Using social media to become known in your industry is no longer just a vehicle for celebrities and public figures. The incredible thing about it is it’s accessible for anyone to talk about their expertise and talents. You no longer need to have been on TV or radio or written a book to be seen.
You can use your personal brand to elevate your visibility so you can become the go-to professional in your industry. It’s an effective way to stand out from your competitors.
Forget the cynics and naysayers who say personal branding is just a marketing ploy and something not worth wasting time or effort on. Personal branding is all too often misunderstood as something where you have to share personal details or talk about some major incident in your life which changed you. Personal branding isn’t this.
It is about showing your personality and being relatable and real wherever you are, whether online or in person. In a crowded market where consumers have access to all kinds of media and review sites to decide whether they like you and want to buy from you, standing out from the crowd matters. In 2022, if you’re not taking advantage of personal branding, you are missing a golden marketing opportunity.
Personal branding when you work in a regulated profession
This can be a real challenge especially if you are working in an industry that doesn’t traditionally encourage you to use your personality and give your perspective. Regulated professions such as financial services, accountancy or the law profession are not usually known for urging their representatives to stand out as individuals, but maybe more fit into a corporate identity.
The aim of this article will help to give you a fresh perspective on why using having a personal brand and using social media will give you a huge advantage, especially if you are running your own business or working independently in these sectors.
How social media marketing works for your personal brand
Building your personal brand means you can use your personal profiles on platforms such as LinkedIn and Instagram to encourage prospects to get to know you. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others work equally as well. From there they can grow to like you and hopefully trust you. They are then much more likely to want to hire you.
However, this isn’t about posting lots of salesy and spammy content promoting your offers. All this does is encourage more scrolling.
If you want people to stop on your posts and actually give you some attention, then you’ve got to give them something worth investing their precious time on reading or watching (yes, a short video can work very effectively)
Talk about what makes you you
I call this sharing your superpowers.
What are your talents? What is your expertise? What’s your experience? Who do you work with? How do you help them? What are your offers and services?
It’s not just these though. It’s not just what you do and who you help. You also want to let your target audience know why they should choose you over someone else. I call this using your ‘why buy me?’ pitch.
How to craft your ‘Why Buy Me?’ pitch
Here’s some questions to ask yourself which may help you.
What are you truly passionate about in your business?
What are your values?
What motivated you to start your career or, if you are working for yourself, what motivated you to start your business?
What makes you unique and different?
What do your peers and previous clients say about you?
What do people think of when they think about you?
Why do you think you can help the clients/customers you want to help?
What will the transformation be for those who buy from you?
Craft these responses into your ‘why buy me?’ pitch, which can be included in your elevator pitch.
This is the kind of information that will have you standing out from the competition. Tell your story and get your ideal clients interested in you and wanting to know more.
Use this to show your personality in your social media profiles. Include these details in your LinkedIn About section and your other social media bios, so that you immediately draw your audience in with what your superpowers are and what to expect when people buy from you.
The more value you can give to your audience the better and posting your own content on social is the perfect vehicle for highlighting your personal brand and attracting your ideal clients.
Creating high value content
What does high value content mean?
Aim to create posts which are
Informative, Educational, Entertaining, Inspiring
It doesn’t have to be all of these, but it does have to be something that will stop platform users from scrolling.
If it’s meaningful, relatable content which encourages your audience to respond either through comments on the feed or in direct messages to you, then treat this as content which is working.
One of the best ways to be relatable is to show your audience that you understand their pain points and problems.
Don’t assume that you know what they are concerned about or looking for the answers to. You can only find out what the pain points and problems truly are if you ask them.
It’s perfectly ok to ask questions. Ask your audience what is bothering them or what they would like help with.
I recently posted about the topic of asking questions on a LinkedIn post and received this perceptive comment.
‘Asking questions is key and it’s how we learn. In my role as a pensions’ specialist, I need to establish an individual’s goal by asking questions. From this, I am much better positioned to do all I can to help and support them.’
You can ask as many questions as you wish to help inform your content. Conducting simple surveys with three or four questions or having a sample group that you ask questions to can be useful.
Keep a list of all the questions or problems that your audience ask about. This is a highly effective starting point for creating your social media content especially if you ask questions in a personable and relatable way. Make sure you put your personality into the answers too.
It may not have always been the practice to ask questions of your clients, especially in a regulated profession but you can gain so much useful background information to inform your social media.
e.g. Do you worry about asking how much it costs to hire an accountant?
Do you feel having a financial advisor is a luxury?
Are you embarrassed about speaking to a financial advisor?
Are you worried about a lawyer confusing you with legal jargon?
Does thinking about your finances when you retire fill you with dread?
These are the kind of questions you could ask your audience, but they will have many more. You will have to keep encouraging them to ask them but if you provide as many opportunities as possible for them to ask, then they will get into the swing of it. Use polls and surveys to gain insights.
Creating social media content from your audience’s questions
Once you have gathered as many questions as you can, you will have the basis from which to create social media posts that truly resonate with your audience. Why? Because you have addressed their needs and answered their pain points. You’ll have taken the guesswork out of knowing what to post because you already have the material with which to create high value, meaningful content which relates to your ideal client.
With your personal brand as your foundation, you can then build your social media posts using the content type that you feel most comfortable with and works best for your audience. You can answer their questions in longer written posts or in Q&A type answers. Creating video content or being on live streams on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn are particularly effective ways of promoting your personal brand. If you are confident about showing your face and speaking on camera, you’ll quickly become more relatable to your audience. It’s a sure fire way to stand out, especially if you consistently create video content.
There’s no denying that crafting your personal brand and creating meaningful, high value content in which you share your expertise, knowledge and viewpoints requires focus and patience.
This is an approach you have to commit time and effort to, but in the long run creating a personal brand is one of the best ways to become known in your industry.
When you are sharing something which is unique and individual, because that is what you are as a human being, then you’re giving yourself the best opportunity to stand out and become the go-to expert. You will no longer be the best kept secret!
When your potential clients are drawn to you by your personal brand and they recognise you as the right person to tackle their pain points with what you offer, then you are much more likely to win their business and keep them as loyal customers in the longer term.
Are you a professional working in a regulated industry and wanting to work on your personal brand? I’d like to help you. I’m keen to see many more business owners in these sectors use personal branding effectively to attract their ideal clients. Drop me a message here to see how I can help you.
What does your personal brand mean?
Does it matter?
How can having a personal brand make a difference to your business brand?
Personal branding has become a bit of a buzzword, an overused phrase that leaves many rolling their eyes. Are you one of those who is left thinking what on earth is personal branding about?
Why does a personal brand matter?
Whether you are starting out as a new business owner or you’re an established entrepreneur, you’ll want to be found in the market. We all need clients, right, but it can be so disheartening on a competitive and crowded playing field when we’re pitching against others, but not being seen.
Have you ever found yourself going to networking meetings and then ending up feeling slightly dejected because there were others there running a similar business to you? How do you start to stand out?
This is where your personal brand can make the difference. I was a teacher for a long time before I became a social media marketer. I had fantastic social media marketing training and I felt confident that I could help small business owners with their social media, but I was struggling to raise my profile. Do you know how many social media managers and consultants are out there?! I needed to find a way to find my own voice and stand out from the crowd. Working on my personal brand proved to be key.
Find your superpowers
Your personal brand defines what makes you different and what you can offer that will help your customers. You need to find a way for your expertise, what you’ve got to offer, your knowledge and your talents to stand out. Think of your personal brand as a package which represents what you offer and how you can make a difference to your customers.
Imagine you’re on a supermarket shelf. What makes you the sparkly, shiny, different package to all the others that are on the shelf? Are you are going to be the one that people are drawn to because you have got your personal branding right?
What does it involve?
Think of your personal brand like this:
- how your offers help customers and clients to address their pain points
- how you show up on social media
- what your website says about you (not your product or service)
- what you say and how you behave when you go to networking, both online and in person
- how you talk to people about your business
Your personal brand creates transparency and trust in your business for new followers on social media or people who land on your profile after a Google search.
Yes, you have your business brand, whether it be a physical product or you have a service that you sell, but if you add your personal brand to this, you’ll establish the all important ‘know, like and trust’ relationship more quickly.
I speak from personal experience. I started on this journey thinking about my personal brand about three years ago. Since then I have thought carefully about my motivation for my business, what my values are, what my expertise and knowledge is, and how I package this up into offers which help my audience decide if they want to buy from me. My personal brand has enabled me to get my ideal clients, because they know who I am.
Why are people put off the term ‘personal branding’?
Understandably there are those who are sceptical about talking about their personal brand, perhaps because they think it’s all about being personal. Surely, it is about having to talk about your life story or family or sharing photos of what you had for breakfast. No, it doesn’t have to be.
Show your audience what your expertise is, what your knowledge is, what your mission is, how it is that you want to help people. My personal brand encapsulates wanting to help entrepreneurs feel more confident about creating content and less overwhelmed about posting on social media.
You control the message
There is strong evidence that if you are prepared to talk about your values and your mission, this will ensure you have control about the public view of you. You can control the message that is being put out without there being any misconceptions or doubts.
Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos said,
‘Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.’
If you want to control this and it matters to you that your brand is built on a good reputation, then you’ve got to craft the message.
How to ensure your personal brand is authentic
Spend some time reflecting honestly on what you think about yourself. You’ll also want the message about yourself to align with what other people say about you too.
Try this activity to start working on crafting a personal brand message which is genuinely you. It will help you to meld together what you see as your strengths and incorporate what others think about you.
Start by listing the following:
- words which describe your character
- your wins
- your greatest successes, not just in your business now, but what you’ve done previously.
- businesses you have previously owned or previous jobs you’ve had
- go back to your successes from when you were at school and college
- think about the good things that people have said about you in the past
- your current expertise, knowledge, skills, talents and interests
You want to write everything down.
Then look at your client reviews and testimonials. Look at what other people are saying about you, your friends, your associates. This will also take time.
Brain dump every bit of information that’s about you. There will be more words, phrases and statements than you realise.
Then start to cross off and discard all the bland, samey and boring bits that are not going to help you stand out and lack dynamism. Whittle your lists down until you get to statements and words which you feel strongly define you, but are also reflected in the words of your clients, your community, your friends, your associates.
Shorten it down to as few statements as possible because you want your brand values to be as focused and succinct as possible.
I managed to summarise all my information into three neat themes – Communication Counts, I’m happy to stand out from the crowd and The teacher in me.
These themes are authentically me. Take a look at my table to see how I arrived at them. The statements listed underneath each heading are what I regard as my superpowers and what others have said about me.
You could arrange your statements in a table like this to make it visually easier to understand.
Don’t try to be everybody’s cup of tea
Find out what is authentically you and become known for what you want to be known for.
It’s all too easy, especially on social media, to compare yourself to other people. It is more important to think about what makes you different to them. This is: You. Think about yourself and what makes you authentic.
You don’t need to be liked by everybody. You don’t want to be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’. Trying to please everybody and be all things to all people will result in your content becoming the same as everybody else’s. In other words, beige and forgettable.
Your personal brand will help to focus on the customers and clients that you want to attract. If you’re too general and bland, you won’t attract your ideal clients in the first place and then they are less likely to come back to you.
Make your personal brand so powerful, strong and defined that people want to keep coming back to just you. They won’t be tempted to look elsewhere, because they’re a bit bored with you.
The sweet spot is when what you’re offering matches the needs of your ideal client. This is key for marketing your personal brand.
Hopefully, I’ve helped you to see the benefits of a personal brand and how it enhances your business brand. Think of it as a way to express what you want to be known for. If you keep in mind that ‘people buy from people’, your personal brand is an asset that you need to promote. It will help to drive your business forward.
Would you like to know more about how to craft your personal brand or define your brand values? I’d like to help you. I’m keen to see many more small business owners use personal branding effectively to attract their ideal clients. Drop me a message here to see how I can help you.