Importance of Personal Branding and How to Build Your Personal Brand

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It was in 1996 that Steve Jobs was reinstated as the CEO of Apple which was on the brink of bankruptcy. The rest as they say is history. The man not only saved the company from bankruptcy but ensured that it is counted amongst the top 10 best companies around the world. What’s even fascinating to note in the saga of Steve Jobs is that the brand Steve Jobs was stronger than the brand Apple.

In fact, after his sad, premature death, many were seen talking in hushed tones about the fate of Apple. Would the company be able to sustain itself or would it again crash in the absence of its captain. That’s the power of personal branding. Whether you are the CEO of a company or an employee in a large organization, if you have a powerful personal brand, it adds immense value to the business you are in.

In the globalized world of today, where almost everything is on the internet, personal branding is both an easy as well as difficult task. It easy because you have plenty of avenues to project yourself as an expert in your field; it is difficult because you can easily be found out there and even the slightest of mistakes can ruin the brand called You. Talking of avenues online, here are some important mediums which can make or break your personal brand in this fiercely competitive world.

Facebook

Facebook is the new internet, quite literally. With over 1.8 billion (yes, billion) users and growing, almost everybody with an internet connection is on Facebook today. Among so many other things, Facebook has also launched the subscribe feature which lets users subscribe to interesting pages and people without being friends. That means if you are the CEO of a company or at the helm of things, people are highly likely to check out your page on Facebook.

It is the leader of an organization which determines the value of brand in the eyes of the customers. Thus, you need to make sure that your Facebook page projects a positive personal image.

Even if you are not the leader of an organization, your Facebook page matters a lot. Recent study has suggested that social media is influencing the way HR personnel are hiring the world over. Here are some complete no-no’s when it comes to Facebook as a medium for your personal branding:

1: Keep the pics from that wild night out last night personal. Make sure only your closest friends get to see such pics. You can always tweak the settings in your Facebook account.

2: Make meaningful updates. In order to come across as a serious individual, don’t just update your status for the heck of it. Keep it interesting and if possible, related to your skills and expertise. For example, if you are a copywriter, you can always post new slogans that you coin every now and then. If you are a techie, posting links to interesting bits of news in the world of technology is a good idea.

3: Let the world know about important happenings. It is important to use Facebook about important happenings in your professional life. It could be success in a project or simply thinking about new ideas to grow your business.

A personal website

While Facebook is about connecting with the world out there, a personal website is about blowing your own trumpet. A personal website not only ensures that people have a chance to know the real you, it also means better visibility on search engines. Unless you are a Steve Jobs whose life has been an open book, you do need good visibility to create a buzz around your personal brand. A personal website can help you do that.

Twitter

If you thought people only follow celebs on Twitter, you are wrong. Ever since twitter came on the horizon, the task of discovering new things has become that much easier for people. Twitter users follow all kinds of interesting people- bloggers, experts in various fields and even the sarcastically humorous ones out there. Twitter is the perfect example of what viral marketing is. If you have interesting enough content to share, you can quickly become popular on Twitter Sphere. And if you commit an embarrassing mistake, you can still become popular on Twitter, albeit the wrong way. Need I say more about the importance of Twitter for personal branding?

Twitter also holds fantastic importance for top business honchos out there. People love to know about brands they are part of. Twitter gives CEOs the opportunity to engage their consumers directly and ensure good branding for their organization. A perfect example of the above is the CEO of Mahindra and Mahindra Anand Mahindra. He makes it a point to answer his followers’ questions and keep them updated about the latest happenings. It definitely has had a positive impact on the branding of Mahindra and Mahindra.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is social media for the professional world. Whether you are a freelancer, an executive or a top honcho, trust your business associates, partners and colleagues to glance at your LinkedIn profile at some point or the other. To use LinkedIn as an effective tool for personal branding, make sure you have spent enough time to make a professional looking profile on the site.

Highlight your strengths and make sure your LinkedIn profile is search engine optimized too. And avoid a very common mistake people commit with their LinkedIn profiles- linking it with their Twitter account and tweeting all kinds of stuff.

If you have linked your LinkedIn profile with twitter, make sure you tweet only important stuff which projects a positive image for yourself. If you use Twitter for personal interactions, linking your Twitter account with your LinkedIn profile is never a good idea. It can corrode your personal brand quicker than you think.

YouTube

Videos are one of the best mediums for viral marketing. The recent online rage Kolavei Di vindicates that point. If you really want your personal brand to go viral, there is no better platform than You Tube. People love to follow YouTube channels that are informative or those with interesting content. As an individual, you can tap the potential of You Tube to give your personal brand the extra mileage.

Personalized e-mails

Almost everyone either has a Yahoo account or a Gmail account these days. Branding, whether personal or otherwise, is about standing out from the rest out there. If you want to come across as a dedicated individual who has the required professionalism, a personalized e-mail address can leave that impact. Getting a personalized e-mail address is easy with Google Apps and it is available for free. A personalized e-mail address ensures you have a unique e-mail address and thus, a high recall value.