By Kelly Gibbons, founder and managing partner of Main & Rose.
The power of building your personal brand is phenomenal. I know this because I have devoted my career to creating an award-winning firm that grows employees into public figures, from CEOs to authors and beyond. The challenge is knowing how to tell your story with a limited amount of characters, on the right platforms, and to the right audience (in the right way).
To help you develop your message and build your own brand in a compelling way, stay true to who you are while following these next few steps that work time and again.
Define What Makes You Unique
When building your brand, it is important to determine your strengths and what you want your brand to stand for. Start by making a list of what you are great at and what you are passionate about.
In the digital age, the advent of personal brands has never been more prolific, so now is more important than ever to make yourself stand out by being authentic and capitalizing on what makes you truly unique. Once you develop your core strengths, you can strategically build your brand to be consistent with these values.
Cultivate an Online Presence
Establishing a digital footprint not only gives your brand credibility, but it also serves as a great form of advertising and publicity. Social media sites and personal website builders like Squarespace make it simple to establish an online presence.
Create a social profile on every network so that you reserve your name across all of them -- and be sure to do this right away. It's much harder to claim your name when someone has already taken it.
It is also important to monitor what others are posting about you and your brand so that you can control the narrative. One easy way to monitor your brand's press is to set up a Google Alert for your own name.
Know Your Audience
Being aware of your target audience is essential to developing your brand. By being cognizant of who you are trying to reach, you can strategically determine the best method of reaching your audience.
For example, if you are trying to target millennials, you'll want to heavily utilize social media and digital platforms to distribute content that is engaging and concise. Don't know who you want to reach? Take that list of things you excel at and are passionate about, and start searching for people with those traits who are already public figures with strong brands. Who is their market? You'll likely share the same one.
Connect, Connect, and Connect Some More
Connections are essential to getting your brand where you want it to be. Who you associate with tells others about your values as a person. Connections can also help you gain more recognition and expand your following.
Additionally, organizations that you are a part of can aid in building a narrative about who you are as a brand. For example, the university you went to indicates something about who you are and can be helpful in defining your brand. Technology like LinkedIn is also great for leveraging connections and launching your brand.
It is important to create goals to establish where you want your brand to be in six months, a year, five years, and so on. By creating something concrete to work toward, the success of your brand will gradually progress.
Even if the progress is small, doing something daily to continuously reach these goals will encourage you to stay proactive and motivated.
Kelly Gibbons is founder and managing partner at Main & Rose. She creates personal brand strategies for clients from Fortune 500 companies to global nonprofits.