When you’re just starting a business, your personal brand is one of the best ways for potential customers to get a glimpse of your values and beliefs. It’s the overall qualitative theme of your social media profiles, posts, likes and network that you share with visitors, whether you professionally curate these areas or not.
A personal brand involves so many constantly evolving layers that it can sometimes feel impossible to get a handle on everything. Here, we’ll take a closer look at how to develop your personal brand to best suit your startup’s vision.
Find your niche and identify your audience
Let’s say you’re a personal trainer. There are millions of personal trainer profiles on the internet; it will be incredibly difficult to stand out from the crowd without specializing in a very unique area. Your personal brand should be as distinctive as you are, so it’s important to highlight your expertise and promote the areas in which you shine.
What do you have to offer with your personal brand? Identifying your audience, or who you’re targeting, will help you curate your content and deliver a more engaging experience.
- Develop your website
Your website is the online representation of your personal brand and your business itself, so it must reflect your vision appropriately. Even if you don’t sell products or services online, it’s essential to have a clean, easy-to-use website that reflects your brand with an accurate listing of contact information, physical location (when applicable), and links to your active social channels at a minimum. Don’t link to inactive platforms, though; concentrate on what you can maintain unless you have a dedicated team devoted to customer management.
Once your website is up and running, continue to enhance your domain with strategies like search engine optimization (SEO), content and social media marketing. Having a niche will help your efforts in this area since you’ll be competing against fewer experts just like you. Make sure to incorporate your logo and brand template or color scheme into your website design to establish a recognizable look and feel.
- Amplify your mission statement
What do you provide to visitors? Are you trying to give your customers a quicker way to purchase something? If so, include messaging about fast shipping with a prominent link to your shop. Do you claim to have the best customer service? Put your phone number in a large font at the top of the page. Whenever possible, use your mission statement to guide your online presence and enhance your personal brand through website design and messaging.
- Claim any local pages
If you have an online local listing on Yelp or a similar business directory site, make sure to claim ownership of the business page to ensure the information is accurate and kept up-to-date. Incorrect or outdated pages can easily detract from your online reputation.
- Develop consistency across channels
Use the same color scheme, graphic style or template from your main website to design social media profiles and local pages, if applicable. Your handles, URLs and display names should all be consistent. Update and maintain any contact information and logos or headshots, as well. Develop and utilize a consistent voice or tone for any copy like messaging or blogs posted from your profiles.
- Align yourself with similar brands, people or services
Look to align yourself with similar brands or personas by liking, reposting and engaging with similar content. You can gain more legitimacy and visibility with a larger network of like-minded people. Better yet, a content partnership or exchange with a similar site can promote your personal brand while expanding your audience reach.
- Keep it fresh
You need to keep your website’s content up to date in order to optimize audience engagement and keep up with periodic Google algorithm updates. The goal is to provide your audience with content they’ll interact with, and you’ll be able to generate more visits with shares, reposts and retweets.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to dedicate time to maintain and monitor your online personal brand periodically; SEO, networking and content development are long-term, ongoing efforts.