You undoubtedly know that building a personal brand is important -- I talked about it in a previous blog post here. Thanks to social media, the 'behind the scenes' cast of companies, large and small, has become extremely accessible.
Consumers now, more than ever, are interested in connecting with a personal brand first, and then engaging with a company. Your personal brand acts as a gateway to your business, and when you create a unique personal brand it draws people to your service or product.
Here are five tips to help you build a stronger personal brand.
1. Never stop learning.
In order to build a strong personal brand you must become an expert in your industry. Even once you reach that expert status, the self-education cannot stop.
You must constantly read and learn -- attend conferences and workshops, join mastermind groups with other industry experts -- do whatever it takes to remain sharp and on the cutting edge of your industry.
2. Constantly share your knowledge.
Being the foremost expert and constantly learning isn't going to benefit your personal brand unless you share the information with others. You can do this through a blog, webinars, downloadable white papers and social media.
This sharing of information shows potential customers that you know your industry and it translates into positive exposure for your company. You can also leverage your knowledge and use it as a way to generate leads. Gate your webinars and white papers, requiring an email address to access the information. Most consumers will gladly hand over their email address in exchange for information they deem to be valuable.
3. Let your true personality shine.
It's important that you be yourself, and don't try to mirror the personality of someone else in your space. Consumers are extremely sharp -- they can easily identify a genuine and real personality over a manufactured façade. Take Gary Vaynerchuk for example -- he is as real as it gets, dropping f-bombs left and right, while saying exactly what is on his mind at all times. His personal brand exploded because people appreciated his authenticity.
It's important that you come across as a real person and not a sales robot. Mix in a little bit of your passions and interests to connect to your audience on a more human level. For example, simply including that I'm a diehard Red Sox fan in my Twitter bio has sparked many introductions and conversations that wouldn't have happened otherwise.
4. Highlight your strengths.
What is the one thing that makes you an expert in your field? What strengths have contributed to your success? These are all key selling points that will help you attract consumers to your business through your personal brand.
I built my digital marketing company entirely through content marketing and my personal brand. I bootstrapped its growth, and now the majority of companies that I consult with are hiring me to help them do the same thing. Through building my personal brand they see what I have done for myself and come to me wanting the exact same type of exposure for their own personal brand and company.
5. Build your social media and content platform.
You need to have as many content outlets as possible -- a blog and a presence on all relevant social media platforms, at the very least. You can use your own blog as a training ground to create your "voice" and polish up your writing skills. From there, you can explore securing columns on relevant websites that your audience is likely to read on a regular basis.
Post frequently, engage with your audience and don't forget point number three above -- let your personality shine. Share your own content and information about your company, but also mix in content from other sources that you think your audience will benefit from. You want the content you share to provide value and not come across as overly promotional.
Jonathan Long is the Founder & CEO of Market Domination Media®, an online marketing agency that provides SEO coaching and online marketing consulting. Jonathan also created EBOC.co (Entrepreneurs & Business Owners Community), a private business forum. Follow him on Twitter.