The 5 Cornerstones Of Building An Influential Personal Brand

Continuing on the path I started when I wrote "Building Your Personal Brand by Harnessing The Power of Social Media" I wanted to write a second post that digs a little deeper into a few aspects of that earlier post. I can't stress enough about how important building your personal brand is to the future of your business. Just a take a look at the most popular brands out there and what they stand for. When you think "shoes" what brand comes to mind first? What about "soft drinks" or "car insurance?"

What do you stand for? What do you want to be known for? Who is your audience and what are they looking for? Keep in mind that the surest way to building a powerful personal brand is by giving your audience/customers what they want... over and over again.

Below find 5 things that you should start working on right now to build your influence and your own personal brand:


1. Create Valuable Content - Become A Thought Leader

By continually showcasing that you know what you are talking about, by becoming the authority you gain influence by becoming the expert. It's a psychological fact, authority is influential. People want to do business with people that they know (or think) has all the answers. People want to do business with a professional and if you show them, by creating powerful, thought provoking content , you are well on your way to establishing yourself as a thought leader.

Content doesn't just have to be a blog post, it can be a video or a podcast, an engaging topic started on your Facebook wall or even a tweet. The idea is to make people think by giving them valuable insights. If you sell cars you can create content around a number of topics such as:

  • Blog Post: 5 Things You Can Do Right Now To Increase The Value Of Your Trade
  • Facebook Wall Post: If you could ask a car salesperson one question, that they HAD to answer honestly, what would that one question be?
  • Video: How To Stay Confident During The Negotiation Process

Of course there are many different valuable and thought provoking topics to choose from, but as stated earlier, it's important to be seen as THE thought leader in your field of expertise. Along those same lines it's important that you continually grow in your craft, consume as much content as possible yourself from other leaders in your field as well as in others. Keep in mind that learning is a never ending process and also that "He who knows everything, knows nothing."


2. Influence Others To Talk About You

By creating valuable content that speaks to the people reading it you are, in effect, influencing others to talk about you. But I want to take things deeper than that, if you really want to get other people to talk about you then you have to get them to like, know and trust you.

  • Like: Getting somebody to like you is easier said than done but there are some things that you can do to become "likeable." First, don't talk about yourself, get other people to talk about themselves. You can do this online by asking questions of your customers, by starting engaging discussions on social networks and by addressing those that comment on your posts, videos, or podcasts. Also, while you are showcasing that you are a thought leader in your field, don't be unapproachable, thank people for commenting, and make it easy for people to connect with and contact you.
  • Know: Don't be all professional, allow others to see your personal side. Let them see that you are human. You have likes, talk about them. Post pictures of your family on Facebook, write posts about a family outing or vacation, you can even talk about your favorite books or movies. Give people reasons to want to know you and a way to do so.
  • Trust: Always, always, always do what you say you are going to do. Be transparent, thoughtful and help other people. Post client testimonials, social proof is a great way to build trust and is influential to others that are looking for somebody to be a car from or to hire to fix their plumbing.


3. Follow Up With Past Clients

By following up with and getting to know your past clients you are working to develop personal brand ambassadors. The best place to start, when building an online following, is by tapping into your current reservoir of clients. Befriend them on Facebook, get to know them beyond "business." Be careful here though, nobody likes to be cyber stalked so make sure that you get permission.

Once you have connected with past clients allow them an opportunity to get to know you, influence them to like, know and trust you. By you taking an active interest in wanting to know them and reading their content they will do the same for you and will quickly learn that you are a thought leader in your field. By working on your client relationships you are showcasing that you are exceptional and exceptional people get spoken about and referred to. These are all things that work toward building an army of brand ambassadors that want to spread your good word.


4. Talk About Other People

You've heard it before, probably because I say it a lot but, the less you pitch, the more you sell. In other words, the less you spend talking about you and what you do the more you will sell. So, instead of talking about yourself, spend more time talking about and referring others. Not only will other people notice that you lift others up but the people you are talking about and referring others to will feel influenced (Law Of Reciprocation) to reciprocate and will begin to talk about and refer others to you.


5. Listen To Conversations, Then Engage

Just as in real life, you can't meet people unless you venture away from home. What I mean by that, is don't spend all of your time on your Home Base (your website or blog). Spend time going to other people homes and outposts. Go to their Facebook pages and get to know them, engage on their discussion topics and comment on their blog posts.

There is a whole world of conversation going on that has nothing to do with you, go join in and become part of it. Add to the conversations and keep in mind that you don't want to pitch, just showcase your willingness to help and others will seek you out to find out more about you. They will read your profile, follow your other discussions and will see that you are a thought leader in your field and will be influenced to do business with and/or refer others to you.


Your Personal Brand

Your personal brand, whether its business wide or a single employee is worth cultivating. By building a strong personal brand, built on moral ethics and the desire to help others, then you are well on your way to building a business based on repeat and referral business. Start working on your brand today, it's the first step to building a fanatical following of brand ambassadors that will talk about and refer other to you.

What can you add? What have you done to build your own personal brand?

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Comment by David Johnson on December 28, 2010 at 12:53pm
Thank you Kevin! I've been on a personal branding kick as of late, I'm in the process of writing another blog post on the subject.
Comment by Kevin "Friend Me" Bradberry on December 28, 2010 at 12:50pm
David, this is excellent. Thank you for sharing.

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