Most of us were told as children that we were not to speak to strangers. When we grow up we forget that talking to strangers is actually how you grow your business. Yet, as success comes, we almost revert back to relying on present connections or even supply chains – that’s a mistake, the wider you want to grow your influence the more you need to connect with strangers.

So how do you step outside of the comfort zone and leverage your experience within the marketplace? Have you considered a personal brand? 

Becoming a personal brand will connect you with a lot of strangers that you would not have otherwise met. You can start to trade on the basis of your knowledge and insight rather than just on the strength of your product. If we all learn by our mistakes, why not share so others don’t have to make the same mistakes – that’s called being nice, and being nice actually wins friends. It’s not dog eat dog, its more about helping everyone win!

There are many ways to start a personal brand journey, and before the expensive photo shoot and brand build, you can start where you are – which will also give you time to get into shape and acquire a new wardrobe!

With social media and in particular LinkedIn, its easier to become accessible and empowered to “give something back” – to become a thought leader you need to start sharing your thoughts!

CEOs with plenty of experience in their sector and life experience too are now in a position to give helpful information to a younger generation in a straightforward manner and can help share connections that are mutually beneficial. 

Creating a personal brand can be the gateway to your organisation with a commitment to adding value above the direct sale. People are interested in how much you care before they buy. Those people you help are far more likely to want to know more about what you have to say.

In the past people wrote a book (often pulling together principles after the events, on how they got successful), and then promoted it. Today, a book is just part of the story. Yes, we highly recommend writing one, but don’t let the length of time it takes to pull one together hold you back from beginning the journey of speaking up.

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So here’s how you can start:

1. Link up with LinkedIn:

Start using LinkedIn more as it has the biggest organic reach of the social platforms. It’s free and people can connect with you directly (don’t hit them up to sell direct though- see last week’s blog post)

2. Share your humanity:

Use platforms which are known as “business to consumer” such as Instagram and Facebook to demonstrate more personal content so that people get more insight into who you are and why you do what you do. 

3. Define your ONE thing:

Have one clear, simple thing at the centre of your message, a theme for which you become known and spread the message about what you do, who you work with and the impact you make around it.

4. Dress for every occasion:

Come up with a look and feel that is unique to you – Steve Jobs (black polo neck), Gary Vee (hoodies and beanie combo), or wearing a distinct colour.

5. Share your thoughts to become a thought leader:

Writing blogs is your way of communicating your thoughts, done well and often this content can become a platform for a book.

6. Don’t just watch videos, contribute by doing your own shoot:

With well over 80% of content consumed via mobile being video, you too can join the journey. Using Social LIVE feeds by taking Q&A’s, sharing what’s new or even producing short content snippets on your journey so far (Vlogs). The small screen can really add to your big picture.

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7. Make an impression last with a podcast:

Create a regular podcast (and if you are filming video series you can use the same soundtrack for your podcast) on a subject or series. Interviews work well. Think about inviting people you really want to connect with for interview and once edited get them to share it to their following as well.

8. When you have momentum, get things in one place, online:

If you’re getting attention through Press, Radio, PR – it’s good to have a website where all that media is housed in one place. This can also feature your blog and videos. Purchase a URL as close to your name as possible, and over time when people search for your name, your site and content starts to rank. Google rewards content!

9. With a website in place, use email to notify your following:

Email can be triggered to your growing list of followers every time you release new content or want to invite people to a speaking engagement. It may be one of the oldest digital technologies but still is one of the most trackable.

10. From being up top, go out front with public speaking:

Get speaking in front of people. From small networking events to seminars and conferences, your personal brand will require you to talk to people. So get out there and start building credibility and visibility. The more you do it, the more confidence you’ll get. Don’t be shy, get out there and try. 

11. Get social on social by commenting on content, not just creating it:

Social media is more than just posting, its about joining in. When people write back, write back. Getting traction and sharing, adding value all aids your voice and influence.

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12. Stay committed, consistent and courageous:

The truth is: people don’t care about your products or services until you make them care. Your personal brand tells them why they should care – whether the story has to do with your company’s origin, the mission-driven approach behind your businesses or the helpful hints and tips you keep offering. The more you demonstrate value through your posts, the more likely people are to buy from you. Stay at it. 

Remember its not about being famous, its about adding value. The more you add value the greater your voice. It’s not about a me, myself and I mentality, rather a what, how and why narrative. 

Everyone has a story to tell, why not share yours today.

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