With Internet it is easier than ever to create a strong personal branding. You have many tools at your disposal, and the best part is that you don’t need to pay anything or to hire anybody to do it for you. It’s easy, free and fun to do.
It is also a must if you want to be a coach, speaker, consultant or in any other way build a business around your name.
In case you’re still wondering whether you should build your presence online, let me ask you something.
You hear of a great restaurant from a friend. What do you do next? You google it! Now what if you don’t find anything? You most likely let go. After all, there are many other good restaurants.
Think of yourself the same way. You can be sure that whoever ever hears about you, is going to search for you online to get more information.
What are they going to find? That depends fully on you.
Here are 5 steps to building personal branding online to assure that you have everything in place for creating a successful business around your name:
1. Own your domain
If you are your business (meaning you’re the face, you’re the brand, the product) then you should own a domain with your name.
It can be a very simple website of just one page introducing you and your offer or a more elaborate one, including blog, resources, types of services or offers (like this one or this or this one here)
It’s always best to get a .com (as people are most familiar with these types of domains so they will think it’s legitimate), however you can opt for .net or .org as well.
If you never bought any domain in your life, don’t worry, it’s super easy (and once you get into it, you’ll see how addictive it can be :P).
There are many websites through which you can do it, but so far the most popular one is GoDaddy.com
All you need to do, is insert the domain name in the search box and see if it’s available.
If you’re name is a common one, there are chances it’s already taken. If that’s the case, see if .net, .org or even .me are available.
In case you’re wondering, I do own www.MagdaKay.com :)
2. Create assets
Another thing you should have are the assets, and that does not have to be (nor should it be) limited to online.
Your assets build your value, your authority and expertise. It’s one thing having your own website informing people you do life coaching or business consultancy. It’s a whole different things if you can show what you’ve built.
There are many types of assets you can have, such as:
- Online / physical courses
- Blogs and websites
- Yoututbe channel
- Facebook fanpage
- Companies and partnerships
And once you have them, make sure you feature them on your website. Here is how I do it on mine.
You know I run Psychology for Marketers along with the Facebook fanpage, but I also have InfluenceOthers.net under which I’m offering 3 online courses: The Power Of Persuasion, 9 Steps To A Win-Win Persuasion and The Art Of Persuasion.
I also just launched another course, How To Dream Big And Make It Happen, and a few more.
All of these are my assets. I don’t just say I can help you build an online business, I can also show you I’ve done it. That builds credibility and trust. I am not just a coach I am also a founder, I’m a speaker, and I’m the author.
Ok, so you might be asking yourself now: “But what if I don’t have any?”
Build them. And trust me, it’s easier than you think.
It took me 3 months to create my first online course. It took me few days to turn it into Kindle.
It took me literally 2 days to create another product, based on the speech I gave (and for that, it took me a few days of preparation). Creation is not a problem if you know what you’re talking about it. Simply choose the topic you know very well. Something you could keep telling your friends about for hours, because you’re so passionate about it and you know so much.
Simply record it (either audio or video) or write it down and boom, you’ve got your assets ready.
Don’t worry about creating something huge that will bring you thousands of dollars. Start small. See what comes easy for you. See what you want to write about. And then build from there. Add new content. Improve quality. But by then you’re already an author with assets.
3. Use social media
Internet makes it so much easier and fun to manage your own brand these days. There are so many options that you can choose what suits you best, rather than forcing yourself to do something that you don’t enjoy.
Keep that in mind. You business should be fun. If you don’t have to do something you don’t like, then don’t. rather focus on what you do enjoy.
And this is extremely valid for social media. With so many out there, you’re really ok choosing just one channel. I use Facebook, and it’s working just fine for me to focus on it, rather than getting distracted by running 4 different social networks
Here is what you can opt for:
- Facebook (fanpages and groups)
- Youtube channel
- And if you’re business in not in English, then you also have a choice of local social networks (often much stronger than Facebook or Twitter)
Ever social network works somehow different and talks to a different group of people.
Facebook is as of now the best way to reach out to people. With so many people connected (and using it daily), it’s a great channel to reach mass audiences.
Your best option is to build a fanpage (like the one I run personally or this and this one for example).
4. Position yourself differently from others
I’m sure you know a bit of marketing foundations. One of the main rules of successful marketing and selling is to position your brand/product in a unique way. It’s to underline how it’s different and better than anything else available.
Now a bit of truth for you for anybody building their business around their name (like a coach, consultant or speaker). Whatever your business is, and whatever you’re offering, there is already someone else doing it. Rarely your product or services will be unique and the only option on the market.
That’s not a problem, though. Think about it. There is tons of space on the market for both Coca Cola and Pepsi :) And there is even more space online.
So if it’s not the product that makes you different, then what is? It’s you.
It is crucial you don’t copy anybody. You can get inspired by other figures, but never attempt to copy their style. if you do, you’ll be fake and people will feel it. And most of all, if you’re copy somebody, than it means you’re essentially offering the same way. So if the other person has been on the market longer, why would people go to you? They will go to the other person.
By copying another person, you are set for a failure. However, by really allowing your personality to shine through your business, you’re creating a unique positioning that makes you different.
Frank kern for example, is an online marketing guru. So is Jeff Walker. But Frank is a comedian, while Jeff is a soft shy guy. They teach similar things, but their personality attract very different people.
Now of course, being unique means that some people will feel drawn to you, and others will not. The more unique you are, the more polarized your audience will be. Again, there is nothing bad about it. They will always be haters, and no matter how you do your business, you’ll always come across people trying to teach you a lesson, those “who can do it better”, or who think you’re a phone. Simply ignore that, there is little you can do about it. What you can do, it be true to who you are and care about your audience, those who resonate and trust you.
5. Get social proof
There is one last thing you need for a successful personal branding online (and offline). And this is social proof.
If you had a chance to read Influence by R.Cialdini, than you know that social proof is one the strongest tools you can use to persuade others. You do what to persuade others – to buy your product/service. And for that you need them to trust. Everything we discussed so far is indirectly building trust towards you. Social proof is what build it directly.
So what exactly does social proof mean? Social proof is any type of approval coming from another person. Se these can be:
- Positive testimonials from people who’ve worked with you (customers/clients, partners, coaches)
- Rewards and gifts you’ve received
- Logos of companies you’re worked for or with
- Pictures of you teaching, speaking or coaching (for this and the point above, check out my website for example)
- Pictures of you with your customers/clients
- Pictures of you with public figures, famous people and experts
- Positive feedback from public figures/experts (check out this website again to see what I mean)
- Reviews from media
- Logos of media that featured you or your product (here is how I’m using logos)
You might be wondering what you should do if you don’t have any. As long as you don’t have customers, you can;t get a review, but as long as you don’t have any reviews, most likely you’re not gonna have any customers.
So what to do?
Start by offering your product and services for free, in exchange for a review. Share with your friends, and have them review it, too.
You can also use so called “borrowed proof”, meaning you take a proof not for your product or yourself, but for the topic that you teach about it.
I’ll give you an example. We were recently launching a new product about guided meditation. As it was brand new we have no testimonials or positive feedback whatsoever. And the product would not be finished in time to share it with others and get their feedback before the day of the launch. So what did we do? We searched for credible sources that were advocating for guided meditation (like an article from Time magazine covering benefits of meditation). This article wasn’t about our product, but it was about the topic we were selling.
This is how you start. And then with time, when you build a base of happy and satisfied clients, ask for their reviews and add it to your website.