By Isobel Camier,
Building and carefully managing your personal brand equity is essential, whatever your status in the professional world. Your brand is all about how others perceive you, and is key to capturing the right audience and attention. Everything you say and do (or don’t) contributes to how you will be perceived.
Strongly defined objectives, meaningful audience connection and reflecting your true self are vital for a positive personal brand. The three pillars of a successful personal brand, on and off-line, are: authenticity, visibility and effectiveness.
Intelligently managing your own personal brand ensures you build strength around your reputation. Just as a consumer brand does. Companies with a strong brand, such as Apple, Nike, John Lewis, have a competitive edge. With the right approach, this is relatively achievable for anyone.
It’s important to remember that a brand is defined, not only by how it looks, but how it makes you feel. Think of a brand and what it says to you. Gap – high street, good value. Veuve Cliquot – luxury, high end. In just the same way, your audience’s reaction and engagement are key to your personal brand perception and success.
Social media is an important platform for brand awareness and can be managed closely but it is worth remembering it does not exist in isolation.
Tips for effective audience engagement online
- Decide what you want to achieve – is it to assert your opinion, improves sales, highlight your skills, demonstrate your authority within your industry?
- Be clear on your purpose and what makes you stand out among your peers.
- Be credible – the best messages reflect real life, so be sure to personalise your content.
- Ensure your words and actions align – have examples to show this.
- Be curious about your audience – find out their interests and what’s important to them.
- Help your audience – use your knowledge and expertise.
- Have a point of view – share articles and join in discussions.
- Monitor and evaluate engagement – social activity is driven by data and behavioural insight.
- Be a host – use your platform to highlight the profile of others which you respect
- Ask for feedback – be brave and make it two-way
- Rhythm of your visibility – Don’t set up all your channels, post, share and comment for two weeks, only to fall into cyber abyss. You must be constant and consistent.
A great example of a strong personal brand is Jacinda Ardern, the President of New Zealand. She exudes positive energy and audience empathy. She continually, reassuringly and authentically responds to worries, not least around the March 2019 terrorist attack. She consistently sends out an empathetic message of love, not hate; that everyone is equal. She doesn’t have the same high level of Twitter followers as, say, Donald Trump, but she has clear, consistent authenticity and visibility, and has been very effective in bringing her personal brand to the attention of the world.
When you can sew together your objectives, content strategy and engagement levels, you will have addressed how to have an online personal brand which is authentic, visible and effective.
Interacting online is a little bit like being at a party. It’s an exciting place to head to where one hopes to speak to interesting, engaging people that have good stories to share. And the more you are your authentic, true self, the better the experience will be for you.
Stick to your truth and your goals, and your personal brand should fly.
Isobel Camier MCIPR, is founder and director of Camier Communications, www.camiercommunications.co.uk. She will be running the CIPR’s Personal Branding Masterclass which is running on 2 December in London.