You may know that marketing yourself is important. You may have been told to watch what you post online, especially on social media, because it's a reflection of who you are as a person. But have you heard of personal branding? It's a strategy that's been around for a while, but outside of the blogosphere and marketing conferences, you may not know exactly what it is.
What is personal branding?
By definition personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands, according to Wikipedia. Simply enough, right? Unless you're not familiar with what a brand is, and how it can relate to you. In this case, a brand is a name: you.
If people aren't familiar with your name, how will they ever be interested in getting to know you or want to work with you? Because of this, personal branding is necessary to get your name out there. You want more than your name out there, though. Ideally, you should have your work, your passion, and your expertise out there as well.
The next thing you want to know is, why do you need a personal brand? It's how you will become memorable, and stick out from the crowd. Your ability to brand yourself can jump-start your career. A great way to get to get started is by asking the following question:
Who is your audience?
That's up to you. Are you looking for an internship or your first job? Then your brand should interest hiring managers, employers, and PR professionals. Are you looking for more Twitter followers? You need to share a consistent message in all of your tweets. Are you starting a fashion blog and want to get more email subscribers? Then get on Instagram and Pinterest and start working on that call-to-action!
In other words, people will start paying attention to you because they like what you do and what you have to offer.
Here are some tips to begin growing your personal brand:
1. Get a professional headshot of yourself.
Obviously you want people to know who you are and what you look like. It can be the first impression that people have of you when they look you up online. So make it count! It's possible to get professional looking shots done for free too.
2. Clean up your social media accounts.
What exactly does that mean to "clean up" your social media presence? It means get rid of anything that could be seen as inappropriate or distasteful. If someone were to search for you through Google, the first sites that are going to show up are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter,
3. Create an email signature.
Email signatures are a great way to make yourself look more professional online. It's a resource for people to contact you and find you easily; there's been plenty of times where I looked up someone's mobile number or their office location through their email signature. It's so helpful!
4. Pick some colors to enhance your brand.
What are your two or three favorite colors? Use a color palette to determine which colors will look great together, and add it to your brand! Twitter and LinkedIn allow you to add cover photos now, and if you have your own digital portfolio, having a color scheme is just another way to make yourself more memorable. If you want to get business cards, include your colors in those as well.
5. Pick one or two fonts and use them consistently.
Find a guide that will tell you which type of fonts will match. On my site, I use Georgia and Verdana; a serif and a sans serif combination. I also use both fonts in my email settings. My resume is written entirely in Verdana. It's a simple font that's easy to read, and it looks professional.
6. Share your tagline.
No, not a slogan. Taglines are the blurbs you can share on your social media profiles.
7. Brand yourself outside of digital media too.
If you're attending a conference, a job fair, or a networking event, you should brand yourself in person too! Some ways that you can do this are with business cards, your resume, a portfolio, wearing your favorite color, or wearing an item of clothing that could spark a conversation.
So what do you think? Will you start to brand yourself? If you've already started, let me know how the process has worked out for you so far!