Why Your Personal Brand Is Your Product

Why Your Personal Brand Is Your Product

Most likely your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram profiles appear in the first few results. Related: 5 Must-Read Books to Build Your Personal Brand by Women Authors Who Know How to Get It Done Here are five things that you can do right away to grow your personal brand: 1. LinkedIn One of the best business resources online today is LinkedIn, however standing out on the world’s most extensive social network requires having a profile that’s optimized to be found along with contributing daily on your personal newsfeed. The group that I founded three years ago (Social Media Masterminds) today has grown to over 10,000-plus members and is my personal go-to for business networking on Facebook. Likewise, there are groups that you can join right now to network, add value to the group and thus grow your personal brand or discover business opportunities. Instagram In my article on "How to Grow Your Business Using Instagram," I shared how any business can tap into Instagram. However, the opportunities are endless for personal brand building when using Instagram Stories to share “a day in the life” at your company or to create short, 60-second videos using your iPhone to share industry insights and thought leadership, which will ultimately get others in your industry to take notice over time and view you as an "expert." Public speaking Speaking at industry events like SXSW and Social Media Marketing World over the past several years has helped me grow my personal brand significantly. However, it takes time before you’re granted opportunities to speak at the mega-events in your industry, which is why networking online, contributing thought leadership content and being active within social networks all go hand in hand. Related: How to Grow in Any Industry When You're New

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People do business with those they like and trust doing business with.

If there’s a single reason why you should invest in growing your personal brand it’s the statement — and video — above. In the world of business, sales and marketing are similar to dating whereby as humans we are attracted to other people that we can relate to and feel comfortable with.

Historically, before the internet, business was conducted on the golf course or over drinks at a bar for the reasons why we leverage social media today — to let go of the corporate image and be ourselves.

Although I’ve never been in a boardroom meeting or job interview where my personal brand was the deciding factor in landing an opportunity I can attest to several times where it at least got my foot in the door and helped much more (to seal the deal) with the post-meeting follow up on Instagram or Facebook versus on LinkedIn or by email.

Perception is the reality.

Regardless of how big or small your network is online, we all have a personal brand, and what you likely don’t realize is before someone agrees to meet with you for coffee she’s probably looking you up on Google.

Try this exercise and Google your name right now. Most likely your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram profiles appear in the first few results. Now, click through and take a look at what a prospect you’re courting is going to see.

  • Do you have a professional headshot?
  • Did you last tweet a year ago?
  • Does your Instagram show a mix of your personal hobbies and interests?
  • Do you have a blog or site where you’re branding yourself as an expert in your industry?
  • Does your employer or company share any of your content?

Then, ask yourself the following to conduct a personal brand audit.

  • Are you leveraging social media to share company news and headlines?
  • Are you using Facebook to network within industry groups?
  • When you go to a business event or conference, are you connecting on LinkedIn versus exchanging business cards?
  • Are you actively participating in open discussions on Twitter with industry peers?

Forget follower numbers — in the big picture they’re irrelevant.

The reasons above are why your personal brand matters.

Related: 5 Must-Read Books to Build Your Personal Brand by Women Authors Who Know How to Get It Done

Here are five things that you can do right away to grow your personal brand:

1. LinkedIn

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