Let’s face it—we’d all much rather conduct business with real, genuine people over corporations or large companies. That’s good news for you as a small business owner, because—almost by default—small businesses already have a personal touch. But you know what can make that personal touch even more powerful? Building a personal brand for you as a small business owner.
Here’s the thing—whether you’ve chosen to create one or not, you already have a personal brand. We’re here to help you understand what a personal brand is, teach you why it matters and give advice on how to craft an awesome one that builds your small business’s brand, too:
What is a personal brand?
Your personal brand is your professional image and reputation. Brands are powerful. We buy certain brands of products because we trust their quality and reputation. Your personal brand is no different. People buy into who or what they trust—the people or companies who are interesting, compelling, and reliable. A personal brand is the art of crafting a signature image, unique voice and recognizable standard for yourself that your customers grow to recognize and trust. Icons like Coco Chanel, Steve Jobs and Blake Mycoskie built personal brands that are nearly as strong as the products their names represent—you can too.
Why does it matter?
Personal brands matter for the very reason we stated earlier—people would rather do business with people over corporations. In a world full of advertisements from companies that often fail to deliver, establishing a personal brand allows you to establish a reputation built on personal trust. Once people know you as an expert in your field who can be trusted to follow through on your commitments, you will become the go-to person in your industry.
How do I create a personal brand?
Your personal brand already exists because your digital fingerprints can already be found all over the internet. The real question is how a small business owner can craft a great personal brand with what already exists. Here’s how:
- Be a (social media) boss
Social media is a great tool to help you personally connect with your customers—so make it count. Be purposeful in how you use it. Post the things that reflect your values. Delete the tweets or posts that put you in a negative light. Make your bios on Twitter and LinkedIn tell the story of you and your business—where you came from and how you got where you are.
- Channel your inner Lois Lane
A great way to build your brand is to write and publish content. Do you work with government contractors? Share tips on how they can land contracts. Been in business for 10+ years? Share the secret to your success. Publishing content helps you establish your voice while providing value to your customers.
- Maintain an active voice
Another great way to build your personal brand is to speak on a regular basis on topics in your specific industry. Similar to your published content, share from your knowledge base and provide real value. Speaking at conferences or local events will establish you as an industry thought leader and give you and your small business greater brand recognition.
- Be no one else but the singular, remarkable you
Building a personal brand doesn’t mean you have to pretend to be anyone other than yourself. Your personal brand should be a reflection of who you are—what you believe in and what you stand for. Don’t forget: people connect with people—strengths, weaknesses and all. So be yourself.
By putting yourself out there and crafting a truly awesome personal brand, you’re showing your customers what makes you different, valuable and trustworthy. Greater publicity and recognition for you means greater publicity and recognition for your small business too.
Laura Walton is a freelance writer and contributor for StreetShares. She is passionate about all things social media and public relations as they relate to the topics of small business and veteran entrepreneurship. You can find her on Twitter at @lk_dubs.