What do people say about you when you’re not around? Can you control it?
At first sight, most of us would say no. However, leaving a good impression that lasts is possible. That is what we call personal branding, and it is manageable with a personal branding strategy, especially in the online world. I’m talking personal website, logo, social media accounts. It also applies in real life, with other hacks to make you stand out with great first and following impressions.
I believe that having a strong personal branding strategy is instrumental in anyone’s success, and that’s even truer online.
Nobody’s perfect and building your personal brand can be difficult, but as long as you’re the one behind it, you can do your best to make it on point!
1. Build your Own, Consistent Personal Branding Strategy
Everybody is unique or at least have something particular about them. That’s what you want to capture into your personal branding. I like to think of a personal brand as a mix of characteristics & visual elements.
First, you will have to define what yours is and to do so, you should ask yourself:
- What makes me positively different in my field?
- What words represent my brand?
- What visual components can represent all of this?
Your personal branding strategy will rely on those decisions you make, so choose wisely!
There’s no need to invent a new you just for your personal brand (or for any other reason by the way). Be your unapologetically weird self.
Have professional shots taken
To capitalize on the way you stand out as well as associate your personal brand to your face, have some nice portraits taken. Some quick tips:
- Incorporate your branding accessory in the shot
- Have several shots taken
- Face the camera
- Watch your clothes: they have to represent who you are
Hack: Ask photographers to take a portrait of you whenever you’re at an event, they’ll be more than happy to help you, and it will cost you $0.
Don’t forget to Stand Out Visually
If you have to take pictures, here is a nice hack for you: stand out with an accessory.
Here are some examples of people who leveraged fashion accessories to stand out.
My good friend Naomi Larocque became a vintage fashion blogger at 16 with her blog Fashion Is My Religion. She attributes part of her success to her signature red hat, which she started wearing every day, right after buying it in a thrift store. She decided to wear it at every fashion event she attended and photobombed most of the events pictures! She even was nicknamed “the little red hat girl”.
Someone else who comes to mind when it comes to standing out is Vincent Dignan. Vincent is a successful growth hacker & speaker (he’ll talk at MTL+ECOMMERCE #37 on March 23rd) who dresses extravagantly. This got Neil Patel to talk about him in one of his podcast episodes! Also, he recently changed his name to Vin Clancy… just because!
In my own case, I decided a while ago to pull off the wooden bow tie (as you noticed on my photo)!
Create a logo
A good way to stand out and look more professional is to have a logo. Trust me; this will not only help you stand out but also will contribute in all the following steps of your personal branding strategy.
Have your tagline
Remember when I was asking you about what words represented your brand? Put your answers into action with a tagline. In addition to your photo portrait & logo, your tagline will help you back them with words.
For instance, Tim Ferriss calls himself “Human guinea Pig”. As far as I’m concerned, I associate with “Life & Growth Hacker” at the moment, since I’m all about optimization whether it’s about growth marketing or my personal life.
Use your email signature to stand out
People spend a lot of time in their email inbox as I’m sure you do. Whether you’re looking for a job, reaching out to influencers or emailing your contats, you should use this opportunity to put your personal brand forward. You can do so with a branded signature you create and copy/paste with Wisestamp.
As an example, here is mine:
Be consistent: all of them everywhere
Now that you have gathered what elements constitute your personal brand, it’s time to put all of them into action and make them work together. This way, when people come across your profile or content you’ve created, they will recognize you (hopefully instantly). I even have my brand elements on my resume!
First, have your profile picture match on all of your social media accounts. Do your audience a favor: be the same person on every social media platform.
Same goes for your bio. Even if you have to adapt it to each platforms’ specifications, stay consistent and convey the same message.
2. Master Social Media
Social media play a huge part in everyone’s personal branding. Not only is it one of the first things that will pop up when someone searches for you in Google, but it is also an incredible source of social proof. Supposedly, the more followers you have, the more influential and interesting you are, and the stronger your personal brand is.
That being said, social media is also a place of choice when it comes to establishing your personal branding strategy and how you decide to make it grow.
Claim your Profiles
First off, make sure to claim your profile with “firstname lastname” on all social media accounts (name that are relevant to your brand and niche). If you’re into digital marketing, make sure to do so for your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook profile & page, Instagram, Google Plus, Pinterest and Snapchat.
Given my rare name, I don’t really have this issue but I hear a lot of people complaining about not having their username of choice because they forgot to claim it. For instance, buying Twitter profiles is a thing some people building their brands are doing.
Common rules for personal branding on Social Media
A good social media profile; when it comes to your personal branding strategy, is one that:
- Has a strong and growing following
- Respects rules stated above
- You post on frequently. A good way to do so is explained in my article on How to Automate your Social Media
Professional social media network by default, LinkedIn allows you to build and stay connected to your network. On LinkedIn, your profile is your resume; so make sure to complete it accordingly. Also, make sure to claim your own URL in the same way that mine is: https://linkedin.com/in/ambroisedebret
LinkedIn is also a great place to cultivate your social proof by having 1) recommendations 2) endorsements 3) connection, with 500+ connections being the first goal.
You can also easily stand out on LinkedIn by just sharing updates (few people do) and republishing content you already wrote. A cool thing about this is that it will send notifications to all your connections in LinkedIn Pulse.
PS: if we’re not connected on LinkedIn yet, add me here.
Depending on your niche, Twitter can be a very much used social media. As it is very strong platform in the digital marketing, startup industry, news & news space, make sure you’re on there no matter what you do.
Same thing as on LinkedIn, choose your @Handle carefully as it will become your URL: twitter.com/AmbroiseDebret.
PS: if we’re not connected on Twitter yet, add me here.
On Facebook, you have to make a choice of keeping your personal profile private or public and sharing professional things or not. That is your choice.
No matter what you choose, have a pro Facebook page for yourself and even possibly a group if you’re more intense on Facebook. Mine is called “Ambroise Debret Growth Pirate”.
3. Have a Personal Website & Blog
As I’ve talked extensively in other posts, everyone should have their personal website & blog as part as their personal branding strategy.
If executed properly, this will give you a real edge on other people. It is not only a platform you control, but you also fully own it.
Think about it: you will have your own .com website, how cool is that?! If you do it well, you will also be able to manage what people see first when they google your name. Your website will be the center of your online presence.
Having your own domain name will also allow you to have a branded email like firstname.lastname@example.org that looks way more professional than a Gmail. For instance, in affiliate marketing, gmail addresses are showstoppers when you apply to a company’s partnership program.
A personal website will also allow you to have your own blog. As for the following points will complete, blogging will position you as a thought leader in your network and the one you’re building.
When you promote the blog posts you’ve put together on social media, your network will notice that you have your website and consider you as more professional.
4. Get Published
Now that you have your personal strategy defined with a strong image and presence on social media in addition to having your blog, you need to expand your reach.
A great way to do that is to guest blog on other websites or industry reference websites.
An even greater way from what I’ve heard is to publish a book, but that’s another level!
5. Get Interviewed
With the same logic, being interviewed puts you right away on a certain pedestal. Think about it: people are reading or listening to you, taking advice from you on a specific topic!
For instance, being invited as a guest on my friend Alex Sol’s Extra Paycheck Podcast gave a great boost to my personal brand.
6. Talk in Public
Same principle here: if people want to listen to what you have to say, you’re doing good! Also, this gives you the “nfluencer” status!
7. In Real Life (IRL)
Personal branding isn’t limited to the online word. On the contrary, the personal branding strategy you adopt online should be an extension of what you are offline.
In real life, you can cultivate and grow your personal brand by going to events in your field or even better, organize some of them!
In my case, getting involved with organizing events like MTL+ECOMMERCE did a great job for my personal branding. Few of the pros of organizing events are that you get to be in front of people and possibly on stage at every event you organize: you interact with speakers & sponsors above your paygrade, and you meet new people who then come into contact with your brand.
To make a great impression and stay in touch after you meet someone in person, it’s always a good move to have business cards matching your personal branding strategy.
8. Manage your Brand
Once your personal brand is up and running, you will want to monitor it. This means getting notified every time your name shows up somewhere to be able to react whether it’s a good or bad mention. In either case, you can take action or comment if it’s a blog post.
A good way to do this is through Google Alerts.
Yes, building your personal brand strategy requires some work. But it’s also very rewarding in the long term to do so.
As we’ve seen, important elements are:
- To define your personal brand with a head-shot, logo, tagline and coherence
- To use social media to your advantage
- To have your personal website and use it well
- To get published, whether it’s for a guest post or quoted in a book
- To be Interviewed
- To talk in public
- To be your brand in real life
- To monitor and manage your brand
Question: What are your hacks when it comes to personal branding? Let us know in the comments!