You may be surprised just how dependant the success of your small business is on you- the owner. Smart personal branding can give you an edge against the competition, as well as an image, personality, and voice that your customers will recognize. A recent study by Brandfog found that when a business’s top leaders participate on social media and engage with their audiences, positive perception of the quality of their leadership increased from 45 percent to 75 percent within 12 months. And when combining that with the study showing that people are more likely to purchase from a company which is run by someone they view favorably, it shows how important getting yourself out there and being likable really is.
With that in mind, begin by following these steps, suggested by business experts and CEOs, to develop and cultivate your own personal brand:
#1 Get on Social Media
It’s crucial to have social media accounts for your small business, but people in your community want to hear from you, not just your company’s business profiles. Grab a similar handle on all the major platforms and start tweeting, posting, and more! You don’t have to talk business all the time, mix it up with fun photos, where you’re going to be that day, and other things will be of interest to your followers.
Being consistent across LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram isn't just a good branding strategy, it can help increase your Google SEO rankings as well. Having your full name on your social-media profiles, bios, and URLs can increase your chances of being the first result when your name is searched, and that’s something you definitely want to control.
#2 Dig into Your Digital Presence (Past and Present)
It’s possible you didn’t need to read #1 because you’ve been present on social media for years. That’s great that you’re not behind on the trends, but that also means you could have been posting long before you ever became a small business owner. Do some detective work and look up any old social-media profiles or comments. If anything you've done or said doesn't align with your current position, delete it before the potential for anything unsavory becomes public.
#3 Build Relationships
Being likeable by your local community, those you hope become customers, can’t be done solely behind a computer screen. Get out there and engage with people! In order to prove yourself valuable and trustworthy, you have to be visible to your audience, as well as with other industry leaders and journalists. Building relationships with other influencers relevant to your industry and expertise can help your credibility and can lead to new opportunities, like media interviews or networking events. When you’re the “face of the business”, having your face seen at charity functions or local events is a great plus for your brand.
#4 Update Your “About” Page
The "About" page is often one of the first pages people visit when checking out a company's website. Make sure yours includes bios, photos, and social-media links for you and any other upper management. Bios should include all of your accomplishments, awards you’ve received, years of experience, as well as personal information about your hobbies and family if you feel comfortable. Your audience is more likely to trust if you if they can get a sense of who you are as a person and see you as more than just the owner of the business down the street.
#5 Get Writing
One of the keys to a proper inbound marketing strategy is to designate yourself as a thought leader in your industry, and it’s also a great way to build your personal brand. Do this by writing content and publishing it under your name, not the company’s. Think about how you can address your audience/customers' most common problems. Whether you write your company’s blog, develop a guest column on someone else's website, write for the local newspaper website, or just start engaging on social media more, getting your voice and viewpoint out in the world is a great first step for your audience to get to know and trust you.
Hint: This is one another way to make sure you’re securing all the top organic listings when someone Google’s your name!
#6 Provide Value
You need to provide some kind of value for your audience in order for them to want to hear from you, which will ultimately increase your personal brand awareness. This ties into writing industry-related content pieces; use your professional expertise to your advantage by sharing knowledge that can't be found anywhere else. If you can build your audience's confidence in your ability to understand and help them, they will be more likely to follow you on social media, interact with your content, or buy something you endorse (your company’s products!).
By tailoring your persona, you can reinforce your reputation and increase your chance of finding the right opportunities for you and your business. As your personal brand awareness grows, your professional network will expand and your small business will reap the benefits!
One of the first steps to being found and engaging with potential customers is to set up your social media accounts. This can be confusing for those who’d rather spend their efforts on the daily management of their business. Impulse Creative can help simplify it, with our free eBook Mastering Social Media for Business. Download it today and get started building a better personal brand for yourself!