Personal Branding: What You Need to Know and Why

Making a positive impression is crucial in business. Within the first seven seconds of meeting someone new, a person determines a number of factors including status, warmth, and intelligence. No pressure, right?

While you can’t do much to stop people’s automatic mental reactions, you do have power to steer them in a definite direction. This impression making goes beyond dressing nicely and maintaining good posture, and plugs right into all the ways we present ourselves in this digital day and age. Welcome to the world of personal branding in the era of social media and the internet.

If you believe only companies have to worry about branding, think again. Actually, take it beyond mere contemplation and Google yourself – what pops up? Are you the first result on the page? Do you show up at all?

If there is record of you, note the venue and how you are represented. If you are pleased with what you see, congratulations! You have a foot in the right personal brand direction. If your, ahem, youthful pursuits in college are first to pop up, you might want to get to work on re-tooling your image. Even grandmas know how to Google in this day and age.

But, to be successful, personal branding must go beyond the images and words one can easily post on Twitter.

To develop a compelling and truthful personal brand, one must assess passions and commitments to determine in what ways they can be a leader and a role model.

Ask yourself, where do I genuinely want to add knowledge and skills?

Whether it’s entrepreneurship or coding, no matter your stage in life and career, maintaining an ideal representation of yourself is important. To showcase strengths and gain recognition, particularly in populous fields, personal branding will benefit those who invest in it. Along with establishing yourself as a leader in your domain, personal branding also offers the benefit of boosting confidence. Following passions and investing in an authentic self undoubtedly boosts your image—for yourself and those around you.

Here are some steps to help you achieve a great personal brand of your own:

1. Determine who you are

Looking at your resume, talking with colleagues about how they perceive you, and taking a few minutes to jot down what you value are all great ways to figure out who you are and what you stand for. Once you’ve narrowed your focus, try to come up with a succinct sentence that describes your personal brand. Too long and you risk boring your audience, and too short could come off as one-dimensional.

2. Establish who you are

Look for opportunities to share your knowledge with a wider audience. Through writing articles for existing venues, or starting your own professional blog, you can easily build your personal brand.  Other opportunities include joining a podcast, speaking at schools or other organizations, seeking board positions at nonprofits, and more. If you live it, you will quickly become it.

3. Revamp your profiles

It never hurts to dust off your old Facebook profile and make some positive changes. Depending on your role and industry, you could also create a professional account. Take it a step further and buy yourself a website—namecheap.com and GoDaddy.com are two popular domain maintaining companies. Use the power of images, words and audio to enhance your personal brand on the web.

3. Be open

Life and work evolve at a speedy rate. Be your best personal brand by remaining open to growth. Keep learning about your business from seminars, make coffee dates with people in your field, attend workshops in areas of new knowledge. Remain flexible and engaged with the world around you, and you’ll truly inhabit an authentic and persuasive personal brand in no time.

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