I wish I could tell you that you don’t need an online presence to get far, but the truth is, you need to build a platform.
A brand is vital if you’re seeking to start your career, build a network or advance your role. Your personal brand is an extension of who you are and what you have to offer. I will advise that you shouldn’t allow your online brand to take away from enjoying your journey. My build as a personal brand has been through many bumps along the way, but remember if you don’t put yourself out there no one will see you.
In the beginning, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to combine my personal brand with my professional one. By day I’m a Marketing Specialist pushing out content to various audiences and occasionally coding, but by night (and sometimes day, too) I’m a business owner and blogger. Sometimes we feel like we have to have one persona to identify with a specific group, but that’s not always the case. Take a look at some of your favorite influencers they allow space for professionalism, but are still seen as regular, everyday people.
A few brands say you should audit yourself and your content and I agree to a certain extent. Of course, you have to recognize that potential employers are watching you, but remember we are a society of pop culture. If you want to tweet about the latest trends then go for it just to understand the culture of the company you want to work for. You have to be yourself to establish a connection, otherwise, what are you connecting on? So, as you consider your personal brand, strive to be the best possible version of yourself, but don’t try to be someone else.
Redefine your platform
When I decided to rebrand, I sat down and wrote everything that I was passionate about and valued. I chose words that proved to be true to my character and authentic to me. I began my blog as ramblings of a college students’ journey to adulthood.
It has morphed into something different and continue to change. Personally, I’m planning to incorporate more of what I do outside of the internet into my blog which includes a bit of #GIRLBOSS talk. So have a seat and as you would plan for anything, think about the direction you’d like your brand to move into. Use this stage to find your voice, define your style, build an audience and strengthen your platform.
Set goals, have vision
Creating a vision for your brand and implementing that vision can lead to so much more. I am a firm believer in setting positive affirmations over my life and believe they will happen.
If you’re looking for a job, you want your potential boss to associate your personal brand with something that they need on their team. All relationships need value, what are you bringing to the table?
If you’re looking to gain leads, you want potential clients to associate your personal brand with trust. The overall idea of a personal brand is to set a goal and make it yours. Once you recognize your strengths and expand on those, you can go far.
No one knows you, so network
I hate to be a Bad News Bear, but you’re just another blogger, influencer or entrepreneur. Don’t take it personally, its just the way the world works. There are millions, BILLIONS of people out trying to climb the same ladder as you. So what can you do about it? MEET THEM.
The best way to develop your brand is to establish a connection and develop a network. Most people love the idea of collaborating and who knows maybe you’ll make a friend or future business partner. I’ve actually created my own “social media circle” through connections I’ve made online.
These organic conversations have led to interviews, internships and even sponsorship opportunities. On the flip side, I will say there is a HUGE difference between opportunity and an opportunist. While I do try to interact with new people this is something I genuinely love doing.
Weird since I’m a huge introvert #IRL, right? However, being able to change perceptions and possibly lives through networking is one of my passions. Don’t go into every social event expecting someone to hand something to you. Show your value, be genuine and the rest will work itself out.