New Yorker Jasmine Sandler is CEO of Agent-cy Online Marketing and a global social media trainer and author. She will bring her expertise to the SURTEX Conference, 8: 30 – 10 a.m., Tuesday, May 17: New Age of Art Marketing: Websites, Blogging, Social Media and more…. This preview is adapted from Jasmine’s recent post on Branded.Me.
We’re seeing the rise of the freelancer and the small business entrepreneur in the last decade or so. With more and more people trying to go their own way as entrepreneurs, one of the concepts becoming a much bigger deal is Personal Branding.
If you’re operating as an entrepreneur or solopreneur, ultimately all you have is your personal brand. That’s what you take with you from opportunity to opportunity. It’s an all-encompassing term: your personal brand ties in with your resume, your LinkedIn profile, your clothes, your appearance, who you know, your body of work, and more.
Within social media, one of the recent, increasing trends has been the rise of visually-inclined platforms like Instagram and Snapchat (and Facebook — although we don’t often think of it as a visual platform — people share so many different things there — Facebook is one of the world’s biggest photo platforms.)
Humans process visual information 60x faster than they process text, providing a major opportunity for entrepreneurial personal branding. As visual mediums and platforms have increased, attention spans have decreased. You need to tell your story in a quick, creative visual way so that a potential client, customer, partner, or investor can easily see what you’re about.
At the same time you’re trying to build your personal brand visually, you have a much smaller window of time to capture the attention of a key person. How can you maximize it?
Display your Personal Brand Portfolio creatively: There are great sites for this like Branded.Me or Behance. Some people use Google Docs (easily accessible for almost everyone) to house their profiles. My point here is: LinkedIn is a great tool for entrepreneurs, but it’s not the only place you should house your personal branding. Listen into my recent Podcast interview on Personal Branding for Creative Professionals.
A Personal Brand video story: Many marketing strategists believe that if you’re not incorporating video, you’re basically sitting on the sidelines. A simple, three-minute video can explain your core business value and market position in a fun way.
Use Personal Brand customer testimonials as images: The value of reputation is extraordinarily high in business. Think of Uber, whose entire business proposition begins and ends with reputation. Create and use visuals showing that others loved working with you and speak highly of you.
The Business-Personal Brand tie: This can be a tricky ground, but weaving your personal story into your professional story often resonates with people. Tying in your hobbies is a great way to find your personal brand supporters. To understand how to leverage the company online brand with the personal brand, read this BusinessGlory post on online branding.
Support your best professional circles: Many people on social media do the “always follow back” move. However, you want to maintain follower vs. following ratios that support your best professional circles and real areas of interest (or hobbies). This way you’ll see more content to respond to, which in turn, makes you more engaging. And when you’re more engaging, people will be drawn towards you. That’s a win for an entrepreneur.
Remember the first word of social media: Entrepreneurs and companies often wonder why their social media strategy isn’t working. The answer is often simple: they’re forgetting the first word, social. No one wants to interact with someone who’s always selling or pushing their own agenda. Brands did rush into popular social channels — and now you’re seeing that with Snapchat, too — but as blogger Ted Bauer has written, you can ignore an ad, but you can’t ignore a relationship. Social media is about fostering real relationships, connections, and just being social.
In sum, remember these important keys to successful entrepreneurial personal branding:
- Be visual
- Be creative
- Be you
You may also want to check out my Intro to Social Branding video for FREE, or my Personal Branding Programs. And feel free to follow me on Twitter!