“Everyone is their own media company.” – Seth Godin
Being the go-to person in your industry opens up many doors for your business, be it digital products or consulting or brick and mortar stores.
Personal branding is a long game. Gary Vaynerchuk likened the analogy to:
Branding is marriage and selling is hooking up.
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Branding is romancing someone and selling is going straight in.
With the road being a long journey, here are 6 things you can start today to build the foundation to position yourself as the expert and grow your personal brand.
1. Building social profiles
This is a given. It is common knowledge that people spend the majority of their time online on social networks. Henceforth, you should be as active as they are.
Ensure your usernames are uniform across all platforms e.g. @bobtheplumbingguy for Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Don’t stretch yourself too thin in the beginning by jumping on all the platforms at once.
If you had to only choose one – go for Facebook.
If you could do two – Facebook and Instagram.
If you could do one more – add on Snapchat.
Twitter isn’t as popular anymore, but if you have used it for a long time, continue with it.
But whatever you do, don’t forget LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn account is your virtual business card/portfolio so polish it with care.
The next thing to do is to add all your friends on all these platforms and cross promote.
As a rule of thumb – Facebook goes with Twitter & Instagram goes with Snapchat.
There are multiple ways to grow your fan base but I will save that for another post for each specific platform.
2. Think about providing value above all
Attention is currency in the online world and the best way to get attention is to provide valuable content especially as it pertains to being perceived as the expert.
The advice given by most successful infopreneurs (people who make money selling information products i.e. books and courses)? – give away your best stuff.
Now this may scare a few of you. Thoughts such as “what if my competitors see this?” will creep into your mind.
The truth is they probably will. But the name of the game is execution.
The best example of this is Gary Vaynerchuk. If you go on YouTube and type in “dailyvee”, you will see all his daily vlogs that provide amazing content for his fans. He has a loyal following and for good reason. He runs a social media agency in New York called VaynerMedia and he gives away the principles behind what he does but not the nitty gritty.
If the other players in your field go deep in their posts, go even deeper but also keep your personal touch since that is what makes your brand unique.
3. Write a book
The number one obstacle that stops people from writing a book is called Imposter Syndrome.
Put bluntly it says “who am I to write a book? I’m not qualified!”
The first step to overcome this is to understand that you don’t have to be at the pinnacle to write a book.
A great example of this would be you going to the gym.
If there was a person much fitter than you and you really admire how fit they are, would you first ask them if they were a Certified Fitness Trainer before you ask for their advice?
Chances are – you couldn’t care less, because they have the results you want.
And that’s all that matters.
With that, always begin the writing of a book with the problem you intend to solve.
It takes a long time to solidify your ideas and put your words in paper. Hence, your credibility of being an expert (due to your ability to write 200 plus pages on the subject) also goes up.
4. Blog always – your own and guest blog
Since it would probably take you up to 18 months to write a solid book, you should in the meantime blog regularly.
Seth Godin, author of 17 bestselling books, recommends you build a loyal following before you launch a book to ensure its success.
To do so, make sure you blog at least a week on the subject and provide incredible value to your readers (however small the number is).
To get your name out there more, try to be a guest contributor for sites that have your audience.
Sites such as SmallBusinessCan and Business2Community are a good place to start if you are B2B.
Any form of branding exercise is a long-term play.
The results only show 12-18 months in. So be patient.
6. Brand by association
A quick way to be seen as an expert is to be associated with other experts.
Dan Lok, an entrepreneur from Vancouver, wanted to raise his rates as a copywriter when he started out but nobody took him seriously. When he asked the successful ones how long it would take for him to reach their level, they all said at least 7 years.
Dan didn’t have the patience. So instead, he came up with an idea.
He decided to create a cassette series at the time title “Secrets of World Class Copywriters.”
What he did was he took a tape recorder and convinced some of the biggest names in the business to do an interview with them. Some of them agreed.
After he got quite a few interviews recorded down, he asked someone to record him as part of the series.
He packaged the series up and used it as part of his pitch to those who needed his service.
The result? The clients didn’t question his credibility since he was seen to be on the same plane with the other experts in the field.
In short, the way to go about positioning yourself is to build solid social profiles, blog often up to 18 months (on your own blog and guest blogging) all the while preparing your book on your industry and associate with the best in the business.