No matter what level you are at in your quest for being a successful entrepreneur, your personal branding is tantamount to you communicating a winning product or service.
Strong personal branding that is polished and sincere isn’t an option. You are the face of your business. If your personal branding is amateurish your services or products will be deemed the same.
With millions of brands out their how do you stand out?
Every freelancer or entrepreneur has no choice but to cultivate their personal branding. If you don’t it will be defined for you – possibly in a not so good way. So let’s look at the best way to make it happen.
6 Personal Branding Tips
1. Be you. Understand and be your true self.
It might seem elementary to you, but identifying the real you and projecting that to your audience is sometimes forgotten. Building a brand around a personality that is fake will be tough to keep up.
Your brand voice needs to scream who you are. Not who others think you are either. What are your beliefs? What do you identify with? What are your big strengths … and weaknesses? Know who you are and do some self-reflecting. Dig deep to your inner self and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
As rudimentary as it may sound, people connect with people. If you do not appear like a real person, or seem phony, there is no way people will buy into what you are selling.Once you have a good handle on who your true self is, go for it. That is your #brand voice #branding Click To Tweet
2. Don’t be afraid to make it personal.
Personal examples of your life and what brought you to where you are resonate with people and make you seem more relatable and approachable. Never be afraid to show your soul.
Don’t underestimate the power of a good background story. A brand story that includes your big influences will connect you with your clients.
Example: I recently spoke with a photographer/videographer. His love for photography began in sixth grade when his teacher took the class on a field trip and had him take photos to record their journey. His teacher was so impressed with the results that he encouraged him more by giving him more photo assignments, even in the summer months.
He worked with this teacher into high school, until he enlisted in the Air Force. He has never forgotten him and that one teacher shaped his life’s goals.
3. Fake it till you make it.
Oh, so did we just say above to be true to yourself? Well, of course you should. But what we mean here is that even if you are just starting out doesn’t mean you can’t give the appearance of strength and accomplishment. You know you’re good at what you do. So don’t be afraid to be confidant. If you want to play with the big boys, you need to act like one.
One great example of this is Pete Cashmore, founder of Mashable. When Cashmore started out he used his incognitoness (new word, just made it up) to his benefit. He wasn’t in Silicon Valley and he didn’t have a huge staff. But try he did. He cranked out content like he was a team of 10. Most people didn’t know that he was just a 19-year-old Scotland blogger.
4. The elevator pitch. What makes you unique.
One of the first things to do when building your personal branding is to craft an elevator pitch. Short and snappy. Boil it down to just a few short sentences, two or three should do the trick. If you aren’t well-versed at writing, hire a seasoned and talented copywriter to help you.
Testing out your elevator pitch will help tell you if you have it just right. Try some role play with a trusted and honest friend or business associate.
Next take it out to dinner – so to speak.
If you are at a business dinner or networking event and someone says “What do you do?”, lay it on them. Tell them your elevator pitch and watch their reaction. Did you hold their attention? Did they seem interested and ask to hear more? That’s what you want. If not, back to the drawing board.
Even though your elevator pitch should be short, you can still pack a lot of information in it. Here are some things to include:
- Tell how you solve a problem
- Mention your target market
- What do you offer that your competition doesn’t
This goes for your online presence too. If visitors go to your website and don’t know what you do or it looks like you do the same thing as everyone else in your industry, they will quickly move on. Make your personal branding shine … everywhere!
Make it exciting. Yes, even if you are an accountant or other less thrilling profession. If you include how you are different you’re on the way to mission accomplished. For those of you in professions that aren’t too exciting, try injecting some humor. Can you say accounting jokes?
5. Your brand temperament and tone.
Let’s go straight from accounting jokes to your brand tone. What do you bring to all of your interactions? Are you serious, sarcastic, funny, smart, caring, or professional?
Defining your brand tone and temperament must be done before you make any choices, like your color palette or logo. Failing to do so will lead to inconsistency that can be harmful to your overall brand.Set your brand tone and temperament before your logo and color palettes #branding #entrepreneurs… Click To Tweet
Now use your distinctive tone in every single piece your brand touches. Your website, collateral material, and social media all need to speak from the same tone of voice. This helps you establish your personal branding, which helps your audience recognize and relate to you.
6. Know your target audience and market.
Now that you know your brand voice and your personal branding is on its way, it’s time to make a few tweaks. It’s time to bring in your target market and what works best for them too.
There are a couple examples of businesses that know precisely who they are targeting and how to keep them interested.
General Electric is a prime example. They know their audience contains a decent amount of technical people, so they geek out big time on their social media accounts, especially Instagram. Their account has tons of detailed images of awesome machines.
Many of the products we consume and use every day are connected via intermodal: a highly orchestrated and intricate transport system that connects rail, truck, and ocean freight. At #CSX’s Northwest Ohio Intermodal Terminal, @getransportation and the #IndustrialInternet are helping power the delivery of 2 million containers across 2,000 routes every year. Photo by @seenewphoto. #railfan #transportation
Adidas is another brand that plays to their target market of healthy, active people. Their Twitter page is full of healthy and inspirational pictures, links, and information.
— adidas Running (@adidasrunning) September 25, 2016
Take control of your personal branding at the beginning stages of your freelancing adventure. It will separate you from your competition and send a signal that you mean business.