Personal branding is often thought of as something that only applies to influencers, celebrities, or businesses. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, anyone who is active online has already established some kind of personal brand.
To truly understand what your personal brand is, take a moment to reflect on how others would describe you. What comes to mind is the core of your brand. Essentially, your brand is the perception that others have of you.
Just like company branding, personal branding comes with a myriad of benefits. It can help you connect with customers, increase your visibility within your industry, shape your reputation, make a lasting impression during online and in-person networking, and ultimately sell or offer more to your target audience.
If you're looking to build a strong individual brand, there are a few essential components that you should focus on. This guide will share actionable steps you can take to build your personal brand on LinkedIn, including optimizing your profile, creating engaging content, growing your network, and leveraging employer branding. By taking the time to invest in your personal brand, you can set yourself up for long-term success both personally and professionally.
The key to crafting your personal brand
By defining your personal brand, you can establish a unique identity that distinguishes you from others in a competitive job market, making you memorable even when you're not in the room.
Your personal brand encompasses everything that is available about you, from your social media posts to any source that appears when your name is googled. While this may seem overwhelming at first, it can be integrated into a well-defined picture of yourself. It's crucial to remember that creating a personal brand is easy, but changing an already established one is tricky.
To develop an effective personal brand, consistency is key. A brand does not develop organically; it's carefully crafted and maintained to clearly communicate what defines it. Your brand should showcase what you and your skillset stand for and how you carry yourself in the broader workspace.
Why is personal branding important?
We've already discussed some of the benefits of personal branding, but let's dive deeper into the most important ones. Building and maintaining a personal brand is a significant time investment, so it's crucial to understand the potential payoff.
You stand out
Consider this scenario: you're looking to fill a job position, and two potential candidates have the same qualifications and work experience. The only difference between them is their LinkedIn profile. One has a generic, bare-bones profile, while the other has posts that clearly define their expertise, and position on industry issues, and showcase their personality. Which candidate would you choose? Most likely, the second candidate because their profile gives you a glimpse into their professional persona, making it easier to envision working with them. The other profile, lacking any defining characteristics, will likely be forgotten after a quick scroll.
This is why personal branding is so important. By clearly defining your expertise, values, and personality, you can differentiate yourself from others in a competitive job market. A well-crafted personal brand can help you attract job offers, connect with potential customers or clients, and even expand your network. It's an investment that pays off in the long run.
Establish yourself as a thought leader
A clear personal brand can work wonders in establishing you as a thought leader in your industry. Picture this: Your words carry more weight and influence within the industry, leading to an influx of new connections knocking on your virtual door. One or two of them may even bring a new career prospect. On top of that, being known as a thought leader earns you respect from your peers. And let's be honest, who wouldn't want to be a respected player in the game? Especially if you're an employee looking to level up your career or gain more influence in the workplace.
Time to reflect 📝
Before we dive into steps for improving your LinkedIn profile, take a moment to reflect on the following:
💡 What are your passions?
💡 Who inspires you?
💡 What skills and talents do you possess, and which would you like to develop further?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can define the following:
💡 Your goals
💡 Your value proposition (your skills and expertise)
💡 Your target audience
These are the fundamental building blocks for your personal brand. Keep in mind that personal branding is intentional, meaning you need to have a clear understanding of who you are and who you want to become to build a strong brand and take control of your career path.