It's no secret, the online world has become incredibly saturated and competitive.
So how do you stand out these days?
One thing is for sure... if you want any kind of success, building a powerful personal brand online is just smart business.
I have to admit, I haven't always been a confident online branding expert. There was a time when just hearing people talking about creating an online brand made me cringe. I would think to myself, "what does that even mean?"
I'm definitely the type of person who needs clear steps to follow, otherwise I stick my head right in the sand. Can you relate?
That's why, as I developed my own online brand over the past several years, learning as I went, I decided to document every step.
I figured that way I could explain it in a simple way that would make sense to other Red/Green personalities like me (if you're not familiar with the 4 personality colours, this image will help illustrate).
1) Know your PURPOSE
If you're feeling stuck in your business, it could be because you skipped this part.
Being an entrepreneur in any industry is tough business. Even the best days can be tricky and without a clear purpose, you're setting yourself up for failure.
A clear purpose does a couple key things for you:
- It inspires you to work hard, not give up when things get hard and gives you fulfillment and happiness knowing you're working for a reason bigger than just financial.
- It inspires potential customers to take action. Feeling like they're part of something bigger is a powerful thing and it'll drive them to buy from you. Take Tom's Shoes for example. How many people bought those shoes because they knew the greater purpose? (for those who may not know Tom's Shoes - their model is, for every pair of shoes purchased, a pair is donated to someone who doesn't have shoes).
A powerful purpose can also encourage your customers to stick with you for the long term and they may even be willing to pay more which is pretty sweet.
2) Identify your PASSIONS/area of expertise
A lot of people have a hard time with this one. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "but I'm not passionate about anything". If that's the case, you need to get busy living! (said with all the love in the world).
What's more likely going on is, we get so bogged down in the day to day that we forget that we have passions and dreams. This is a great exercise to bring them back to life.
The other thing a lot of people have a hard time with is seeing themselves as experts. We tend to think of experts are those who are certified like a Doctor or Lawyer.
But here's the thing... we're all experts at something.
If you've practiced or studied anything for 20 mins a day for a year, you're considered an expert. I bet that changes your perspective a bit, eh?
A great online brand is built on a foundation of adding value to our network.
In order to do that, we need to share an area of expertise that we're so excited about that we never get tired of the topic.
I'm not saying this is a simple task but it's certainly one worth exploring.
3) Know Your PEOPLE
This is the step I had a really hard time wrapping my head around, and I know I'm not alone here.
If you've been in Sales or Marketing for any amount of time, chances are you've heard the term Ideal Customer Avatar (ICA).
The idea is, you want to get super specific about who your ideal client is, learn everything about them so that you can deliver a solution that meets their needs, making the purchase an obvious one for them.
My ICA's name is Lily. Yep, that's right, she has a name.
I know how old she is, where she lives, what she does, her hobbies, where she shops, what podcasts she listens to, what magazines she reads, what makes her happy and what her biggest fears are.
I also know what she wants for her life and how stuck she feels not knowing how to achieve her dreams.
Knowing Lily at this level allows me to Market to her with incredible precision.
When I write a post, I'm writing directly to her. When I do a Facebook live, I'm speaking directly to her.
I think I can guess what you're thinking right now. "But Jenn, doesn't this alienate everyone who is not like Emily?" The answer is no, not really.
Have you ever heard the term, "when you talk to everyone, you talk to no-one". That's exactly what we're talking about here.
When we try to appeal to everyone, we end up being too surface level in our Marketing and in turn no-one relates.
Getting specific allows us to speak right to the heart of our ideal clients and returns better results for us and for them. It's a win win!
You'll just have to trust me on this one ;)
4) Identify Your Brand PERSONALITY
This is the fun part that most of us want to skip directly to first.
It's the look and feel of our brand. It's the colours, the logo, the photos, the filters or presets.
This stuff is important but it's definitely not the most important and frankly, skipping the steps before this will lead to a weak brand that doesn't convert well.
A logo on its own doesn't sell.
If you have a success story proving otherwise, feel free to prove me wrong. I don't pretend to know everything, just what's worked well for me.
5) PRESENT Your Brand to the World
This is the bringing-it-all-to-life part.
I love the idea of officially launching your new personal brand online. It's a powerful statement that tells the world you mean business and makes it official.
A good launch in my opinion starts with a teaser post, or two, to create curiosity, followed by a juicy tell-all style Facebook live where your audience can feel a part of the action and engage with you in the moment.
Then of course, you have to show up consistently from there on out. This means ongoing value rich content that is real, raw and engaging to create that powerful KNOW, LIKE and TRUST that we know converts so well.
And when you share your story, don't forget to open up about the hard parts too. It's authentic and will show your peeps that you're a real human, just like them.
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