Dos And Don’ts For Promoting Your Personal Brand

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Promoting your personal brand is about authenticity and relationships…not a sales pitch.

We all have personal brands, our public image that anyone online can discover within a few minutes and everyone we meet discovers shortly after we meet them.

Properly promoting your brand can open doors, but shameless self-promotion can damage your public image. You can get started promoting your brand right by following a few simple dos and don’ts while you study your industry, network with other businesspeople and explore other resources.

Do participate in many communities
Most of us belong to industry associations specific to our businesses, but few of us are active beyond them. You can expand your brand’s reach to other influential people by participating in organisations and communities outside your usual circles.

Getting involved in general business groups, sports and hobby associations or charities will help you develop a diverse collection of contacts, and the Internet makes it easier than ever. Business networks like LinkedIn and communities like OPEN Forum offer hundreds ways to participate in like-minded groups.

Do make yourself useful
Your personal brand should express value to people you encounter, so when you have an opportunity to meet people, focus on what you can do for them. You might be able to make an important introduction or point them to a helpful news article. Assisting your peers pays off exponentially in enhancing your brand.

Often the value you can provide isn’t immediately obvious. That’s OK. You can be useful to a person or organisation weeks or even months after you first connect. Building your brand takes time; don’t overlook long-term opportunities.

Do become the expert
You are an expert in your field, and you should share that expertise whenever and wherever you can. This is one area when putting in extra time and effort will really pay off. If you’re not writing a blog, start now, keep it updated regularly and integrate Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn activities into it.

Writers who publish online usually check out the comments readers make, and many readers look at the comments closely, too, so comment on the content you read online. Expressing your thoughts and reactions will identify you as someone who understands the topics and has meaningful input.

Now that you have an idea of a few things you should be doing to promote your personal brand, let’s talk about some of the mistakes people make when self-promoting.

Don’t sell yourself or your product
Your personal brand is about value, so you should never be selling when you’re promoting your brand. We’ve all met shameless self-promoters who sell themselves every chance they get, and that’s not who we want to be.

A good brand promoter is involved in many communities; a salesman will tell you which clubs he belongs to. A brand promoter always looks for ways to be useful; a salesman will tell you how useful he can be. Brand promoters offer meaningful, appropriate perspectives; salesmen tell you everything they know.

There is a time and a place for good salesmanship, but it’s never when you’re promoting your brand.

Don’t overdo it or stress about it
Promoting your brand is important, but it’s not the most important thing you do. There is no better way to enhance your brand than to be a successful businessperson, so focus on the things that are most important first. It’s not healthy or wise to be “on” constantly, so don’t look at every social event as an opportunity to promote your brand or kick yourself if you miss an opportunity.

Remember, sometimes it’s just better to be yourself than to worry about being a brand.

Don’t take yourself too seriously
When promoting your brand you should never refer to yourself as an expert, guru, thought leader, innovator or any other noun that makes you sound somehow special. The purpose of effective brand promotion is to have other people use those words when referring to you. Using a word like “guru” to describe yourself just tells people what you think of yourself, not who you are.

Promoting your personal brand isn’t hard. With just a little effort you can be well on the way to growing your business by growing your personal brand.