall theme. If your page is all about health and fitness and the majority of your content is about your favorite Netflix show, you won’t make it far. Post content related to the story you are trying to tell people.
  • Follow a posting structure. I recommend making one or two columns on your feed the same style of photo. This provides clarity for your potential followers and structure for yourself as to what you post. An example would be two columns that show your personal life and what you are all about, while the third column is motivational quotes with a white background.
  • Quality content will make or break your account. You don’t need to live the filtered life, but you do need to make sure your content is sharp, high-quality imagery. Blurry images or video, for example, will push people away. Social media is a visual stimulus, so make sure your content sticks out to capture the short attention span of new followers.

At the end of the day, Instagram is all about clear, concise and quality content. Take some time to figure out what your brand is all about, and create a structure to paint that vision to your followers.

These three strategies work, plain and simple. The ones who apply them consistently over this year will be ahead of everyone else come 2020. Go and set yourself up for success in the new digital age!

To connect or mastermind with Alex or myself concerning social media tips and strategies, you can reach us on Instagram at our handles: Alex – @visionwall | Ryan – @ryanwhite

Feature Image Credit: Worawee Meepian / Shutterstock

By Ryan White

Ryan is a 7 figure digital entrepreneur, influencer, investor, press contributor, and speaker. Ryan founded the globally recognized social media marketing company Social Revelation which helps business and personal brands increase their digital footprint and brand awareness online. Ryan’s company manages the social media strategy for several seven to eight figure earners who are top performers within their industry. He has curated a personal online network around 500,000 people from all around the world. Ryan has also been featured on the award winning podcast “Entrepreneurs on Fire” hosted by John Lee Dumas and on the live television show “Good Morning LALA Land” in West Hollywood.

Sourced from business.com

By 

It is your unique combination of skills and experiences that make you who you are, and what others will recognize you for, so effective personal branding should differentiate you from other professionals in your field.

Effective personal branding is of pivotal importance, especially if it is essential to advancing your career. Therefore, one should be aware of what it is that you are communicating that may be preventing you from breeding a successful career.

Two critical factors result in effective personal branding: authenticity and credibility.

Authenticity and credibility arise when consistency occurs between what you say and what you do. Like any brand, your own will also come with expectations and should clearly communicate your values, skills and personality. Personal branding is about leaving a mental and preferably indelible impression in the mind of others, which positions you and makes you stand out from the crowd. Continue to adjust your brand strategy to match the changes in your life and objectives. You’ll need to communicate yourself to others in a simple and easy-to-understand manner –making yourself heard in the midst of all of the information and messages they receive every day.

Think of a few people who you feel possess a strong personal brand and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why did you choose these people?
  • What do you find strong about their brands?
  • What are you learning from them?

You should take into consideration people you want to be connected to—selecting your target group, your channels and the frequency of your self-marketing is very important in the direction you would like to go. Also, keep in mind that many years of branding work can be easily destroyed with one adverse action. It is crucial to continuously nurture your brand regularly in order to stay connected with those who can positively impact your brand. Some people choose to hire a brand or PR (Public Relations) managers who can assist in the upkeep of their personal brand and also provide them with exposure.

Impressions, Imprints and Expression

If you want to convey your message to your audience, you need to operate within these three dimensions.

  • Impression – what people experience when they first meet you.
  • Imprint – what you leave behind after the conclusion of a conversation.
  • Expression – what everybody says about you and how individuals perceive you as a person.

If you are having a hard time mapping out a personal brand strategy, then try to establish an overview of what you do well and identify areas that require improvements.  Additionally, write down what people say about you. Take some time to discuss your image with people you trust or who you feel will provide honest feedback. Asking someone you have a close personal relationship can be misleading and bias, so attempt to find people who are not afraid, to be honest with you, however, they must know you reasonably well.

Once you’ve found your chosen “brand advisors,” you can start by asking them what kind of impression you believe you’ve made when you first meet them. Try to be as objective as possible and do not take the feedback personally. A first impression is formed in the first 15 seconds, so knowing what kind of impression you make on others is essential to brand and or rebranding yourself.

Find your audience

Why should people listen to you? What makes you and your message worth listening to? Where is your audience? Who are they? And where can they be found?

Being creative and paying attention to the location of your target group is crucial. Try to communicate in places where your audience is present. Once you find where your audience is located, create a plan of action for the topics (subjects) and messages you want to communicate with them.

You should be able to share with your audience three explicit messages about who you are, what you stand for, and how you can help them, but you can only communicate these messages once you’ve gained their attention and trust.

The internet is an obvious choice to find your audience and communicate your message. Social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter makes interacting with your surroundings considerably easier. A few years ago getting in contact with many people within a short period was difficult or, at the very least, very expensive. The internet offers you the opportunity to create a free or very cheap branding platform. All you have to decide on what you would like to say, how and when.

Your personal network will also be helpful in gauging your new audience. People like to see that other (credible) people are recommending you. Therefore, you should ask for a testimonial when you have finished a project for a client. Make it a habit. These testimonials can be from your teachers, fellow students, colleagues, bosses and clients who know your personality and work ethics well.

Feature Image Credit: Getty

By 

I am a motivational speaker, philanthropist and author, with approximately 200-plus global talks per year. I advise major companies on topics such as sales and service and customer loyalty, strategic relationship-building and change management, employee motivation and the MORE

Sourced from Forbes

By Personal Branding Blog 

Bite-sized content is becoming more popular with online audiences on both mobile and computer devices. Creating unique and eye-catching images opens the door for converting leads into sales and growing your social networks with organic methods.

Which platforms work the best for microblogging posts? After conducting the right target market research to learn how to best meet the needs of that audience your brand’s next strategy should be to meet your audience where they are at.

Social media has become a leading powerful brand building tool, and has the potential to build more authority as well as create a high level of influence that increases subscribers and sales.

Give Your Personal Brand a Boost with Microblogging

Here are several places you can share your message in an attractive format:

  • Twitter – When people think of microblogging they first come this social network. This is a place where chats, video, and engaging conversations take place. Easily build your social footprint, and attract more interested visitors to your website as well.
  • Instagram – This social network began as an image sharing platform for teens and has quickly grown to a premier place for sharing viral photos and videos as well as stories and live broadcasts. With the right branding you can attract a loyal audience who will be more likely to make a purchase.
  • Tumblr – If your branding is centered around art and creativity then you will love this micro content website. The focus is based on interest and niche groups which makes it very easy to hone in on the right community. This place is geared toward a younger crowd and those who are both crafty and artistic.
  • Pinterest – Establish your brand as a go-to resource by sharing articles, infographics, videos, and photos. By creating multiple boards you can attract a niche community in different categories as well as connect with other brands who have a network that can be drawn into your own profile.

Microblogging is a golden opportunity to expand your publishing efforts for your personal brand. With these social media platforms it is possible to grow your community through organic methods in addition to advertising.

By Personal Branding Blog 

View full profile ›
Read more at https://www.business2community.com/branding/use-microblogging-promote-personal-brand-02032612

Sourced from Business 2 Community

Online reputation management is very necessary all of a sudden.

By MediaStreet Staff Writers

Businesses say they plan to allocate more resources to their online reputations in response to the growing popularity of social media and online reviews.

According to a new survey from Clutch, 40% of businesses will increase their investment in online reputation management (ORM) this year.

All this is due to the growing power of social media and third-party reviews sites, which impact businesses’ control over their online reputation.

Clutch surveyed 224 digital marketers and found that more than half of businesses (54%) consider ORM “very necessary” for success. As a result, 34% said they allocated more resources to ORM in 2018, and an additional 43% said they plan to hire a professional public relations or ORM agency in 2018.

Businesses already invest a significant amount of time observing their online reputation, Clutch found. More than 40% of digital marketers (42%) monitor their companies’ brand online daily, while 21% monitor their online reputation hourly.

According to public relations experts, businesses frequently monitor how their brand is portrayed online because they know even one negative media mention can quickly damage the public’s perception of their company.

“When people search for brands online, they tend to search for stamps of credibility,” explained Simon Wadsworth, managing partner at Igniyte, an online reputation management agency in the UK. “If potential customers find anything negative, that could end up being a significant amount of leads the business won’t get from people who are put off from using the service.”

Social media also has shifted the ORM landscape because it gives consumers free-reign to share their opinions and experiences quickly and frequently: 46% of businesses look to social media most often to monitor their online reputation.

By using professional agencies that have expertise in online reputation management, businesses can minimise losing new customers who may be dissuaded from purchasing their product or service.

To read the complete report, click here.

 

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More than a third of millennials use their phones for personal activities up to 2 hours during the workday.

By MediaStreet Staff Writers

Technology is now on the verge of making us utterly unproductive. This is according to a new report from Udemy.

The study measured how distracted employees are during work hours, how they’re responding to distractions, and the price of distraction for employers and the economy at large. The research found a strong correlation between increased levels of distraction, decreased productivity, and a lack of proper training at work.

Workers can’t resist the pull of social media
Most survey respondents (58%) said they don’t need social media to do their jobs, but they still can’t make it through the day without it. When asked to rank various social media sites and communication tools by degree of distraction, Facebook came in first (65%), followed distantly by Instagram (9%), Snapchat (7%), and Twitter (7%).

In addition to recognising how workplace distraction can hurt productivity and diminish quality of work, companies need to be aware of the very real damage to employee morale and retention. Among millennials and Gen Z, 22% feel distractions prevent them from reaching their full potential and advancing in their careers, and overall, 34% say they like their jobs less as a result.

When people are engaged, they report being more motivated, confident, and happy, and feel they deliver higher quality work. And, based on the survey, opportunities around learning and development are the top drivers of engagement.

 

Workers want training but are reluctant to ask for it
Though 69% of full-time employees surveyed report being distracted at work and 70% agree that training could help them learn to focus and manage their time better, 66% have never brought this up to their managers. Younger workers, in particular, are also having trouble balancing work and personal activities on devices they use for both; 78% of millennials/Gen Z say using technology for personal activity is more distracting than work-related tools like email and chat.

Let’s face it, we are all suckers for social media. The good news for marketers is that with highly engaged audiences comes a lot of places to put targeting advertising and reach these audiences.

 

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