I’ve always been a big proponent of having a personal brand. In plain terms your personal brand is what people know you for. Think about that for a second, what are you known for? I would assume when people think about me they know I’m the guy who runs ThinkComputers, takes photos of what he eats and maybe even a guy who gives good advice about running an online business. There are many platforms for building your own personal brand, which we will get into in a second, but why should you waste time building your personal brand?
Let me start with the people who don’t plan on running their own business. You may think that having a website or blog is not important, but when a hiring manager is looking over your resume how are you going to stand out from the rest of the pack? What if you have your resume on your unique website that showed your creative talent? What if you had a blog with thousands of readers / followers on the subject or industry that you are apply for the job in? That would make you stand out right?
What if building a personal brand could lead to a job or eventually help you start your own business? There have been so many examples of this over the past few years: Popular Vine users that have been hired by many companies to make creative Vine videos, Instagram users who take amazing food photos have been hired as food bloggers and there have been so many examples on YouTube. If you have a following and are good at something you become in demand and that can lead to a really cool gig or job, especially if you enjoy what you are doing.
Say you already have a big presence online. Let take for example myself and ThinkComputers. Everyone knows I write on ThinkComputers, but is that all they know me for? Having a personal brand allows me to take the people that may know me for ThinkComputers and turn them on to one of my other projects. This becomes incredibly valuable if your other project is selling a product or service. It is just another way to get customers, who already trust you because they know of your other content. That means they are more likely to purchase the product. Take Sean Ogle for example: I read his Location 180 blog, but I would have no clue about his products unless I read the blog. He mentions them in some of the posts and single I am already a fan of his blog I am more likely to buy one of his products.
So how do you start to build a personal brand? Here are a few ideas…
Start a website or blog
A website is the perfect place for people to find you. I use my website as a blog and you can do the same or use your website to talk about what you have done in the past, what projects you have worked on and just to tell people how awesome you are. I am a huge fan of people having their resume online in a creative manner, it really makes you stand out. Maybe you are selling a product and someone is like who is this Bob Buskirk guy? They Google my name and my blog is the first thing that comes up. They can then read the blog and see what I am all about.
Are you not on twitter already? Twitter is a great way to not only communicate with people, but to build a following. I hate emailing back and forth with people. Twitter is a perfect way to communicate with people, ask questions and more. You can use twitter to link to your content online or maybe you will post a joke each day, something people will get to know you for. This will help you build a following and most importantly stand out.
Instagram is just like the photo version of Twitter, but it is another way to build a following. Many people know me on Instagram for posting food pictures. Is that a good thing? Well since I am known for that I have been invited to many different food events around the area and I have met some really cool people on Instagram over the past year. If you build a following on Instagram it can make you stand out.
You can also start to build your personal brand on Facebook, Vine or Google+.
What I am trying to get across in this post is that whether you run your own business or work a 9-5, do not underestimate the importance of having a personal brand or building a following. It could be the thing that gets you that really cool gig, that awesome job you applied for or helps you sell your product.