We are in the age of the personal brand. Nearly every single successful brand is growing as such because of the personal stories woven within them.
Here’s how to raise your personal brand game!
New to personal branding? Check out these 9 Ways to Begin Personal Branding.
All of these steps work together to build one cohesive brand for yourself. So, while these are 11 separate, actionable steps, please keep in mind that they all mesh together and when doing each one of them, you should be keeping your overall brand in mind to lead your style and voice.
1- Complete your personal brand style guide
Uniformity is key to any brand building. Think of the most recognizable brands: Starbucks, with their signature cups and colors, McDonalds with their arches, yellow, and red, or Nike with their checkmark, “Just Do It” phrase, and ramp up vibes. What do you want people to think of when they see, interact, or work with you? The answers to this question (which will take some time develop) are what will lead you in personal branding. It’ll help you decide the tone you want to write in, the photos you want on social media, and the people you want to connect with.
Consistency is key. To help you identify the style of your personal brand and have it documented to refer to, grab my personal brand style guide below. It’s free, fun and helpful!
2- Create networking goals
Push yourself to create concrete networking goals. Instead of thinking of networking as something you do at events or bars when the opportunity presents itself, make specific goals. Some ideas for these goals:
- Send three cold emails to influencers/career idols a week
- Push to get coffee with someone in industry once a month
- Attend young professional workshops once a month
3- Create emails with your custom domain
One of the best (and my favorite) personal branding tools is your personal website, which is on the list of beginning personal branding strategies. Once you have that website, build an email address with your domain as the address. For example, my personal website is: leahgervais.com. Instead of using an email such as: email@example.com, I use: firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s more professional.
4- Get published
The basics of personal branding include publishing online on sites like Twitter, Quora, and Medium. Take your writing to the next level by publishing on a bigger site such as Forbes, The Huffington Post, or Inc.
5- Use live videos
Live videos are one of the best advantages of social media and the digital age we live in. It’s a way to connect like never before with people we don’t even know! I know that I feel like I gauge so much more of a person by seeing them in video than I ever could from just photos or writing. Embrace it! Here are some platforms to use video on:
Instagram Stories and Instagram Live are both awesome platforms to connect with people on Instagram. It’s been my first entries into the video world for my blog and I’ve loved it! It’s easy for people to reply to your story with questions or comments and is builds engagement naturally.
Similar to Instagram Stories, this is a fun, quick and casual way to use video and engage. And the filters are oh so fun.
6- Use an email follow up system
Emails won’t work if you don’t follow up, and it’s all too easy to let emails follow through the cracks when life gets busy. I’m a huge fan of the Google chrome plugin Boomerang, which is free! It lets you schedule your emails, reminds you when you haven’t heard back from certain emails, and reminds you to reply to an email within a time frame so you don’t forget. I highly recommend it!
Here’s a shot of how it works:
7- Get professional photos taken
If you don’t already have professional photos, it’s worth investing in some headshots. They don’t have to be extremely expensive but having a nice camera will help a lot. At the minimum, make sure your photos on social media and the like are just of you, not with others, and not even cropping out others.
8- Set up Google Plus
We all know that employers, clients, and even those were dating google us more and more frequently these days. As you can imagine, Google will rank your Google Plus profile higher than other online platforms. So, update or create your Google Plus profile to show the best of you and fear no more what comes up when you’re Googled!
9- Figure out a networking system
As you know, networking isn’t about meeting people, it’s about building relationships. No matter how many business cards you exchange or hands you shake, cultivating those relationships and helping people is how you build community.
To help those relationship grow, I highly recommend coming up with a consistent system that allows you to keep track of who you meet. For me, I keep a google spreadsheet. I input their first and last names, their company, how I met them, what date, and any notes about what I want to remember about them. I try to update this weekly with who I met that week. Then, quarterly, (when I update my goals) I review this spreadsheet and note who I haven’t been in touch with for a while. I’ll shoot those people an e-mail and try to get coffee or happy hour with them soon.
10- Join a Mastermind
I wouldn’t have been able to build my side hustle into a six figure business without a strong network and community.
That’s why I built my signature mastermind. It brings people together in a way that leverages their network to their highest career goals.
11- Identify your career role models + create systems to get in touch with them
Thanks to social media and the good ole world wide web, our role models (even celebrities) are not as far removed from us as they may seem. Within the networking system you have in place, include people that you dream of meeting, and slowly but surely start figuring out how to connect with them. Whether that’s finding mutual connections until you can personally meet, cold emailing or showing up at events they’re at (definitely guilty of this), or whatever way works for you, get going!
Since I began targeting specific career role models of mine about a year ago, I’ve been so lucky with the connections I’ve made. This include a Skype session with Ann Shoket, an interview with Nicole Lapin, and a pizza date with Melyssa Griffin; all inspiring and driven entrepreneurial women that were literally dreams come true to meet. Don’t let yourself believe that you’re not worthy of meeting even your biggest role models!