Most business owners understand the importance having a ‘personal brand’. It’s your key differentiator and, in the wonderful world of social media, it has a massive effect on your ability to succeed with your business. Cutting the key, or as I call it, creating the best version of you, takes time, energy and money. Yet not so many people invest enough in any of those things. So, to help you on the way, drawn from my own experience, are six simple things you can do to make sure your ‘brand’:
- Represents who you are
- Shows what you stand for
- Engages your target market
- Then convinces your market to work with you, buy your product or use your services
No 1: TELL YOUR STORY
Telling your story is a great way to help people understand who you are and decide whether they like you! I went on a course about telling your story held by Sarah Archer. She helped me to understand why it’s so important for people to know your history and why you’re doing what you’re doing now. They connect with you at a deeper level than: ‘oh, Reshma, that lady that does your colours’. They understand that, for me, it’s not about superficial fashion but actually about empowering people to look and feel amazing every day, setting an example for my daughters and working with charities.
No 2: KNOW YOUR TARGET MARKET
This is still about you. You have to understand your own core beliefs, your own vision for your company or align yourself with the beliefs of the company you work for. This could lead you to realising you are targeting the wrong people or working for the wrong company. Ask yourself, who you want to work with, collaborate with etc. I would recommend speaking to someone like Kaye King of Quercus Marketing. Her skill is in getting you to hone in on your ideal client. In turn you’ll realise so much more about yourself.
No 3: GET A DECENT HEADSHOT
This may sound obvious, but so many people don’t have a half decent photo of themselves on their various social media profiles. Having an avatar of your dog or horse might be cute but it’s not professional. I find it strange to connect with someone on LinkedIn, for example, if they haven’t got a photo of themselves. It’s also hard if people are wearing sun glasses, hats etc. I meet so many people via social media and then find struggle to recognise them in real life from their photo. I’ve had professional headshots taken by Lis McDermott of Headshot Diva. If you don’t have the budget, Lis does workshops and individual sessions on how to take photos of yourself for business. There are also various blogs out there on how to do this so there’s no excuse to have your wedding photo up there or a snapshot from your latest holiday. It also helps if you look like yourself now. So, if you haven’t updated your photo to a recent one, that is worth doing too. This gives people the chance to get to know what you look like so they can recognise you at a networking event. It helps potential clients too as they feel they already know you.
NO 4: BE SOCIAL ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Anyone who knows me, knows I’m quite a social sort of person. I love meeting people and getting to know about them. I’m also quite social on social media. I’m judicious about which social media platforms I spend time on. Running two businesses I’ve got double the marketing, PR and social media to do. It sucks up time and effort – and then I still have to get around to doing the work! So I’ve chosen to focus on LinkedIn, a handful of Facebook groups, Wilts Hour on Twitter and Instagram. And I’m very active on all these platforms. By which I mean that I support other businesses, friends, and people I collaborate with. How? By engaging with their posts, commenting, liking and sharing wherever I can. And why not? I like helping people succeed. I like supporting other small business owners. And I do enjoy it. I also post my own stuff a lot and it’s not very often about Will Writing or Personal Styling. People get to know who I am through my posts and engagement. They already know me before we meet. It breaks the ice and eases personal engagement with them when the time comes.
No 5: NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK
I could write an essay on this and I am a prolific networker because I love meeting people. When I first returned to Swindon to set up my businesses I knew no one. I employed a ‘scatter gun’ approach to networking. This technique involved trying lots of different events and networking groups to see which ones I liked. I’ve since narrowed it down and I now know so many lovely people in the local business community. And networking works for me because I know it brings in the work I want, with the people I want to work with. I’ve also gained an amazing support network from it too. And of course, people get to know me, what I’m like and how I work.
By the way, if you don’t have time to do all this, call in a VA to help. Emma Boatman of Boatman Admin Services is great. She can take away the admin side of the business for you, leaving you free to do that thing you’re good at. All of which is a way more productive use of your time.
No 6: KNOW YOUR OWN STYLE
This applies to your own style of work. But of course, what I’m focusing on here is your image. You are your biggest asset as a business owner and as an employee working up the career ladder. How you present yourself everyday can have a huge effect on how others perceive you and the assumptions and judgements that people will make about you. This is because we create first impressions in less than a second of meeting someone and it all happens in our subconscious. So, my advice is to have a style an image audit to make sure that your first impression is the one you want to make. And that’s where little old me can come in quite handy! Who knew?
I hope this has been helpful. Everything you read here is what I’ve learnt through my own experiences of running two businesses. Do get in touch if you’d like more information on any of the above.
I am also running a workshop on 26th February all about personal branding so if you want more details take at the link below: