Build your personal brand to grow your business

Be Brand U, not Brand X

As a small business owner, there’s often little difference between branding your company and branding yourself. You are, often times, one and the same. For example, I brand myself as “CorpNet Nellie” and contribute blog posts (like this) and social media updates to a small business audience — which just happens to be the same audience that needs my company’s products and services.

Branding yourself has many perks. For starters, it puts a face with a name and often that’s all it takes to build trust with potential customers. You’re no longer a faceless business entity; now you’re someone with opinions, a family, and personal details that you weave into your branding message.

So to get started, let’s look at four ways you can build your brand, both online and in person.

Online: Become THE go-to expert through social media

Career Savvy Domains AdThere’s a lot of noise on social media, but if you’re on top of your industry and active on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn, you can create a quick following. What does that require? Simply delivering useful information, tips, and news that your audience is glad to have.

Social media isn’t about pushing people to buy from you. Instead, use it to show that you’re an industry leader and attract people who want to stay in the know.

Offline: Speak at events

In the same vein of relaying useful information through social media, you can do the same thing in person. Just take a moment or two to think about it and I’m sure you’ll discover that there are many topics for presentations you could give to networking groups, conferences and workshops.

And with a little more thought you could identify numerous groups in your city that would benefit from your knowledge.

Connect with event planners and group coordinators and pitch them on a topic that their audience will be interested in as well as one that further brands you in the appropriate area.

Online: Write for other blogs

While you absolutely should be contributing your knowledge and branding yourself through your own business blog, a fantastic way to reach an even wider audience is to do the same on other blogs that target your demographic.

Trying to reach mothers of young babies? Write content they will latch on to on sites like Baby Center. Want to reach a more small business-oriented audience? AllBusiness accepts guest posts that appeal to entrepreneurs.

Go for depth rather than breadth here. You want to focus your time on sites that have a pretty big following, rather than small potatoes. Pick two or three to start, and work to deliver really valuable content for each audience.

Offline: Embody your brand

This is less of a task to check off your list and more of a habit to form. Wherever you are — particularly in business situations, but really all the time — remember your brand. It and you are inseperable!

You never know when you might meet someone you can help. Keep those business cards handy, even if you’re going to the grocery store. Make it your mission to find people you can assist. In everything you do for your business, ask yourself: is this helping me brand myself? If it strays too far away from your aim, skip it. Keep zeroed in on those activities that will help you grow your business and your brand.