What Is Personal Branding?
Your personal brand is how you represent and promote yourself to others. It’s the way you show your experiences, skills, and personality to the world. And by telling your story and expertise, you can build professional relationships and new career opportunities for yourself.A personal brand image is built over time, based on the content you create or share online, and how you interact with other users. It influences how people view you and how the media might represent you. Everyone can have a personal brand and you don’t need thousands of followers or to be a regular in the media to have one.You might develop your personal brand organically over time, or you may put yourself in the control seat and put concerted effort into defining it.
Why Would You Want a Personal Brand?
Naturally, not everyone cares about what is personal branding or wants to put much effort into it.It can be hard work, and you may be understandably uncomfortable about putting yourself out there. After all, social media can be scary. There are a lot of people online with a lot of different opinions and some aren’t exactly kind about expressing theirs.Despite the intimidation factor, it’s important to work on your personal brand in some capacity, because it helps you professionally. A strong personal brand makes it easier to find great work opportunities, and helps you build your own business or side hustle.
Why is Personal Branding Important at Work?
Do you recall the early days of social media and work policies around these platforms? If not, let’s put it this way: If you weren’t in marketing, you could be reprimanded or even fired just for using social media at work. Fast forward to today, and more companies actually encourage their employees to use social media at work. They want their people to have a voice, communicate with their personal networks, and hopefully advocate for the brand in the process. So whether you want to build your own personal brand or want to develop a strategy for leveraging employees’ personal brands at your organisation or both you’ll find all the important reasons to utilize personal branding below.
Benefits For Individuals
Improves your knowledge
Initiates valuable conversations
Builds trusted online professional relationships
Creates new career opportunities
Expands professional development opportunities
Increases your perceived value
Establishes you as an expert in your field
I don’t have a massive personal brand, just over 3,200 connections on LinkedIn but I do make an effort to maintain my brand and expand my network. I post three to four times per week, sharing a mix of content about marketing, personal interests, my industry, and EveryoneSocial itself. But by making this minimal effort, I’ve increased my profile views, grown my followers, developed new professional relationships, opened myself up to new job opportunities, and been invited to appear on a podcast. Not bad for just a few minutes of my time.
Benefits For Companies
Personal branding at work is about utilizing a strategy that markets your people and their careers as brands. This is an ongoing effort that not only supports employees, but also helps your organization drive awareness, nurture employees, and maintain a top-notch reputation. When employees have strong personal brands, it creates a new channel for your organization to generate real authenMore brand awareness
Increased brand trust
Greater earned media value
Reduced paid media spend
Increased pipeline and more deals won
Better brand positioning that helps the company stand out from the competition
Improved employer brandtic ROI. Many times, that can happen indirectly, even if employees aren’t always talking about your brand online. Our senior social media manager, Desiree Tizon, for example, doesn’t post exclusively about EveryoneSocial. But she shares company content alongside her own insights about social media marketing and her life as an Instagram influencer, which has helped her build a strong personal brand on LinkedIn.How exactly do your employees’ personal brands positively impact the company? They contribute to the following:
- Stronger recruitment pipeline
- Higher employee engagement
How Do You Build Your Personal Brand at Work?
Like I said before, you don’t need thousands of followers to have a personal brand everyone can have influence on their networks and their own professional goals, whether they have 100 followers or 100,000.The first thing to keep in mind as you develop your personal brand though is that you can’t let it get in the way of the work you were hired to do. Great companies will support and nurture your personal brand endeavors, but this isn’t a time to take advantage of their support and let your actual work fall to the wayside. While that should seem obvious, it’s important to call out.
A few steps for you to get started with your personal brand:
- Define your skills and expertise. Are you known for marketing? Sales? Building businesses? Engineering? Do you have specific skills in those areas you can share? Like results, learnings, mistakes, etc.
- Determine what you’d want to be known for. What makes you stand out now, and where do you want to go in the future?
- Understand the audience that your expertise would interest and who you want your network to be. If you’re a social media marketer, for example, you’ll want to start connecting with others in that industry and field.
- Research your industry and follow the experts. Who already has strong personal brands and influence in your space? Follow, connect, and engage with them.
See if your company has a social-sharing platform in place to streamline this process and get involved. Don’t have a platform already? Start using EveryoneSocial for FREE and show your company how it can benefit the organization. Or you can start to manually build out your own individual process until your company catches on to the power of employee personal brands. Unfortunately, not every organization is willing to embrace social media at work and personal branding right away.
How Can Companies Support Employee Personal Brands?
More organizations are aware of the power of employee influencers and the value of their voices; today any employee with a social network can be an influencer. Often, when you hear the term “influencer marketing,” you think of celebrities or people with millions of followers. Yes, these are influencers, but the truth is that everyone has their own set of skills, views, and insights. That’s why we believe any employee can be an influencer in their own way. And as more companies experience success from embracing employees’ social networks, personal branding becomes even more of a must-have branding strategy. How can your company best support this, without overstepping? Let’s dive in.
1. You truly want to support employee personal brands
Look, I get it. You see all the amazing benefits that employees’ social media activity has on every aspect of business from marketing and sales to employer branding and recruiting. But to make your employees’ personal brands work for the company, you have to equally care about the benefits personal branding has for employees, too. So be transparent and explain how employee advocates are great for the brand, but also highlight the value personal branding brings to your people as individuals. Employees can sense if you’re being fake or thinking only of company goals, but if you make building a personal brand part of company culture, your team will actually want to participate.
2. Your company provides guidelines not rules
Nobody likes rules or being told what to do. But if you want to empower employees and harness the power of their personal brands, your company should still provide guidelines. The last thing you want is employees to go off the rails and hinder their work as well as your brand’s reputation. What does this entail? An accessible social media policy, training materials for those looking to learn, social-sharing tools, and anything you deem of value to call out.
3. You understand that you don’t own employees’ personal brands
If your company assumes it has a right to access employees’ personal networks or can control their individual personal brands, it’s already failed. You can’t force participation. You don’t own your employees’ networks or personal brands. As our CEO Cameron Brain put it, “It’s no one’s job to participate in your advocacy program. They have to want to. It should be enjoyable, and it should provide real value to the individual user.” Even if you make employee advocacy and personal brand building a part of your culture and highlight all the benefits it has to your team, not everyone is going to get involved. And that’s fine. When you understand this and trust your employees to participate at the level they feel comfortable, you’ll find that they’ll rally behind social media and personal branding.
4. Content that employees create/share should not only be about the company
A quick way to get employees not to care about social sharing? Making your program all about your company, product, or service. If your company wants to tap into employee personal brands, you cannot try to force them to only talk or post about company-related items. People don’t want to be an online billboard constantly for your brand, nor do their audiences want a big pitch. People look to employees for learning, insights, entertainment, and human connection. And your employees have interests beyond your company. Check out this personal post, which had nothing to do with the company he works for.Your employees will genuinely care about what they share and how they present themselves to their audiences. And content that is personal, around subject matter they are experts in, and more – is a good mix to encourage.
- Your employees will feel supported
- Engagement and participation grows
- Eagerness to also post more about their work/company
- Brand awareness and trust builds for your people and company
5. Make it easy for employees to get started and have access to content
A great way to ensure proper guidance for leveraging personal branding on social media and at work is using a platform like EveryoneSocial. Not everyone knows where to begin, what kind of content to create or share, or where to learn. That’s why an employee influencer platform can make a huge difference. The features benefit the individual employee, but also the organization as a whole. Plus, it creates the central hub for all things content, knowledge-sharing, and community. Can you do this stuff manually or just through Slack? Sure, but it’s really challenging to keep up, and it’s way less engaging. And why would you want to do that when you can use EveryoneSocial for free?
6. Lead by example leadership involvement is a must
When leadership creates and shares content, they set an example that encourages more employees to participate. Employees understand that focusing on personal branding at work is okay, they know leadership values it, and they see firsthand that the company supports it. It may start off slow, but quickly more and more employees will get involved. FOMO is a real thing, when colleagues and leadership start, more people will dive right in.
What is an Online Presence and how to build it
In simple words, your online presence is a summary of your identity. A good online presence means that you post regular updates online, interact with the target audience, and capitalize on new leads. Any business can build an online presence to gain fans, followers, customers, and new opportunities. Here are 5 effective ways which you can follow to build an online presence.
1. Define Your Strategy
Before you can build an online presence, you need to create a strategy. This should include your short- and long-term business goals, and how an online presence could contribute. The easiest way to define your strategy is to list down your goals. Use the SMART goals methodology to make specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-specific objectives. You should keep referring to these goals to revise the strategy and build an effective online presence. You shouldn’t build an online presence because everyone else is doing it. You should do it because it can strategically help you achieve business goals.
2. Build a Website
Every business needs a website to represent its brand. A great website should have three main qualities:
- High conversion rate
Depending on your budget, you can hire a professional web designer to build your website. A professional can design a high-quality website for your brand and you can ask for as many customizations as required. If you want to do it yourself, then you can use sites like WordPress and Wix that have built-in templates. Additional tools can help you integrate eCommerce and SEO practices in your website for optimal performance. A good website is organized and has a set structure. Information should not be cluttered everywhere it needs to look professional and clean. You should keep your target market in mind and answer their queries through your website. All content on the site should be engaging, simple, and follow a consistent theme.
3. Make a Social Media Strategy
Social media is the best way to interact with your customers. 57% of the world’s population uses social media, which makes these platforms the best place to build an online presence. Having accounts on Instagram and LinkedIn is not enough. Businesses need to build an extensive social media strategy that includes various platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. Here are a few features your social media strategy should include:
- Content bank
- Posting schedule
- Tools like Instagram Live or Twitter Polls
Once you have a social media strategy, you should conduct self-audits to check for inconsistencies. Analysis and evaluation will help you determine the right technique for your social media strategy to work.
When a customer searches for a query, your company website should be the first result. Search Engine Optimization is what can make your website rank #1 on Google search. If customers can find your website easily, they are more likely to make a purchase.
An SEO strategy can include:
- Researching keywords
- Using call-to-action buttons
- Adding internal links
- Creating valuable content
SEO also includes inbound links and keyword density. Remember that SEO is constantly changing, so it is essential to stay ahead of the latest trends.
5. Start Networking
Finding an online community is one of the most effective ways to build an online presence. You can create your network with other businesses in the same industry. As you engage with one another, you can contribute to the community and start building a name for your brand. Similarly, you can also network with your audience. Try connecting with people from your target audience to understand their needs and cater to them effectively. You can create a positive brand image by actively listening to customer demands and addressing their concerns.