Today’s digital landscape is packed with opportunities, both for business and personal brands. A strong personal brand will help you stand out in a competitive market and expand your network. Personal branding can also be an effective strategy to get a job or accelerate your career. If you want to build a successful career, grow your business or just be a more interesting human being, building your own brand is the way forward. Here are five reasons to know why personal branding works so well for business.
There’s a widespread misconception that personal branding is all about narcissism and promoting yourself at the expense of others. In reality, it’s simply a way to get your name out there. This has nothing to do with self-aggrandising. Narcissism is the opposite of what personal branding is all about. While narcissists are interested in promoting themselves at the expense of others, personal branding is about promoting yourself in a way that benefits others.
This is an important distinction that is best shown in the difference between Instagram “influencers” and LinkedIn’s “personal brands.”
Where influencers often use their looks and bodies to attract adoring fans who want to be like them, there is no benefit to those fans. In fact, studies over the last decade have shown that the influencer-follower relationship is toxic. Because influencers tend to only show the highlight reels of their lives (usually accompanied by luxury hotels, Lamborghinis and Lois Vuitton bags) rather than the real moments that are not quite so glamourous.
A personal brand focuses on delivering value. A successful personal brand is based around a person, just like an influencer. However, the person of influence is dedicated to creating content that others can use to better their lives. Not just content that keeps followers thirsty for the next semi-naked photo.
Social media is now an integral part of most people’s lives, so it makes sense to use it for your personal branding. After all, branding makes your product more recognisable beyond using a logo. And social media is the perfect place to make more people aware of who you are, what you do, who it’s for and why anyone should care.
Personal branding isn’t just about writing a great bio — it’s conveyed in everything you do, from images to videos to your real-life behaviour. And all of these things are easily doable on social media. On social media, you can also make sure that your posts aren’t just promotions. Posting things that are interesting, helpful or fun (or a combination of all three) is a good way to build a following without coming across as desperate for followers. And with the popularity of Reels, TikToks and Stories, you can go beyond just the perfect words and photos and create moments of spontaneity and insight. These moments bring you out of the green screen studio and into the real world where you are not just delivering actionable information, but you’re doing it in a real place.
One of the best reasons to build a personal brand is that it makes you memorable. This is especially important in business — after all, it’s better to be remembered than to be forgotten. What’s more, if you’re memorable, people will associate you with what they like about you. Not only does this make it easier for you to network, network, network, but it also gives you added authority — people trust what they connect with. This makes you a more valuable asset to your company and your industry as a whole.
But where do you draw the line?
It comes down to what you make yourself memorable for.
You want to be memorable for being helpful, kind, creative, insightful and generous with your knowledge. These things are timeless and don’t fade. Once you’re known as these things, it takes a pretty dramatic turnaround for that image of you to fade.
You don’t want to be memorable just for things like looks. Physical attributes change and fade so quickly that it doesn’t take long for you to become the flavour of the week sometime back in 2019.
It doesn’t mean that you have to make yourself ugly, though.
It’s a matter of focusing on what you have to offer, regardless of whether you are hot or not.
The best proof that personal branding works comes when you’re job hunting. After all, one of the first things that a hiring manager will do is Google you. And if you have a strong personal brand, it makes your application more memorable and therefore more likely to be chosen over the hundreds of other candidates. It can also be the difference between getting the job and getting passed over. It’s not just about getting you a job, either — if you’re applying for a job with a company, you’re also building your brand. A strong brand can be an excellent way for you to stand out from other job seekers.
It might not sound fair in a world where we have been taught that our merit matters. You’re still going to have to be able to do the job. But when there are 20 of you who can all do the job and do it well, the differences between you all matter most. And where one person has a strong personal brand, and the others don’t, there is a natural advantage to the candidate who has worked to ensure that they are a person of influence or significance.
One of the best ways to get your business started is to pivot. In other words, you take something that you’re already doing and use it to launch a business. What are you best at? What are you most knowledgeable about? What type of personality do you have? These are all excellent building blocks for a business. Building on your strengths and interests is a proven way to build a successful business. After all, if you’re passionate about what you do and knowledgeable about it, too, you’re more likely to be successful. What’s more, you can use your personal brand as a way to get yourself out there without coming across as pushy. It’s a very relaxed, laidback way to build your business.
My journey from solopreneur to digital agency owner and back to solopreneur all happened because of my personal brand.
Early in the journey I joined networks, ran free live classes and offered to help anyone I could. That gave me a reputation of being helpful, generous and an expert at what I do. Others took lots of photos of themselves pretending to work in boho-style cafes on Macbook Pros. They didn’t really like mixing with others in real life. They preferred to build their personal brand around style, looks and glamour. And while they just about all failed to launch (or faded within months of launching) I am still here years later carrying a (mostly) great reputation.
Personal branding is an excellent way to build your authority, get the job you want or launch your business. It’s also the easiest way to get your name out there. It’s a relaxed way to do it, too — after all, you’re not running to anyone’s house, demanding that they stop what they’re doing to get more involved with your brand.
You can also do it in small ways — in the clothes you wear, the way you present yourself and they way that you share your knowledge freely. And the best part is that it doesn’t have to take up a huge amount of time. In fact, you can do it when you’re on the go — while you’re waiting in line or while you’re on the bus. Any moment can be an authentic moment to connect with people through who you are.