People buy people. We always have, and we always will.
That's why the phrase, "It's not what you know, it's who you know", is as true now as it was 100 years ago. Today, people are buying your personal brand.
Think you don't need a personal brand? Think again.
What is a personal brand?
Your personal brand is how you promote yourself to the world. It's the combination of your personality, skills and experiences that you present to the world to paint a public image of who you are.
When done well, you can use your personal branding in the business world to differentiate yourself from others.
Why do I need a personal brand?
Here are thirteen reasons to further convince you that, indeed, you need to actively establish and maintain your personal brand.
1. You already have a personal brand
If you don't control it, it's being controlled for you, by other people. Your brand perception is out there of you; you can manage it, or you can let others take it away from you. Your reputation is being managed, whether you like it or not. It's better to control and manage it yourself.
2. Job prospects
If you want a new job, then your personal brand will dictate whether you succeed or not once you submit the initial paperwork. The first thing an HR director or recruiting team does is look at your LinkedIn profile. With no photo, no summary page, and no updated job title/experience, you won't even get an interview.
3. It gives you a competitive edge
If you want a promotion in your existing company, you will stand more chance of getting it with an enhanced personal brand. If your competition for that senior role has more recommendations on LinkedIn, more blog posts, engages more, has more connections on LinkedIn, and their profile looks better overall, they will beat you to that position.
Are their rankings for views higher than yours in the company? Are their LinkedIn ratings higher than that of professionals like you? Where do you stand?
4. Customer retention
If you want to keep clients, then you should focus on your personal brand. If you're not and your client is being wooed by another service provider, and the other service provider's personal branding on LinkedIn is better than yours, then you may just lose that client.
Enhance, engage, and increase your visibility through social selling/marketing on LinkedIn.
5. Gain new clients
If you want to win a client, then you must enhance your personal brand. If you don't and they look at your LinkedIn profile and see nothing impressive, no thought leadership, no sharing of content, no engagement, no blogs, no connections, and no company page, then social selling indications are that you will miss out and not even know about it.
6. Thought leadership
If you want to impress the media, then you must show that you are a thought leader and demonstrate your accomplishments through LinkedIn. Talk about the events that you spoke at and have been invited to, and talk about the things that you have done in a business context.
It's not boasting; it's factual and it's helping communicate your personal brand values. People also like working with winners and those who influence.
7. Investor opportunities
If you want investors, then you need to give them reasons to invest. People invest in people, just like they employ people or buy from people: because of the person and their personal brand.
If you have a fully rounded personal brand on LinkedIn that looks impressive and is backed up with substance as well as style, then you are more likely to (1) get investors approaching you and (2) be welcomed with an open door when you approach investors.
Why should someone invest in you if you can't invest in yourself personally?
8. Reassure shareholders
If you want to reassure shareholders and keep them informed about what you're doing and how well you're doing, then having a personal brand that is full of confidence and updates on LinkedIn is key. Blog about your successes, let people know about your innovations and direction. Educate, inform, inspire.
9. Events and network marketing
If you want to be an event speaker of any kind, from speaking for a company at an event to speaking at a conference, then you need to give the organizer of that event the confidence to employ you.
If your personal brand on LinkedIn contains no speaking engagements, no details of when you chaired an event successfully, or no recommendations from other event organizers, then why should a future event organizer employ you?
Add pictures, videos of you in action, and list all of the events that you have done and are doing. Confidence is everything in event speaking, for the organizers as well as the speakers. That confidence comes from a confident personal brand.
Your use of keywords will also determine whether you get found or not. If you don't list what you have done speaking-wise, then how do you expect people to find you and know you're any good at speaking?
If you want to blog for a media brand, then you have to demonstrate that you have the credibility and the following to convince a publisher to allow you to blog for them and be exposed to their audience.
They have to want you to publish for them. List your writing experience and blogging experience on your personal brand on your LinkedIn profile.
11. Employer branding
People work for leaders with an enhanced personal brand. If you want employees in places like Singapore (where there is virtually full employment), or you want to keep existing employees, then you have to have a personal brand worth following.
All great leaders have great personal brands. In the Digital Age, LinkedIn has become a primary channel to project your personal brand. In a competitive world, you need to impress and inspire your employees into seeing that you're worth working for and that you are worth staying with, and you need to impress future employees into seeing that you're worth following.
A great personal brand can tick so many boxes when it comes to this. Give people reasons to see that they can learn from you and that you are worth following.
If you want to be recommended and referred to by others, then you need a personal brand on LinkedIn that is worth showing to other people. Remember: your LinkedIn personal profile never sleeps; it's being viewed 24/7 by people all around the world. Try googling your name. What comes up first? Your LinkedIn profile.
Worth thinking about. (PS: try googling your company and what comes up first or second? Your LinkedIn company page. Even more frightening is for some company pages, MNCs and SMEs come before any mention of the company that you've done the search on. All that hard work on their website is blown away because they have no updates on their LinkedIn company page.)
If you want to be headhunted, it goes without saying that you need a great personal brand on LinkedIn that contains all your achievements, awards, associations, companies you have worked for, promotions you have gained, and innovative things that you have done.
If you don't, then there are plenty of other people on LinkedIn whom a head-hunter can move on to who will show all their achievements and give reasons why they should be picked because of the way that they have communicated their personal brand on LinkedIn. With no keywords, you won't even get found in the first place.
In summary, you are in charge of your own personal branding. If you wish to achieve great things in the business world, LinkedIn is the first place that this starts.
If you don't look after your own personal brand, you are more likely to fail in your ambitions, and your competitors are more likely to win.
If you do, you are more likely to win and succeed in your business objectives, whatever they are.
When you've put in the effort to craft your personal brand on LinkedIn, you best position yourself to make tremendous gains when you start working LinkedIn's many special offerings to socially sell your business's services or products.
What is social selling exactly? How can you strategically apply LinkedIn's offerings to become a Rock Star at social selling? That's what the next section is all about!
Remember, though, to excel at social selling on LinkedIn, you first have to establish a strong personal brand on LinkedIn.
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