Personal Branding 101: Branding YOU Online!


This is a guest post by Daniel G Hebert (@DanielGHebert)

What is personal branding anyways? There’s this big ol’ personal branding trend going on right now, and everyone seems to want to get on the train. But what is it really? And what do you need to establish a personal brand?

A brand represents the values that a company emits to its consumers. And the branding process comes from the consumer recognizing these values, and adding meaning to it.

Wikipedia defines personal branding as “a description of the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands.

Now that there are several different social media platforms out there, personal branding has become ever more prominent.

Here are four steps to establish your own personal brand:

1. Develop your Position
First you need to figure out what you want to offer. You need to determine what your brand’s position will be. Will you offer advice on a certain function – like marketing or finance – or will it be on a certain industry – like the automotive industry. Maybe you want to be known as a specialist – like a social media or branding specialist. Whatever you decide, you need to have an initial position developed before you establish your brand.

2. Choose your Headquarters
Facebook isn’t a headquarters. It’s a channel to distribute your position. You need a place that you can call your own. Establish a blog, like Wordpress, Tumblr, or Blogger. Or create yourself a website! If you don’t have the resources to create your own website, try something like About.me. You need this space to show off your flare. This is a place that is 100% your own, where you can share more information about yourself.

3. Choose your Media Channels
Now that you’ve established your headquarters (i.e. blog), it is time to choose your advertising channels. Most people choose the traditional channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But don’t forget the less traditional channels as well. Video blogging on Youtube is great! Don’t forget about websites like StumbleUpon (their SU.PR tool is absolutely wonderful!) and the new, hot, and trendy Pinterest. These are some less traditional channels that should not be forgotten.

4. Don’t Forget the Offline
Don’t forget about branding offline. Go to networking events. Not everyone you’ll meet on social media will be a customer. Maybe the majority of your customers don’t know about your presence online, or they don’t participate on social media at all (that would surprise me though)! So you need to try to bring your online world to offline, and vice versa. The easiest way to distribute your brand offline is with a good business card. Try MOO. You can customize your business cards, showing off your own form of ‘pizzazz’ to people you meet at networking events. And don’t forget to lead them to your headquarters (i.e. your blog)!

These are the basics of personal branding. There are other things you could do to make your brand more complete, but we’ll just stick to the basics for now. So what do you think? Are you up for the challenge? What are your opinions on personal branding? Is there something that I am missing for the basics of personal branding?

Guest post: Daniel G Hebert (@DanielGHebert) a 4th year Commerce and Marketing student at Mount Allison University and Social Media Manager with NuFocus Group (@nufocusgroup).