Build Your Personal Brand Or Someone Else Will!

We live in a hyper-connected, tech-savvy world where information flows freely online. Everything we put out there – blog posts, status updates, photos, thoughts etc. becomes our “Personal Brand Footprint” to the world. Anyone both within and beyond our network can see, review and form an opinion about us according to what they find.

In this new Age of Transparency, social media blurs the lines between who we are to friends and family, peers, professional contacts and even those we do not know. Your personal brand is more important than ever.

Today’s consumers hold a deep-rooted cynicism and are fed-up with excessive advertising pitches. According to a market survey by Alterian, only 6% of consumers trusted advertising and what a company says about itself.  Instead, consumers are turning to their own social networks for information they can trust. Connection and interactive engagement are strongly related to the development of trust and belief.

No longer does the power lie in the hands of a mere few, such as the traditional media and  large corporate brands. Power is now in the hands of many. Because of this economic and cultural shift, you as an individual have a tremendous opportunity to position yourself. If you don’t take control of your brand, someone else will. Or worse yet, risk becoming irrelevant.

Here’s how you can take advantage of this shift in power by building, growing and nurturing your personal brand:

Be Authentic and Share Your Passion – There has never been a better time in history to be a passionate entrepreneur. Being real, transparent and sincere will draw your potential clients to you. Consumers are sick of hyped pitches, overzealous salespeople and mass broadcasts. Allow your personal brand to reflect who you truly are.

Identify Your Target Market & Carve Out Your Niche – The clearer you are about exactly who you serve and the solutions you provide, the more clients you will attract. Consumers are becoming more and more selective about who they follow. They are focusing on narrow, curated channels of information and contacts that best suit their needs. Niche narrowly and wisely, and you will become the “go-to-gal” for your industry.

Get In On the Conversation and Engage – We are moving away from mass broadcast to personal media. This means you must connect and engage to build relationships and establish your identity. Traditional advertising and marketing methods focusing on selling and pitching information are falling on deaf ears. You must build your “know, like and trust” factor through connection and interactivity.

Provide Value and Give…and Then Give More! – Thanks to the noise and clutter online and beyond, it takes a lot more than a great product or service to sell your brand.  You MUST establish a relationship first, authentically and emotionally, before someone sees you as the authority or trust agent that you are. A powerful brand establishes an emotional connection with its target market. One of the best ways to do this is to give away content and information that will help your potential clients. Blog posts, newsletters, white papers, tweets, special reports – these are all ways to help your tribe move forward in their quest for success. We live in an abundant universe, so don’t be afraid to give away great content. It will go a long way in establishing your position as an authority in your industry.

The people who humanize the web, connect and build relationships, provide valuable content and communicate with their potential clients in a real and thoughtful way, are the most likely to develop a community around their brand and cultivate success.

As Brian Solis said in his excellent book, Engage or Die, “If we do not participate and eventually lead online interaction related to our business, then we are walking a path toward oblivion. Consumers, regardless of industry, have choices and if we’re not top of mind where and when they’re seeking information and direction, then we are absent and forgettable.”

When it comes to your personal brand, engage or die.

©Liz Dennery Sanders 2010

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