When someone goes online to search for your name, you want to carefully curate what they see, especially if you own a business, you want to advance your career, or perhaps make 2023 the year you switch careers.
Your personal brand is how you define what you stand for as an individual, and it’s a combination of your skills, experiences, and values that all set you apart. If you’re a freelancer, influencer, or just someone who wants to build a business or career, your personal brand is important.
People perceive you in a certain way, whether you take steps to control their perception or not, so it’s usually worthwhile to shape your brand into what you want it to be.
When you have a strong, consistent, and positive personal brand, it increases your credibility. You’re showing that you have knowledge and skills in a certain area. You’re differentiating yourself from other people who are in the same industry or space as you, you’re setting a lasting impression, and you’re connecting with your targeted audience in a deeply personal way by showing what you stand for and who you are.
Personal branding also means that you’re communicating your identity to the right people, and just like a corporate brand doesn’t resonate with everyone, neither will yours.
When you strategically create your personal brand, you can advance your career and your entire life, for that matter. You can gain new connections and opportunities, and those can end up being life-changing.
Based on a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers will screen job candidates by looking at their social media.
The following are things to know if your resolution in 2023 is to build a powerful, cohesive personal brand.
Personal Branding Elements
Everyone’s personal brand will, of course, be unique, but there are some elements that it should include across the board. These include:
- Authenticity: Your personal brand needs to be and feel authentic. A fake personal brand will mean that there will inevitably be inconsistencies. Plus, people are more discerning than you might even realize, making it easy for them to spot a fake personal brand or one that’s not fully authentic.
- Integrity and values: You have to be someone who knows what your values are and sticks with your principles. You should always operate with the utmost integrity in business. From a business perspective, when you know what you stand for and also, in many ways, what you stand against, you can make decisions that go beyond just money. You also need to be trustworthy in your brand and how you operate in your career.
- Uniqueness: Your personal brand should include something that’s the equivalent of a unique selling point for a product or corporate brand. What is it about you, your background, or your story that makes you completely unique? What is it that makes you so good at what you do?
So, how can you put these things together into a personal brand that will give you new opportunities in 2023?
Figure Out Who Exactly You Are
Figuring out who you are can sound simple, but for a lot of people, it ends up being the toughest part of building a brand for them.
Some introspection is core to any good personal branding. Think about what drives you, what people compliment you on, and what you enjoy. At the same time, think about things that might not be as pleasant for you to face, like what you struggle with and the types of tasks and activities that tend to drain your energy the most.
Think deeply, and if you aren’t sure where to start, then you can ask friends and family who know you best.
How Do You Want People to See You?
As a next step, how do you want people to see you? What do you want your reputation to be, and how do you want to be known?
As part of this, put things in the context of your industry, whether it’s what you’re currently in or what you want to be in.
What types of experiences, talents, and knowledge do you need to succeed within your industry?
You also want to define what your niche is, within your larger industry. You can never appeal to every person, and when you use your niche to guide your marketing, you’re narrowing down who you hope to appeal to.
Audit and Optimize Your Social Presence
After you’ve done some soul-searching to determine who you are and who you want to appeal to, you can start to build your actual personal brand on social media sites. For example, you should have a good idea of exactly who your targeted audience is by this point, so you can then go to the places where the people you want to connect with are most likely to be.
You have to stay consistent across all social media. This doesn’t just mean on business-related sites like LinkedIn. People can find essentially anything about you these days online, so make sure that you’re representing yourself consistently and professionally, even on your personal profiles.
On your LinkedIn profile, make sure you complete all the sections, and if possible, use a professional headshot. You also want to be strategic about how you include your skills. Think from the perspective of your targeted audience and what they’re likely to search for.
You should also use keywords, just like any marketer would do for SEO purposes, so that you’re found when people are looking for someone with skills like yours.
Create a Personal Website
Finally, if you don’t already have one, you need to create a personal website and optimize it according to your brand. Your personal website should ideally have a domain that’s your name, and you should buy a web hosting plan.
Your personal website should include things about you, information about your accomplishments and past experiences, and links to all your socials. You’ll also want a value proposition, testimonials, a professional headshot, and a class-to-action.