A personal brand isn’t anything mysterious, rather, it’s just a matter of how the world sees you. When people are thinking of doing business with your company, they Google you. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking at the personal brand of a CEO, CMO, CFO, or the brand of a midsized company, whether you’re selling directly to customers or distributors, it’s still just a matter of how you are perceived.
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As my mentor used to tell me ad nauseam, perception is reality. She meant that the reality will impact you in very real ways. If you or your company is unknown – if you don’t have a social media or Internet presence worth speaking of – then that’s your brand.
If a lot of results include that Death Metal Band you use to drum for, and very little of your business work comes up, then that’s your brand.
Take a moment to Google yourself and your company. What do you see? Is your personal brand desirable, undesirable, or invisible? What you see here is more useful than any marketing analytics – you’re getting the customer’s view of your company and its officers. Don’t panic! This gives you an idea of what kind of content you need to create and publish on the Interwebs to shift those search engine results.
Once you know where your business stands, and you know where you want it to be, you can take the time to think about what falls within that gap. Maybe it is writing a new blog post every month. Maybe it is re-publishing older but still relevant posts via LinkedIn long posts.
How should consumers and businesses be perceiving your personal brand, as opposed to how you are perceived by them now? How can you take actions – using content marketing and other techniques – to change how you or your business is perceived?
Keeping it Positive
Jumping into the online fray and pointing out misconceptions about your brand may be tempting; but, it’s a bad idea. Social media is your space to tell the story of your brand, not to respond to untrue or negative information that may be out there, and if you reiterate negative ideas you’ll be helping them spread.
You impact and influence your personal brand narrative, so take advantage of that. Who are you? What does your business have to offer, and why should other businesses want to work with you and your company? More importantly, here is your chance to be a thought leader. Talk about what you know, not about what you sell.
Using Your Size As An Advantage
This is the one big advantage SMB’s have over enterprise companies. Most large companies strangle out every aspect of humanity from their social media and blog posts by having a tortuously long review process. While a midsized company have review processes in place, normally they will let the author shine and be more human than their larger counterparts. This is an opportunity to create powerful content that can build a strong foundation for a personal brand.
As a SMB you have the opportunity to make a a human connection to your potential and existing clients. While you want to thoughtful of TMI (Too Much Information), you should share your passion. Is there a vacation destination, non-profit, or activity that others might enjoy? Think of it as a cocktail party. Your job is not to show how much you know, but to amuse and delight. Large companies don’t do this, or actively discourage it, and miss this huge advantage to connect with customers. This is your chance to beat the big(ger) guys.
A lot of businesses out there have a great social media presence, and good for them! A clever CMO or CXO can learn a lot from looking at how other companies have put together their social media presence. But the fact is that they’re them, and you’re you. If you mimic how they’ve done things, you’ll look like them – and that’s not a good thing in a world where you’re trying to create an exceptional social media presence. So long as you’re following basic guidelines to work to create a positive social media presence, don’t be afraid to break the mold and try things you haven’t seen done before online.
* This was based in part on an interview I had with Patrick Sitkins (@PatrickSitkins). Patrick is a business branding expert and co-author of Brand Aid: Taking Control of Your Reputation — Before Everyone Else Does (with Larry G. Linne). You can watch the full interview here:
About The Author
Steve Farnsworth is a Demand Generation Strategist for The @Steveology Group: A Content Marketing agency that drive sales and dominate markets for high tech B2B. You can contact Steve or connect with him on Twitter as @Steveology.
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