If I were to do a search on your name what would I find? Would I find industry accolades? Would you have a complete LinkedIn profile? Or would I see a picture of you doing a keg stand on vacation? Most sales leaders today aren’t thinking about their personal brand. What you do socially and at work has an impact on your career. If you don’t have a strong personal brand, you may not get promoted.
Wiki defines Personal Branding as: the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands.
Many people think branding is for a product or company. In today’s social world, your brand is online 24/7. If you don’t understand the impact, you will get left behind. Below are three areas that have a direct impact on the marketing of YOU.
Every interaction you have with people leaves an impression. It creates your reputation within an organization. That reputation feeds into your personal brand. As your reputation builds internally, it then expands to others outside your organization. People move companies and their reputation follows them. Think about the following questions and how you would answer them.
- What would a peer in your company say about you?
- How would you summarize your performance over the last two years?
- What would the last rep that quit tell me about your leadership style?
- Does your boss trust you? Does your team?
- Do you consider yourself ethical?
If you struggled or hesitated with your answers, you may have a brand problem. Take the time to conduct a personal brand audit. Download the Personal Brand Checklist to get started.
Your Social Presence
Having a complete LinkedIn profile is key to building your personal brand. It should not be a digital copy of your resume. When designing your profile, you should think about how it depicts your brand. Take the time to think about your audience. Your brand is being reviewed by:
- Your customers
- Your prospects
- Your company
- Potential employers
- Industry recruiters
To get you started, here are a few LinkedIn areas that impact personal brand:
- Professional Gallery– This is a great place to post pictures, work samples and articles. Use this section to showcase the work you have done. Many leaders skip this section within the profile builder. Take the time to post information in here that showcases your work.
- Professional Picture– Don’t have your buddy take a photo on a smartphone. Take the time to go have a professional head shot taken. Even worse than a poor photo is no photo. Remember you are building your brand. The first thing people look at is your picture. Make it worth a thousand words.
- Groups– LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups. Research the groups that are relevant to your business and contribute to them. Start answering questions and providing insight to others in the group.
Think of your profile as a highlight reel. You need to market yourself in a way that makes your brand unique.
LinkedIn is a great place to start to build your brand. However, it’s not the only piece to your social strategy. You should also set up a Twitter and Google+ account. These additional channels expand your network. Once you set these accounts up, make sure you use them. Get in the habit of tweeting out relevant industry information. Expand your circle of followers on Google+ and post content. Remember, take every opportunity to market yourself through social media.
Today more than ever you need industry expertise. There are plenty of great blogs, white papers, books, and articles to read daily. Download a reader like Digg, Flipboard, or Feedly to help consolidate information. Then start subscribing to relevant content. Hint: The SBI blog is a great source if you don’t already subscribe. Check your activity feed daily on LinkedIn to see what topics are trending. Follow your competitors and join groups that are relevant to your industry. Look into associations to join. This is an area that you need to own. If you don’t put the effort in, you will become stagnant.
How you market yourself is in your hands. If you want to own it, download the Personal Brand Checklist. Then conduct a Personal Brand Audit.
What does a Personal Brand Audit do?
- Gives you a list of items to focus on for building a best-in-class brand.
- Helps you track progress on the items you have identified as gaps.
- Allows you to manage your personal brand.
- Keeps you in front of the competition.
Building your personal brand is the first step. Maintaining your brand going forward is even more important. Don’t make the audit a onetime exercise. Use the tools you have to continue to build your brand. Today’s businesses are looking for superstars. Make sure your brand reflects you being one of them.