If you are the face of your business, and you haven’t been committed to building your personal brand, then starting tomorrow is the perfect time to begin. I personally leveraged my personal brand to expanding my business, thus avoiding taking out business loans, or taking on business partners.
When you execute personal branding properly, not only will you be able to attract clients, but you will also establish yourself as an authority figure, and an expert in your field. Here are some tips I’ve personally found to be extremely useful when building my own personal brand:
Create a personal website
When customers want to find out more about you, the first thing they will do is Google you. Having a website will automatically be perceived as professional, and gives you authority. It doesn’t have to be complex, and you do not need a web developer to help you build one. Platforms such as Wix and Wordpress provide you with ready templates, and an option to purchase a domain (preferably one with your name), and you can have a website up and running in a day.
Start with a simple website that has an ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ page. Add a professionally-taken portrait shot. I would highly recommend to add a ‘blog’ page where you would share content about your field. It doesn’t have to be lengthy, but it is better if you post regularly as well. Make sure that you add your website address to your social media accounts and on your business cards. Don’t forget to link your blog posts to your social media accounts so that your posts are automatically shared on them.
Share your entrepreneurial adventure
Blogs are a huge success because people like to get personal, and love to see the lives of people they look up to. If you are not on social media, then be there for your business’s sake. That, in addition to your website, will be where people will be looking to find out more about you. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are great to share visual contents on. Consider them a place to document your entrepreneurial journey. You could document your product-making process, when you meet interesting people, and share any media coverage that has been written about you or your business. If you are a video fan, and love to document your daily life, then get on YouTube, or Snapchat, and use these platforms to give your followers and customers a behind-the-scene access to your business. But don’t stop at that. It’s not enough to only document your journey, but also to make your clients/followers feel that they are part of it as well. Ask them for their feedback, consider their recommendations, and listen to their advice.
Network and attend industry-related events
Websites such as Meet-up, and news outlets like The National provide you with a list of events taking place around town. Attend those related to your field, and network with other business owners. One thing always leads to the next. You may not see results straight away, but getting to know a lot of people always comes with advantages. I met people who recommended a client a couple of months later, and some within the same day. There's no specific time to when you will reap results, but you will certainly do. Just make sure to always carry a business card. Invest in having professionally-designed and printed ones. Just like your website, and the outfit you wear, they should make a strong, positive, first impression.
Share your expertise
If you have a knack for writing, then you could contribute and share your expertise in local newspapers, industry magazines, or leading blogs. Many publications are always on the lookout for contributors; just ensure that you have an interesting angle or topic to cover. If your speaking skills are stronger then consider launching your own podcast, or be a guest on a popular one. A lot of people, especially when on the go, tune into podcasts, and they are increasingly popular in this region. Not only will that expose potential clients to your business, but it will also enhance your credibility and strengthen your professional CV.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer who manages her branding and marketing consultancy in Abu Dhabi.