How to grow your personal brand isn’t just something you should think about when you need to find a new job.
Personal branding is all about your reputation and staying at the top of people’s minds throughout your career. With social media, we can now market ourselves online in a way that was once only available for celebrities and you can do it all from your cell phone. (This saves you the hassle of having to go to fancy restaurants and wait for the paparazzi to ask you questions that lands you on TMZ.)
The fastest way to grow your personal brand is with video. Every social media site allows video of some sort. No time like today! The best time to build your personal brand is when everything is going well; when you love your job and don’t have any intention of going anywhere. When the great recession hit, I remember meeting with a lot of people who were of retirement age who had to start over again because they lost their job and much of their saving. Many of them had little or no personal brand. The second-best time to start building your personal brand is today.
Let’s take a moment and set some clear expectations. You can’t expect to start creating videos today and get immediate results. It takes time and consistency. It is a tortoise, not a hare, strategy. That being said, those that are growing the fastest online are doing it with thought leader video.
How to get started to grow your personal brand with video
As much as you might like to plan, don’t get stuck in the “thinking about it” stage of video creation. The best way to get started is by following these 3 steps:
1. Choose a platform
For most people, LinkedIn will be the best place to build your personal brand in a way that advances your career. Right now, LinkedIn loves video and they will put it in front of as many people as they can. This is unlike Facebook where you will be lucky if your mother even sees it if you don’t buy ads. That being said, I would recommend considering repurposing your videos on other social media sites, the main one being YouTube, for long term discoverability.
2. Write down four video topics ideas around your area of expertise
If you can talk about them for 2 minutes without notes, then you are good to start recording. If you are like me, write it out or create some bullet points to keep you on track.
3. Quality is subjective
I get calls all the time from people who want professional video. However, they don’t have the budget for professional video. What they are actually asking for is something better than they can do themselves. Depending on how “professional” your personal brand is you can probably record your video with your cell phone or your webcam. I recommend a microphone and maybe a tripod, but the investment is very small to get started.
This is one of those times that you build the ship as you are sailing. The biggest killer of your personal brand will be inaction.
Your online life will last far longer than you will. Social media is an important part of the hiring process. Don’t be careless about your online presence. This is a good thing to teach your children, too. Recruiters are looking at your personal profiles. You need to be the same person across all social media profiles. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be online. You are more likely to be hired if you have an online presence. My favorite is when I am going through the hiring process for someone in marketing and they don’t have an online presence, let alone a personal brand. Talk about a missed opportunity to show you are an expert! You can be sure they don’t get a call back. Be yourself, flaws and all. You promote your strengths and uniqueness to your audience. Even if you’re not an expert, you can talk about your process of becoming a leader. Personal branding takes time. Some people see others having overnight success and think that is the way it is for everyone, but the truth is this takes time.
Be unique. Be sharable. Most of all, be a good citizen. If you take nothing else away from this blog post, remember that behind real social media profiles on social media are real people. The world doesn’t need more political commentators or late-night hosts. Regardless, we need more humans who value human life, even the opinions we don’t agree with. This starts with the way you talk about things. If you venture into this world of thinking, I recommend trying to change hearts and minds rather than using a sledgehammer to make your point. Avoid buzzwords in your personal brand. Don’t call yourself an “expert,” “guru,” or “maven,” to name a few. These words are noise and make you sound like you are bragging. This is a little off topic but please, oh please, make sure you have a professional photograph of yourself. I can’t tell you how many CEOs I have worked with that have headshots that look more like mug shots or have someone cropped out, but you can still see part of the other person’s arm.
Advertise your videos
This seems strange to say, but if you want to be a thought leader, you need to put your video in front of the right people and the only way to do this is by using ads to get your video out there. You don’t need to spend a lot, even $20 on Facebook video view ads can make a difference in your personal brand in your local area. Once you’ve captured your audience’s attention, make sure you send them somewhere to capture at least their email address.
Corporate brands should build personal brands
What many companies don’t realize is that personal brand video is important for the corporate brand. Corporate brands should be investing in the personal brands of their employees. Let’s say that each of your employees has at least 500 connections on LinkedIn. If one of your employees share a video of him or herself talking about his or her area of expertise as it pertains to your company, that person just reached 500 people in a natural way that doesn’t seem like an advertisement.
Now do that with all your employees. How much organic reach would that give your company?
I heard a CEO once reject this idea because he thought that if he invested in his people’s personal brand, those employees would leave the company. I would say those employees are going to leave if you don’t invest in them, so better to build a mutually beneficial strategy than to lose your people to your fears. Personal branding builds your corporate brand. By making your employees brand ambassadors, you increase your corporate brand organically. Let them talk about their expertise. Show your team of experts. You want the people in your company to be invited to speak at different events to contribute their ideas to the community.
This type of personal branding needs to be demonstrated and lead from the top. Your CEO needs a strong personal brand. People want to connect with other people. By giving a personal brand to your corporate brand, it will help grow your value in the marketplace. Look at Tesla. They have around 3 million Twitter followers but Elon Musk, the founder of the company, has 32 million followers.
There is a big shift on social media with people preferring the personal brand of the CEO to the corporate brand because people want to interact online with real people. not a faceless company. Many CEO and entrepreneurs will say they don’t have time to do one more thing. You’re right. You need help with this. Or you can ignore the idea and find yourself with lots of free time when you are looking for your next job.
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Batch your video content
Set aside one day and schedule your employees to come in and record their videos on this day. You can get 52 weeks of content in one day by using this method. Recording a year’s worth of content in one day will help minimize distractions and help you save money on video. You can then drip this video content out on social media over the next year.
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The advantage to video to grow your personal brand
Video’s special advantage is many people won’t take the time to do this. This means that just by creating video, you are taking steps that set you apart to grow your personal brand. The year of video happened a while ago, yet many companies are still not using it. Some people think of it as something you do onceeveryr 5 years. Don’t get hung up in the process. Just start creating. Let go of your fears. Yes, people are going to judge you. It’s what they do. But honestly? Who cares what they think? Your target audience doesn’t care. They like you because you are helping them. The more you think of yourself as a servant and create your video with the mindset that you are a helper, the faster you will grow. Be consistent. Create a weekly video or, if you can handle it, a daily video. If both of those are too ambitious, make a video once a month.