We’ve already covered how to build a personal brand vision or plan and how to define your target audience. It’s high time we talk about making your plan actually work. Of course, we start from the basics – building the brand you envisioned.
Just like any other brand, you must acquire a number of things that will communicate your brand. They are called branding assets. These include various things like a website, a blog, a podcast, a Twitter handle, a LinkedIn profile, or even a simple but unique username you use across the world wide web. There are also traditional, tangible assets like business cards and newsletters.
In this third part of our seven-article series on personal branding, we will talk about how to secure, develop, and use these assets.
Building Your Social Circles
At this point, I would like to assume that you have already figured out who to target (those who pay you, those who influence those who pay you, and your supporters), and that you somehow have a clear vision of who and what they are – including their motivations and pains.
Now, what concerns you is probably this question: Aside from directly reaching out to them, what other ways can I explore to connect with them?
The answer to that, according to the big personalities of marketing and personal branding like James Schramko, Neil Patel, and Aaron Agius, is simple and challenging: by building your own social communities.
What are these communities exactly? For starters, you have Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. These aren’t exactly “communities” until you create a following – a significant number of individuals who connect with and engage you.
Just like any other relationship, it’s built on value, trust, and reciprocity. Having said so, there are many ways to nurture communities. These include podcasting, blogging, email marketing, and regular updates on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, whatever the case may be.
In order for you to successfully build your social communities, you will need to think of a few basic things like your social identity – your username, your URLS, and other online assets that point to you and your personal brand.
Step 1: Choose a unique social username.
Your social username is like your fingerprint, it should be unique so it points to one direction only – you. For individuals with more common or popular names, securing a sui generis username will be difficult. Lucky me, I guess. How about you?
Anyway, there are tools that might help you check if the username you are thinking of using has already been taken or if someone else is using it already.
The first is knowem. You can use these to search for how your username is being used online. The tool will scour the internet for social media profiles, domain names, and even USPTO trademark database. The other one is NameChk. This tool is similar to KnowEm.
Your goal: Check if your full name and your desired username are available on the biggest social networking sites.
After checking for your username’s availability, claim it. Use a uniform full name and username across the biggest social networking sites – from your Facebook URL extension, Twitter handle, Instagram username, LinkedIn URL, and your personal website among others.
Tip: Keep your usernames short (when you can’t use your full regular name). Shorter names are easier to remember and to type. Keep it unique, too. Unique usernames stand out.
Step 2: Focus on the most important social profiles.
If you tried searching for your username in KnowEm and NameChk, you’ll notice that there are hundred of social networks and communities on the web. While you may secure ALL available usernames across all social networking profiles, it’s wiser to secure them individually starting with the most important first.
Again, revisit your brand vision and your target audience their respective persona outline. Know where they are most likely lurking.
For professionals, LinkedIn is a good place to start. It’s the biggest community of professionals at present, and it is growing pretty fast. If your branding mission is focused on improving job standing, or if you are looking for business clients, then LinkedIn is the best place to start.
Twitter and Facebook are amongst the biggest social media channels you can utilize. But depending on the kind of value you want to share, choose the best channel to use. Others prefer videos as the vehicle of their personal brand. For this, YouTube is your best option. Of course, you will use your Facebook and your Twitter, too, to promote whatever content you have in YouTube or in any other platform you use. Why? Well, everyone’s basically on Facebook and Twitter.
Your Digital Address: Your Professional Website
Your social communities are important, but your personal website is much much more important. With your own website, you own your content, and you control your platform. Your social communities will serve as your outlets, but your personal website will be the fountain of your value.
Think of your online personal brand strategy like a large tree. The trunk of the tree is the strongest. It’s the center of your entire strategy. The tree trunk is your personal website. You can control the tree. You can nurture it and make sure it’s strong for a long time. – Neil Patel
Building a professional website may sound intimidating. But it’s not really that complicated. We’ll walk you through the process.