— Tom Peters, 1997

Chances are that if you are present on social networks, then you already have a personal brand. You can’t help but show glimpses of your personality every time you tweet, post, like or comment. Just like in real life when people make an impression of you based on your clothing, the way you talk etc., whenever you post something on the web, people make their own opinions of you, whether you want them to or not. You will basically get “branded”. You can’t help it – but you definitely can make the most of it! Just like businesses or celebrities, you can also build brand equity and get a lot out of yourself and your personality.

This type of branding is called personal or personality branding. You might think this concept has been around for a while but, actually, Tom Peters first used this term in 1997. Recently, however, personal branding has been on everyone’s lips – and that’s because probably everybody already has their own personal brand! As Tom Peters put it, if you brand yourself, “you’ll not only reach out toward every opportunity within arm’s (or laptop’s) length, you’ll not only make a noteworthy contribution to your team’s success – – you’ll also put yourself in a great bargaining position for the next season’s free-agency market.”

Whether you are a coach, a businessman/woman that wants to get more out of their business or a student looking for a job, just to name a few, you can brand yourself and help better your life. And if you brand yourself successfully you could get a better job, get more clients if you have your own business and get more traffic to your website or blog. And, depending what you use your personal brand for, you might not even need to spend too much time worrying about it. Of course, the bigger your brand is, the more work it will require to maintain. But however big or small your brand may be, there are some basic steps/factors that apply to almost anyone.

The first step that you must make is to find out exactly who you are, what you have to offer the world, what your qualities, values, and passions are. Before you start branding your personality you should be sure you know what your personality is.

Think about your most prominent personality traits. Figure out what they are and use them to your advantage, as they can be your brands’ traits. Make a list of those words that you think describe you best, and you can later use them for your description, for your mission and for your personal brand statement. At this point, you should try to find out what makes you different from the others. It may be that you have an extraordinary sense of humor or on the contrary, you are very serious and organized. Whatever your differentiating trait is, this should be what people think of when they see your name. For example, when you think of Richard Branson, you think of a very clever man that is very adventurous and that always thinks outside the box. Whenever someone sees your name, they should have the same instinct and think of your differentiating traits, whatever they may be.

When writing your mission, you should also take the time to set your goals. What do you want to achieve in life? Where do you want to be in x years? Having clear answers to these questions will help you build a stronger brand.If your personal brand is going to be strong and successful, it will have to be authentic! You will have to stay true to yourself and base your brand on your actual values.

Tom Peters put it best in his article in 1997: “Starting today you are a brand. You’re every bit as much a brand as Nike, Coke, Pepsi or the Body Shop. Ask yourself the same question the (big) brand managers ask themselves: What is it my product or service does that makes it different?”

Do you know who your target audience is? Just like with any other business, identifying your target audience is probably the most important step if you want to be successful. Unless you respond to your target audience’s needs, people will not want to buy whatever you are selling. Once you know who your target audience is, you will be able to blend your personality to suit their needs. This doesn’t mean that you will have to change who you are in order to please others. Rather, you will have to adapt your personality in order to appeal to your target audience.

You might already have a target audience if you already have a business and you use want to use your personal brand to boost it.

Nowadays, it is much easier to build a presence and reach your target audience. If you want to build a strong personal brand, you should make full use of what the Internet has to offer. It’s not too hard, it won’t cost you anything, but you will have to spend quite some time creating and maintaining your online profile.

Create your profile on all the major social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn plus any other platform you think might be appropriate to your brand. Make sure all of your profiles are complete and that at least your profile pictures are clean (no cigarettes in the corner of your mouth!).

Once your profiles are finished and you start posting, make sure you do it regularly. An unattended profile will make you look unprofessional and your personal brand will be damaged!

Once you know what your brand is and who your target audience is it is very important to be consistent on all mediums where you come in contact with your audience. I’m sure you’ve heard countless times how important it is to have a consistent brand, and it is just as important when it comes to personal brands. This includes both offline and online platforms – Twitter, Facebook, blogs and real life interactions with your audience.

Whenever you come in contact with your audience, it is important that you maintain your image. This includes how you speak, but also how you dress, your gestures and even your haircut – basically anything that people will notice when they see you, hear you or read what you wrote.

Have you created your own personal brand or are you planning to? And why? Please let us know in your comments!

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