The influx of digitization and the proliferation of globalization might have made it very easy for entrepreneurs to enter an industry as having a brick and mortar shop is no more necessary. But there are many challenges you will have to face if you are a startup in the modern era, and this is why you will have to adopt various ways to level the playing field and fuel the growth of your business. Building a personal brand is one of those ways.
The need to build a personal brand for startups has never been more critical than today. We live in a world of social media and the internet where anyone can become an expert, build an audience base, and start attracting clients for their firms. And this is what most of the people are doing on the digital platform.
A study conducted by Upwork shows that the number of freelancers is increasing at the rate of 3X every year. By the end of 2027, freelancers will be a big chunk of the overall workforce pie of the U.S. This clearly shows that more and more people are flocking to startups, and with more startups, the competition will reach to the neck-wrenching level. And in such situations, there is only one thing that will allow you to distinguish yourself from others, i.e., personal branding.
Why will startups need to focus on personal branding?
If you are commencing a business around your expertise, then building a personal brand comes as a default option, or we can say that it comes naturally to you. If you are your firm's face, creating your brand is the best thing you can do.
Your company's brand sets you apart from other industry players and leaves a lasting impression in the minds of the customers who interact with your business. But if your business lacks a compelling personal brand for attracting the audience and giving them a unique experience, you will find yourself struggling to build a profitable and successful startup.
Even if you are building a firm with its brand, you will still need to focus on personal branding. This is important because, in the modern era, people are more interested in being connected with a person rather than a company.
Thus, even while building a broad audience for your brand, you will be enhancing your own company's exposure. You can take the example of Elon Musk, who has more Twitter followers on his personal account than all of his three companies. The same goes for Richard Branson (Virgin) and Gary Vaynerchuck (VaynerMedia).
The most unique ways to build your personal brand as a startup
Understanding your true value
Your value isn't determined by which company you work for or what your job role is. It is determined what you can bring on the table. You will need to be clear about what is the thing that you can offer in the best possible way and excel at it in each and every situation. In the corporate world, we always focus on finding a niche market and categorizing the target audience. It aids a firm in zeroing down the available list of potential customers and uses a better targeting approach.
If you are not specific about the type of work you can do or what you are good at, then you will be lost in the crowd, and you will never be able to leave a lasting impression in your customers' minds. Simply build a value proposition around what you can do and what you have to offer the market.
Building a personal image
If your company's brand covers your image, you will never be able to come out of that cloak and create a particular image. Your image will indeed act as a springboard for your firm's success, and they both are correlated, but still, hiding behind the brand won't work while trying to build a personal image.
There are various ways of building a personal image. You can start by only taking a professional headshot and using it at multiple digital platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and even in your company profile. In addition to this, you will need to cultivate an email signature that will be unique to you. The email signature will need your social media icons, contact information, the website address of your company, and professional headshot.
Deliver on your value and get testimonials as a reward
If you are the only one talking about your value, then there is something wrong with your personal branding strategy. Let other people talk about your importance as well because later on, these people will act as your brand ambassador, and they will influence others to join your audience base.
One of the best ways to let other people talk about your values is by consistently delivering on your value and surpassing your target audience and customers' expectations. This will help you build a network of loyal brand ambassadors and thus be referred organically by them.
You can also ask your professional network to give you testimonials and allow them to highlight what you are good at and how you are working to grow your startup.
Work on your online presence
Working on your online presence is the best thing that you can do to build an online presence. There are various tools out there that you can use to check your availability on a myriad of online platforms.
You can begin your journey of building an online presence through LinkedIn as it is a professional platform that helps people connect with like-minded experts in their industry. But this doesn't mean that you should limit your online exposure to LinkedIn only. From Facebook to Twitter, all these social media platforms will enlarge your network and strengthen your personal branding efforts.
In addition to this, make sure that your personal website, apart from your official business website, showcases all your attributes, achievements, contribution to the industry, and work. But make sure that the website you are using for personal branding is in sync with your company's brand.
Don’t forget blogging
For most digital marketers out there, blogging is the best way to build a brand, but it can prove to be a magic wand for building a personal brand. After ensuring that you have a seamless, enticing, and engaging website, you will need to master the art of increasing your blog audience. If you succeed in increasing the number of followers by blogging, you will be able to strengthen your personal brand.Some of the useful tips that you can use to build a personal brand through blogging:-
- Repurposing your articles and blogs
- Syndication of articles and blogs
- Joining like-minded online communities and sharing your content
- Equipping your blog with social sharing buttons.
- Writing content related to influencers and asking them to share your content.
But make sure to post content regularly after building a large base of followers and make the most of the best SEO practices and catering your followers with what they are looking for.
With personal brand building becoming an integral part of the overall business strategy for startups, you will need to start working on it without delay. In the end, you will be attracting more people towards your business and increasing your sales.
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