Personal branding can be a highly effective marketing strategy for many small business owners. Although the term has only come into widespread use in recent years, the tactic has been around for centuries. Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Meg Whitman and of course Donald Trump have all used personal branding to establish and expand their business empires. And few individuals have ever executed the tactic as successfully as the late Steve Jobs.
As a small business owner, establishing your own personal brand will allow you to grow and expand your current business. A well-established personal brand can also be extremely valuable in the event you should choose to change careers or strike out on a new business venture.
The following are some keys to building a strong, enduring personal brand.
Be the Expert
As the successful owner of a small business, you no doubt have some degree of expertise and you can use that expertise to help build your personal brand.
Chambers of commerce, networking groups and civic organizations are constantly looking for qualified people to speak at their functions. and the media regularly seeks out experts to provide perspective for their news stories, and content for their editorial pages.
Blogging is another great way to establish yourself as a thought leader within your industry or community.
The key is to always identify yourself with your small business. Over time, the reputation you build as an expert in your field will translate into greater trust in your small business.
In order to build your personal brand, you’ll need to be constantly involved in your industry and community. Fortunately, the evolution of social media has made that task easier than ever. In addition to your online business assets, you should create and maintain personal Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles.
You should also be actively involved in business associations and civic organizations. Volunteering your services as a speaker and serving as an officer will generate attention and provide valuable opportunities to build your personal brand.
The old adage “people judge you by the company you keep” holds true in business. Establishing relationships with leaders within your industry and community is a great way to increase your personal stock.
Finally, your personal brand is not a costume you don only when in the public eye. It is an expression of your core values and style, and it must be genuine. Your company should be an expression of yourself anyway, so there shouldn’t be a dramatic change from your personal dealings to your business persona. Just make sure to be consistent from one to the other.