Have you ever been ashamed by someone’s website or online presence?
Have you ever entered in a website and thought “ugh, this definitely is not the guy I want to work with…”.
On the contrary, have you ever been marveled by a website or a logo?
Or even with someone’s business cards or profile picture?
That is definitely a nagging sign that you “should be working with that guy”, right?
That’s the difference between a poor personal branding and an amazing one.
We live in a world so connected and so visual, that as entrepreneurs we need to excel in every way we can.
And the first impression is still the more long-lasting one, still in the digital world.
So it doesn’t really matter what you sell or what niche you’re in, branding is critical.
And not only branding, but rather personal branding.
I’ve mentioned in the past how branding myself as an expert has brought dozens of new clients to my companies and businesses.
And this could be true for you as well, if you follow these 5 simple steps and apply them today to your overall marketing strategy.
Have in mind that people purchase from people. What is the difference between your car wash and the one next door? Or between your software and the rest of the market?
That’s where branding comes into play. Here’s how to put it to work.
I’ve thought for a long time that branding myself and dedicating hours to my own name would somehow harm my company's’ growth.
The logic was that every hour I was dedicating to my personal brand, I wasn’t investing them in branding my other ventures.
And while that could be the case when you’re starting out and you need to dedicate every minute to have a strong base of clients and purchasers, personal branding is a must at some point of the business.
In fact, I’d suggest that you work as much as possible to create systems and outsource. Once you have these systems in place, you can start the “personal brand” process.
This is easier in some niches than others. For example, we know that lawyers and doctors usually brand themselves right off the bat. But this is also true if you’re putting together a software as a service company or have a local contractor service of sorts.
So once your company is “stable” and you have the systems in place, you should work in your own personal brand.
My suggestion is “Don’t Wait”. I’d rather launch my personal brand sooner than wait for everything to be perfect (since we know as entrepreneurs that never really happens).
With that being said, let’s dive into this 5 effective ways to brand yourself (and make you look like a celebrity while we’re at it).
So let’s start from the beginning, your identity.
Remember we are on a visual world, so this is paramount if you want to succeed as personal branding.
To start off, you don’t need to hire the $5k a month graphics agency, you just need to have a clean and appealing look.
So depending on your market, you may want to check out what your competitors are doing. Or what are the big players doing as well.
In my opinion, one of the most important graphic pieces you could have is your logo. Pay close attention to your logo at this stage since you’ll be using it for a long time.
And pretty much all of your other online presence (banners, website design, social media, business cards, etc.) will splinter off of your logo.
Again, you don’t need to spend a fortune. But I wouldn’t advise investing anything below $200-$500 to get a nice logo designed.
And those price points will attract the highest quality logo designers as well.
So start with your own logo. You want it to be compelling, enticing and have your name on it (of course, you’re branding yourself!).
You can then move onto step 2, which is the online presence.
Please note that I’m not talking about “website design” only.
If you want to correctly brand yourself, you need to be everywhere.
“Consistency” is the keyword here.
Again, you can get amazing website designed for less than $500-$800 at 99designs.com.
Don’t get too carried away with “flashy” designs. Ditch the header sliders, the background sound, etc. Your personal brand’s website should be aimed to get you “out there”, not scare people away.
Make it really clear why you’re an expert, what results you’ve brought to others, why people should hire you (or your company), how they can contact you and client testimonials. That’s pretty much it.
Moving onto social media, in my opinion once you have your logo everything is easier. You know exactly what to put on your Twitter profile, your Facebook page, your Instagram account, etc.
So besides getting a nice headshot, you could also be branding yourself as an expert (using your logo a lot).
Use the same color pattern, call to actions and descriptions in all of your social profiles. You can also interlink them together, by sending people from your Google Plus page to follow you on Twitter, for example. This is a really good technique (for SEO as well).
A note about pictures and Facebook: We usually tend to mix personal branding with personal profiles. And that’s a costly mistake.
Why would you want to send people to friend you on Facebook and have a 5-year-old picture in your profile? Or why would you want everyone to see you partying like an animal (the good old times)?
My suggestion would be to keep them separate. And be strategic.
If you want people to see your family pictures, that’s fine. But you need to choose what to show and what not to show. That’s easily achieved with separated profiles (on Facebook’s case, one for business, one for personal stuff).
If you can’t or don’t want to open a second Facebook profile, go ahead with a Facebook page. And be really careful what kind of information you’ll be posting there.
DO NOT use your personal profiles as your branding profiles and vice versa.
Remember that you want these to be public. So have that in mind when revising old pictures, posts, etc.
One of the best way of branding yourself is through good quality.
In fact, this could be the only thing you do and you’ll still be reaping the benefits of personal branding.
You don’t have to write a lot, you don’t even need to know how to write.
You just need to put out good quality content, based on your experience in your business, that will actually help people solving a problem.
For this, you could use any kind of platform.
In particular, I like writing and podcasting, but you could also use videos (if you feel comfortable doing it).
The good thing with something like videos or podcasts is that you can repurpose the content many times after that.
For example, you can rip the video’s audio and make a podcast episode out of that. You can get your episode transcribed and make a blog posts. You can grab snippets of your own content and make some smaller posts like Tweets or Instagram pictures, etc (I talk about that in deep here).
The main point is that you spend some time, every day, putting something out there in social media. The better the quality, the better the results.
I’d also suggest that you spend ⅓ of your time creating your content and ⅔ of it promoting it.
For that you would use your blog, your email, your social media channels, and the techniques I’m going to show you in a second.
Remember that the key thing here is to be consistent and give away quality. You don’t need to write one blog post per day. You could be recording 1 video a week and still make this technique work.
Then you can use something like IFTTT to automate the actual posting to your social media channels.
In my opinion this is super important. You can brand yourself on your own, but you need the help of others to promote your personal brand.
This is where networking comes into play. If you already have a successful business and you’re using personal branding as a means of expanding it, then you know what I’m talking about.
If you’re just starting out, you’ll find that networking is one of the best way to get yourself in the way of your potential customers.
Outreach is a great networking technique. It basically means that you’ll be contacting other experts, offer to create amazing content for their blog, podcast or video channel, and get the benefit of exposure and traffic.
You can make a quick Google search to check out the hottest blogs in your niche and go from there.
As a rule of thumb, my better content is not always on my own website. That means that I work hard on my articles so that my new colleague gets a blast, his or her audience does too and I get a ton of love in return.
But networking doesn’t stop there. Use every possible opportunity to do some networking. Remember that you want to generate long-lasting relationships (and not nagging people 1 week before your product launches).
Be generous, be real and ask for help when you need it.
By far, one of my favorites branding strategies is helping others without asking anything in return. However, making it on a one-to-one basis can be complicated and time-consuming.
If you want to be helping people at a scale and create a name for yourself, then you might want to join a community.
Community, the way I understand them, are forums, Facebook groups, LinkedIN groups, Google Plus groups, etc.
There are some massive opportunities to help people inside those communities and make a name for yourself.
At some point, you’d have helped enough people that you’d become an actual Superhero. The go-to guy when someone has a problem of any kind. You’d become a known expert, someone who people like and trust.
So you’d have proven the entire community that you can help them with your products and services by actually helping them.
Remember that some forums are MASSIVE and super engaged on a topic. So you can leverage this to your advantage as long as you’re serving others.
These 5 tactics will allow you to brand yourself as an expert, grow your other business and make yourself look like a celebrity (even if you’re not at that point yet).
Use them, apply them, and put forth the effort. It’s worth every minute.
Hernan Vazquez is a digital marketing trainer and consultant that built several 7 figure businesses from scratch. He specializes in helping business and students grow their online businesses through the use of Sales Funnels, Paid Advertising and Email Marketing.