Personal Branding For Dummies
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Everything that you do demonstrates your personal brand, from the way that you represent yourself online to how you treat people at the grocery store. Because a personal brand is built on your true self, you need to be aware that the totality of your actions makes up your brand.

Be authentic in all that you do

Your personal brand is your legacy and your reputation. You must show your real self — not a fake version — to the world. Living authentically makes you memorable to others; they recall your actions, your expertise, and the emotional connections that you make. Your personal brand shows your authenticity from the inside out. What you are offering is your unique promise of value: something that only you can provide.

Stand for something

You want to use your talents and passions to become known for something special so that you can build a distinct personal brand. To be known for something, you need to figure out what you do well and then own it.

You may become known for your personality, your community service, or your expertise. Whatever you want to be known for, you need to reveal your best attributes to build your personal brand.

Have consistency in your communications

When you’re clear about your message, you want to deliver the message consistently no matter how you’re communicating with your target audience. Every time you send your message, it needs to be perceived in the same way. The most important thing you can do is to be consistent in your message starting the first time you make contact with a potential employer, future customer, or other target audience member.

Build character online: Create a signature look

Your social media sites often act as the hubs of your online identity, so make sure that they represent you well. Ask a friend to give you her first impression when she looks at your social media sites, and if it doesn’t align with your personal brand, make the necessary changes.

You want your online presence to communicate your brand and connect with your target audience. Use the logo, font(s), color(s), and images that speak to your brand and show who you are.

Use LinkedIn effectively

You make a first impression online in much the same way as you do in person. Your success with social networking comes at the intersection where you’re sharing the right information to the right people at the right time and on the right social media platform.

LinkedIn helps you build effective business relationships based on nurturing the “know, like, and trust” factor. The first step is to get your LinkedIn presence moving in the right direction.

Go viral on Twitter

Twitter is the great equalizer and a place where you can share your content expertise without being granted a PhD or holding a prestigious job title. If you’re prolific enough and get enough followers who are interested in what you have to say, you can rise to the status of content expert rather quickly.

To build your presence on Twitter, you want to make sure that you’re providing value to your target audience (your followers) by giving them links to articles, blogs, and websites that offer good, useful information.

Facebook the right friends

People form opinions about you and your reputation on Facebook just as they would in person: based on what others know about you, the way that you treat other people, the ways that you behave, information that you share, and who you hang out with.

But, as your mother always told you, be careful who you hang out with! Your community of choice makes an impression.

Market your materials and business cards

Your brand identity is carried through all the items that your target audience touches. It incorporates your logo, fonts, colors, and images into one look and feel. Each item should reinforce the unique promise of value that your brand stands for. You want to apply your brand look in everything that you do to create a set of coordinated materials.

If you want to increase the visibility of your personal brand, you need to use the visual elements that attract your target audience and be consistent with those elements.

Engage in community involvement

Volunteering is one of the best ways to build your brand, widen your community, expand your network, and serve the greater good. How you volunteer your time, as well as which community you serve, becomes part of that brand.

You need to volunteer with the same standards as you would have in the workplace. You can damage your reputation and your brand by behaving badly as a volunteer with laziness, a complaining attitude, or poor follow-through. As a volunteer, you want to become known for your character, your good deeds, and/or the causes you support.

Highlight your brand daily

You can highlight your brand daily by living on brand. That means that you keep your level of self-awareness keen and continue to think about things that are on brand for you.

Sending a message online is an easy way to highlight your brand. Your brand attributes can guide you in how to communicate your personal brand online. The type of message you create clarifies and communicates what makes you special — what makes you different from other people.

For example, if you’re an avid reader, you can send book updates on Twitter. Your message should exhibit your personal qualities, your professional characteristics, and your style in how you apply those qualities to your work life. Make living your brand a daily practice.

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