08 Aug 13
Personal Branding: A Leadership Requirement, Not a Self-Promotion Campaign
When people search for products or services, they don’t look at a business website and stop there. They check out the owner as well. If they like what they see, chances are they’ll like the business too.
“They’ll look at your Twitter profile, your LinkedIn page, a blog you’ve written and they’ll get a feeling of credibility about your business, a feeling that you’ve got it going on,” says Lorrie Thomas Ross, CEO of Web Marketing Therapy, a boutique marketing agency and Web-marketing education company. “Small-business owners have to engage in personal branding to build trust with consumers. It’s a huge piece of the puzzle and a huge opportunity.”
Do it right and you can spread your influence all over the Internet. “I call it total web domination” says Ross.
How To Become A Leader In Your Field
Step one: Take down that YouTube video of you at the party with the lampshade on your head.
Step two: Establish a positive, knowledgeable personal image. If your online brand is a Trustworthy Expert in Your Field, you’re much closer to making a sale.
“Many small-business owners think small,” Ross says. “They don’t realise, ‘Hey, I’m a thought-leader in my industry.’ You can elevate your position to authority status. And people don’t just hire businesses, they hire authorities.”
The best way to be an authority is to be an author. Create content. If your company does environmental engineering, then make and share blogs, videos and podcasts about how customers can choose the right environmental engineering firm. Share descriptions and photos of projects you’ve worked on. Comment on articles about the environment and how it ties into environmental engineering.
The more you share your expertise, the more you elevate your personal brand—and your business.
Maximising Your Touchpoints
You’ll also enhance your search visibility. And that’s vital, because it takes an average of seven touchpoints to make a sale. A touchpoint might be a prospect watching your YouTube video or reading your blog or seeing an article about you.
“The more you’re touching the public the better,” Ross says. “Search engines are looking for content and there are a lot of ways small businesses can tap the power of content to increase their visibility—and their credibility and sellability.”
Ross works with a lot of small consulting firms. She advises them to be creative, comprehensive and determined. She recommends that they blog on their topics of expertise or on a recent news event related to their expertise, put out press releases, get an attractive headshot—which customers will search and see at Google Images— and optimise their LinkedIn profile. If they’ve spoken at a conference, she tells them to get a video and put it up at their YouTube page.
It takes effort. But it pays off. “People are looking for reliable sources they can do business with,” Ross says. “The old-school way of branding was to put out an expensive ad saying you’re the best. That doesn’t work in our social Web world. You need the sum of all parts to sway customers these days.”
Personal branding is no longer an option; it’s a powerful leadership enabler.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.com