It is absolutely that time of year again – many of us have taken the time to make New Year’s Resolutions, set goals, intentions and make plans for the upcoming year – both personally and professionally. Many of my colleagues and peers have been talking about their resolution to invest time in building their personal brands online – especially those in B2B sales roles.
They recognize that this is important to invest in building your personal brand and finding your authentic voice online. Just like reading online reviews for restaurants and hotels, your buyers and customers are researching who they want to do business with, they are looking for experts and advice. By taking the time to build your brand you can stand out and be that expert, that trusted source of information.
So how do you get started?
Let’s step back and think about this in the context of the world we live in today. We hear and talk a lot about the ‘Social and Digital Age’. This is not new but it is important to pause and think about how it has transformed how we think about our personal brand. There are now New Rules of Engagement.
- Your online personal brand is more important than ever.
- You need to build and demonstrate expertise
- Buyers are looking for new insights and to be educated.
- Authenticity, personalization and consistency are key to engagement
If you can build your personal brand online by adding value and engaging authentically there is a huge opportunity to stand out, and stand above your competitors. Your personal brand can prove to be a real competitive advantage. But how do you get started? It is challenging to stand out amongst all of the information and influencers accessible online. Here are some tips, my colleague Melissa and I shared recently in a webinar: Social Selling: How to Find Your Authentic Voice and Build Your Brand Online
Getting Started: What do you want to be known for?
The first thing you want to do is establish what you want to be known for. Here are some thought starters…Do you want to be known as:
- An expert in a specific vertical or subject
- A trusted source of information in your industry
- Something interesting, topical, engaging, relevant
This may vary depending on your industry, the verticals you are selling into and the solutions that important to your buyers. Remember, it doesn’t just need to be just one topic or theme, you want to take an approach that is relevant to the audience you are trying to engage. I often recommend to pick 3 pillars or themes. This will help you position yourself as well-rounded, relevant but not too monotone online.
Which Social Platforms should you focus on?
We know our buyers are doing their research online, they are tapping into their social networks for expert advice and insights. Simply put – you want to make sure you focus your efforts on the social platforms where your buyers and customer are active and doing their research. LinkedIn is usually the best platform for B2B sales in North America and Twitter can be also be a great platform. But make sure you take the time to understand your local market. For example in Germany the primary social network for business is XING, which is essentially the German version of LinkedIn. If you are doing business in Germany, you need to be on XING.
I absolutely recommend doing your research in your local markets as well as for your industry and buyers. Talk to your professional network in local markets, your sales team, your customers The We Are Social digital trends report is a great tool to support your research.
Your LinkedIn profile is an important foundation for your brand. So here are some great tips for getting started.
Set the foundation: 6 Steps to Build Your LinkedIn Profile
Remember your LinkedIn Profile is not an online version of your resume, it is the foundation you should be using to build your personal brand online.
1. Add a professional photo: Ensure you’re dressed professionally, alone in the shot, and opt for a simple backdrop and good lighting.
2. Write a buyer focused headline: Choose a headline that speaks to how you can add value or solve buyer’s problems.
3. Draft a buyer-centric summary: Use this area to tell your story to your buyer, outline how you can add value and what insights you can offer..
4. Detail your past work experience: While this is a place to highlight previous experience, it should be written with your buyer in mind. Position yourself as a partner to your clients.
5. Get Recommended: Recommendations can be a great way to have others speak to your expertise and value. If you get great feedback from a customer, that might be the ideal opportunity to ask if they would be open to giving you a recommendation.
6. Include volunteer experiences, causes and your education: Adding causes you care about, volunteer experience, alumni associations and more is a great way to round out your personal brand and make connections with your buyers.
Best Practices for Building Your Personal Brand
Once you have your LinkedIn profile established you can really bring your personal brand to life authentically with the following best practices:
Building Expertise and Credibility through Content: Curate and read industry relevant content to stay on top of industry trends and build your expertise.
Listen and Engage with Influencers: Understand who influences your buyers, who they are listening to.
Always Add Value and Share Insights: Take the time to include a key insight or your point of view when sharing content to demonstrate your expertise.
Be consistent and find the right balance: By sharing and engaging consistently through LinkedIn, you are staying top of mind and consistently adding value to your buyers.
You want to make sure you find the right balance. Share a good mix of your own brand content along with 3rd party content.
Engaging Authentically to Build Relationships: On social media platforms like LinkedIn, your brand will really come to life through engaging with other people’s content. It should not be a one-way conversation of just sharing content, you also want to listen, engage with others and respond to those who comment on your posts.
Be Human and Authentic: People want to do business with interesting people, so ensure you are sharing authentically and showing your human side on social media. Of course, the bulk of what you share will be work- and industry-related content, however it helps to supplement your sharing with something you are passionate about.
These tips and best practices are a great foundation and key to building your personal brand online in 2018.
Taking the time to invest in building your personal brand is the key to all finding new opportunities. You will establish yourself as a trusted advisor at the earliest stage and
throughout the entire buying journey.
On Demand webinar: Social Selling: How to Find Your Authentic Voice and Build Your Brand Online
We would love to chat with about how Trapit can help you your sales team build their personal brands and enable social selling at scale.