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.