Personal Branding – 3 nuggets to get you going on this personal journey – Part 2

To be a person is to have a story to tell. —Isak Dinesen

Personal branding is a very personal journey and it requires us to just start the journey and then continue redesigning that journey as we go. We talked about beginning this journey a couple of weeks ago and if you missed this post you can read it here. At this point you have somewhat defined product me and you are on a journey to understanding who you are.

Now that we have agreed on how to begin the journey of personal branding we shall now discuss three more nuggets to get you going. The fourth nugget is minding the intersection between your online and offline Personal brand

The one thing you must know is that the online and offline personality needs to match so it is important for you to clearly map out who your online and offline audience is going to be and the image you want to project. This level of detail will help you structure and frame your personal brand story.

What channels will I use? This is a very important question to ask yourself and the truth is that one channel will not be enough, that is we cannot rely on completely offline channels without engaging using online channels in this digital era. Visibility on the internet is becoming important and the kind of content that goes with it is even more important. For example, some employers will prefer our resume’s hand delivered while others will prefer direct applications from your LinkedIn page.

It is already common practice for recruiters, or potential employers to scour through your your Facebook timeline including posts, comments, story line and statuses. Your posts communicate what is important to you so be consistent across all channels. Furthermore, you need to intentionally develop a good routine around your creation and posting of online content. The posts do not have to be every day, they can be weekly or monthly but consistency is key. You can make use of applications like Publer or Hootsuite to schedule your posts ahead of time so that you can manage this better.

Vary your online content to include images, videos, presentations and even documents. Blog, write articles (such as on LinkedIn or Facebook Notes) when you have big ideas and if you can manage to pull it off, have a personal website. Value feedback from real friends and colleagues on your offline and online personal brand consistency. You will always learn something new.  Remember, in the digital world, use short form media (like twitter and Instagram) to drive engagement and long form media (like LinkedIn) to share big ideas and to get your voice heard.

The fifth nugget is networking. This is a very interesting component of building a personal brand and during this period and post COVID19 we are more of a global community than we have ever been. It has become a reality in my world lately and recently I was part of project girls4girls, a global mentor’s meeting that brought ladies from Bhutan, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Pakistan and Algeria together.

This is one of those elements where I will tell you to forget about yourself a little bit. Networking is not about you! It is about the person you just met. Give them the attention they deserve, get to know them and what makes them tick and think of how you can make their lives better and brighter. And considering what value you can extend to them. This route will give you meaningful connections that will stand the test of time.

Networking is not about dishing out business cards instead you will have researched a little bit about one or two people that you will want to connect with. You will seek them out online, and when you have a chance to meet them in person, you will share why you appreciate them (or their work, mission, voice on an issue et al). You will learn to follow up with new connections within 12 hours after meeting them for example through a follow up call, an email or a LinkedIn connection request.

They may be considering doing the same, this is why keeping your online profiles updated at all times is important. A key part of networking is giving – and in the professional world, it looks like: taking time to endorse people’s skills on LinkedIn, engaging meaningfully on posts (beyond just liking). Make plans to network inside and outside of your bubble – your organization, old school alumni association and/or church fellowship – the outside of your typical common spaces gives you exposure to new ideas.

Finally, our sixth nugget is to be trustworthy. We need more trustworthy people that follow through with what they said they would do. Trust is a real currency in the brand world. Meaning what you say, saying what you mean, following up to the logical conclusion for collaborative actions and genuinely showing up. Trust grows even quicker when we take our connections and refer them with confidence throughout our networks. By referring excellent people to our connections, we build a trusted network around us that everyone benefits from.

How are you using your offline and online brand to build truly lasting and trust filled connections? How are you using your network to grow, build and share trusted connections?