Should you personal brand? I think yes and I’ll tell you why.
Should you personal brand yourself as an entrepreneur? I recently participated in a discussion on social media (in Finnish) about personal branding. For us Finns this is a rather difficult topic. You see, we are a nation who rather not make a fuzz about themselves. In fact so much so, that our economy suffers because we innovate, but then we like to keep the crown jewels as our own secret. In other words, we’re not very strong on marketing and selling our great inventions!
In this online discussion, there were people for and opposed to personal branding. Some of the participants seemed to really feel uncomfortable with the topic of making a fuzz about themselves. But I think we all agreed, when done in an authentic manner, through value creation for the audience, it can be a good thing.
What do you think, should you personal brand yourself if you are an entrepreneur?
I personally think hell yes and I’ll tell you why.
Why should you personal brand?
We are living an era where faceless corporation just isn’t doing it for us anymore. I witness this everyday with our customer companies and our own business. It is very difficult to get target audience reactions to company posts on social media. Do the same with your own face and the reactions are totally different.
This seems to be especially evident in employer branding – an area of marketing I specialize in. It’s all about Human to Human conversation these days.
If you have any skills what so ever in content creation sharable on social media, I highly recommend using your skills and making your name and face known behind your skills. If you have these skills, you have a competitive advantage over the companies and people who have to pay for it. And they pay big bucks for it, if you don’t mind me adding.
In brief, this is why I recommend personal branding:
- Your potential customers will google your topics way before they intend to buy anything
- People will want to try first themselves before they plan on buying anything
- Customers will search for tips, ideas and self help online way before your business even crosses their mind
- They will identify you as an author if they get valuable tips from you regularly
- When your customers realize they cannot do your tricks on their own, who do you think they will turn to? Yes, that’s right. You my friend.
Personal branding will save you big bucks in marketing and sales costs. It did for me.
Why I personal brand myself
I wasn’t intentionally branding myself. It is the outcome of my eagerness to express myself through content creation. I love writing. I write about what I know a lot about, what I have professional passion for. There is a funny story behind this also: I only realized I had a personal brand when journalists, students and business authors started to approach me for interviews. I didn’t even think about it. Now I do, but not for many years after I started.
It has worked to my advantage because my content has obviously been valuable to my audience. And this is the key. Your personal brand is the value you gain as you help others. Your first reason must be to add value to your audience. They will in return reward you for your great content. When it adds value to them, they will like it, they will share it and they will return to it. This is how you build your personal brand and authority over the themes you represent.
Compensating my weaknesses in traditional selling
Personal branding will save you a lot of money on marketing and time invested in sales. I’ve always been good at ideating and creating content, but I’m not good at the technicality of sales. I have a weakness in chasing the sales. I’m very impulsive and move forward all the time. A good sales person is relentless in the hunt and keeps chasing until the prey caves in (sorry our customers, this is just figuratively speaking). My character does not support this type of behavior.
I’m also not socially good with strangers. This may come as surprise to many people who know me. But I’m totally different person with people I know and feel comfortable with. So all the cold calling and going for strangers is an uncomfortable territory for me.
When I became an entrepreneur myself, my biggest fear was the sales. This fear held me back years and made me question my abilities to financially succeed and make a living as an entrepreneur. I saw selling only in the traditional terms and this scared the hell out of me.
Halleluja for social media and blogosphere! I, by accident, found a way to compensate my weakness with my strength!
Active content creation results in inbound
I started to create content actively, and at the time when I started, there were literally probably no one else in the HR field in Finland than myself and this guy Tom actively creating content. And as you will recognize if you follow my blog, I have opinions. And people love opinions to either agree with or disagree with. So I got attention. And by accident, my personal brand just started to build it self.
As a result, my content creation and the outcome, my personal brand has allowed me to stop fearing about not managing financially as an entrepreneur. I have not had to do a single cold call for years. I personally get enough inbound to manage and feed some to my employees as well. And I’m not even spending a lot of time on content creation! I can only imagine the power when I have the time to really put an effort on this!
What are your thoughts about personal branding and has it helped you as an entrepreneur?