How to Use Personal Branding to Drive B2B Leads
If Starbucks is the first thing that pops into your mind when you want a coffee, you understand the value of branding. Whether you sell caffeinated beverages, business services or something else, that should be your goal -- becoming the best and only option when people need what you offer.
You are unique with a special set of skills and expertise. But how will people know that if you fade into the background of your industry? Unfortunately, if you fail to develop and maintain your personal brand, you risk short-circuiting yourself and your business.
So what exactly is personal branding and how can you develop your personal brand? In this article, we’ll cover why personal branding is essential to both your personal and business success…and how you can create a killer personal brand that sets you apart from the crowd in 2020.
1. What is a personal brand?
Your brand is your reputation, which you build through storytelling so that your potential clients and business partners get to know, like and trust you. It combines your experience, your knowledge and expertise in your industry. It’s all about the feeling others have about you -- and it’s much more than a slogan, logo, or personal style.
A personal brand is separate from a company brand. It personally identifies you as a thought leader in your industry. To build a personal brand, you can share content on social media, podcasts and other platforms. You can talk about yourself, your expertise or your passions, as long as it helps your followers in some way.
2. Who needs one?
You may be wondering, "Why should I take the trouble to develop a personal brand that is separate from my company's brand?" Yes, it's a lot of work, but it pays off!
A personal brand cuts both ways: It benefits both you and your company.
Before engaging a company's services, many people will look into the reputation and expertise of its CEO. One study found that 48 percent of a company's reputation can be attributed to the standing of its CEO. You of course don't need to be a CEO to contribute to your company's brand. Anyone as a representative of a company can enhance -- or diminish -- a company's image.
Your brand is what sets you apart so they choose you over your competition. It’s much easier to trigger emotions that drive sales when potential customers identify with a human being instead of just the services you offer.
3. What does it take to be successful?
You need to be an expert in your field. To assess your area of expertise, consider what has influenced you in the past. What have you done for the last 10 years? What do you think about on a Friday night when you’re with your friends? What do others say you do well?
Then, identify where you can close a gap in the conversation. What are people curious about? What problem can you help them solve? Clarify your message so it will peak other people’s interest.
4. How do I know which platforms are best for me?
The best platforms are wherever your target audience spends their time. For example, if your ideal referral partners are active in LinkedIn as most professional services firms are, then LinkedIn would be an ideal platform. If your target customers are Generation Z who uses gaming apps, then TikTok would be a strong choice. If you don’t know where your ideal clients spend their time, ask them — but don’t guess.
At the same time, focus on your comfort zone. If you don’t like being on camera, a blog or podcast might be best for you. But if you want to build an empire, there’s no question: You have to be on social media.
An occasional social media post is not going to cut it. Be proactive. Promote yourself and your image within your industry. Manage your reputation and be seen the way you want to by your peers.
In order to have a solid strategy, you need to answer two key questions:
- What are my personal objectives?
- What kind of awareness and exposure do I need to create for my firm?
- What are my natural talents?
This will give you a direction. If you have a natural talent for public speaking, then plan speaking engagements or start a podcast that will move you toward your objectives.
5. What kind of content should I create?
This depends on your niche and platform because each one has its own language. For example, how-to videos would fail on TikTok, where fast and funny videos win. But that kind of longer, informational content does well on YouTube.
While more content is better, focus on relevance and quality over quantity. How much you create (and how) is up to you. Start slowly and try different things. But if you’re covering trends, you’ll want to act fast — otherwise, someone will beat you to it.
Give people ample opportunities to learn about you and what you do -- and develop the fact that you are an expert in your industry. Some examples of how you achieve is with:
- Published articles
- Speaking engagements
- Attendance at industry conferences
- Thought leadership material
Look for every opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and associate with your peers. This will establish your professional credibility and lead to other opportunities.
6. Build Your Presence
Show off your expert skills with your online profiles. Whether it’s LinkedIn or Facebook, make it obvious that you are on top of your industry. Keep your online profiles updated with your recent accomplishments and don't forget to make, what makes doing business with you and your firm, unique and different from your competition.
- Components of a successful personal online profile include:
- A prominent and professional photo of yourself
- An attention-grabbing headline
- Your personal accomplishments
- Career experience
- A professional tone that also showcases your personality
The moral of the story? Don’t leave your personal brand to chance. Be proactive in creating a personal brand in B2B that sets you apart from your peers and creates unique opportunities for your personal career advancement. With time, your brand will lead to increased awareness, influence and — ultimately — sales. If you’re in this for the long term, personal branding is the way to take your business to the next level in 2020.
Our highly experienced team at Propel Business Solutions understands how to create strong personal and corporate brands that are fully integrated and that work in tandem to create the very strongest engagement with you and your firm. Call us today and learn more.