We may not all be CEOs, but there is one thing we are all proud bosses of – our personal brand! The trend of personal branding has gained popularity in recent years, but for millennials who are still fresh to the working world, this may still be a difficult art to master.
And if you’re still struggling to build your personal brand, why not take some advice from the very best? Here are some pearls of wisdom that we’ve unearthed from 3 personal branding experts: Chris Reed of Black Marketing, Eugene Seah of Trainium Academy and Andrea Edwards of The Digital Conversationalist. With these, working millennials in Singapore can win at personal branding, and make their mark with it!
1. LinkedIn: the first step to personal branding
Chris Reed, best known as a “LinkedIn guru”, feels that the platform is underused by many professionals. He observed that even CEOs do not fully capitalise on the merits of the platform and miss out on using it as a form of personal branding.
So, if you want to stand out from the crowd, make sure that you start by creating and/or maintaining a LinkedIn profile! Chris recommends adding as many connections as you can and updating your profile regularly. He suggests following the “411” rule for the latter – which involves posting one hard sell post about your company, one soft sell post and four generic posts – to keep your content constant and fresh.
If laziness is your excuse behind not being on LinkedIn, maybe it’s time to take 10 minutes off scrolling through Instagram to establish your professional brand instead. There’s more to do on LinkedIn than you think!
2. Know and show your unique selling points
Just like brands and products, we all have unique selling points about ourselves that the next person might not. And if you think that there is nothing that differentiates you, maybe you’re just not looking in the right places! Whether you’re stellar at speaking, great with your analytical skills or a class A coder, identifying your unique selling points is the next step in your personal branding.
And of course, your audience would only know as much as you show them. After finding out your unique strengths comes showcasing them. Don’t shy away from showing what’s special about your personal brand.
Eugene Seah found out after years of experience that knowing and showing your unique skills is one of the ways that will help you stand out. He also suggests that we should develop those skills further, in terms of both breadth and depth. Be so good that you become a first choice, not a secondary option!
3. Personal branding through your tone of voice
In line with establishing your LinkedIn presence, knowing your tone of voice is another aspect of personal branding that working millennials should work on. Perhaps our greatest fear, in this day and age, is that we become forgettable – that we could hustle hard for years and still end up a diamond in the rough.
The greatest brands carve their niche in their industries by being memorable, and this, to a large extent, boils down to the tone of voice they adopt. When you think of Wendy’s, you think of their famous roasts on Twitter. IKEA is another brand that has mastered this – achieving the seemingly impossible task of making furniture interesting. And Netflix is fast rising as the new kid on the block in this area – with their self-deprecating tweets and short videos that often poke fun at themselves.
Eugene sees this as part of the “style” in which you communicate yourself to your audience. Beyond the knowledge that you have, it is sometimes about the way that you convey and package it. How do you want to be perceived by your audience? Funny? Witty? Knowledgeable? Is your personal brand statement strong enough? What audience segments are you targeting and how can you best relate and reach out to them? Identify this, set your tone of voice, and you’ll be ready for the next step.
4. Consistent content generation
With a LinkedIn profile and a clear tone of voice to follow, the next thing in the pipeline is content generation. And Andrea Edwards feels that this should be at the core of your personal branding – core-ntent, if you will. According to Andrea, creating content, especially through microblogging, should be a priority and you should strive to “become the resource in your field of expertise”.
But she also feels that beyond mindlessly sharing and creating content, what is key is to tell your audience why you are doing it. Why is your content so important and why should they bother to click on it? In an era where people are increasingly stingy and selective about the content they consume, consistency is one way to make your mark and make yourself memorable. Show that you are dedicated and committed to your personal branding with regular posts of quality content. Whether you’re sharing a Medium article you read on your commute to work or a TED Talks video you really liked, tell your people why it’s worth their click or tap! Engage them with your content and they just might engage you for a job 😉
5. Join the giving economy
This principle of joining the giving economy is, to Andrea, one of the most important steps. You might have done your personal branding well, but if you do not reach out and show support to others like you, you will only find yourself stagnating! She feels that personal branding is a two-way street. If you want others to appreciate you, you have to show them some love as well. So comment on their posts, share their content and give them the recognition they deserve. Before long, people will be doing the same for you as well.
Better yet, why not reach out to someone on LinkedIn if you feel that you want to make their acquaintance? Personal branding is also about public relations. Maybe there’s a fellow millennial with a new startup that you see potential in – don’t shy away from starting a chat with them!
6. Learn from the best
The best way to learn is to learn from the best. And everyone has to start from somewhere! Whether you’re new to personal branding or struggling with a stagnating LinkedIn profile, why not look at how the power profiles on LinkedIn work their magic? These pioneers and champions of personal branding will show you how it’s done.
Even the best brands weren’t built in a day. Keep going at it and before long, you might just become a power profile on LinkedIn yourself 😉