Now for part 3 in our guest post series from John “ColderICE” Lawson!
Not Like Corporate Brands
The very term brand brings to mind the corporate brands we’ve known since childhood. The images come quickly to mind:
- McDonald’s golden arches
- Coca Cola’s swirling red letters
- Mercedes three-point logo,
- Lacoste’s crocodile
- Nike’s Swoosh
The list is infinite, and each of these was designed by multi-million dollar advertising agencies that no small-business owner could ever afford.
Personal, Business Brand
Today, social media marketing has changed all of that. In today’s world you can create your own personal (or business) brand. Your persona, if you will. This does not refer to a flashy icon; rather it’s how you are known to your contacts, your followers, your audience. Your online brand is built on who you are, and what you represent.
This all began innocuously enough in 1997. An article appeared in the August issue of Fast Company magazine entitled “The Brand Called You.” The author, Tom Peters unknowingly set into motion the idea of personal branding.
Personal branding is made to order for the online, small-business, entrepreneur. It’s the perfect vehicle for building a successful Internet business. The sad thing is, most entrepreneurs are still in the dark about personal branding.
Let’s look at 5 simple steps to get you started.
- 1. Create Your Personal Brand Statement
- 2. Know Who You Are and Where You’re Going
- 3. Build Your Network
- 4. Become Visible
- 5. Be Easy to Get to Know
1. Create Your Personal Brand Statement
In days past, businesses were told to create a mission statement. Today you want to create your own personal brand statement. Take out pen and paper and describe how you want to be known.
Do you want to be the go-to person for a certain niche? Do you want to be considered the guru for your niche? Will you have the inside information that only you can provide? Whatever it is, write it down. Keep this front and center. This is the foundation you will build upon
2. Know Who You Are and Where You’re Going
In this day of online relationship building, you must be transparent. Don’t be shy. What strengths do you have to offer in your arena?
Next lay out your goals. If you don’t know where you’re going, you will run down every little rabbit trail and make no progress. Focus on where you want to be and what you want to become. Then use your business brand to make it happen.
3. Build Your Network
By using social media sites such as FaceBook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter and others, begin to connect with people. At this point, it is not a matter of sales or selling. It is all about building relationships. Use these networking tools to build a loyal group of followers. People who are interested in what you have to offer.
4. Become Visible
It’s impossible in this short article to cover all the venues you can use to become visible online. It’s limited only by your creative bent and imagination. You can post on popular relevant blog sites. Let your comments be constructive and helpful.
Do the same with forums that deal with your particular niche. Register with two or three active forums and begin adding your comments and advice. Let your name and your persona be seen in as many places as possible
5. Be Easy to Get to Know
Gone are the days when you go online, slap up a mediocre website, make a few bucks and disappear. Today’s Internet consumers are not impressed! All of those make-a-million-dollars-in-a-week were short-lived. It’s time for a paradigm shift to the long-range view.
Make the investment of time and effort today to create long-lasting relationships. Become that lively personality that everyone wants to get to know. And let that personality shine through a Twitter Tweet, a blog post, an email campaign, or a FaceBook comment.
I find it electrifying that I can come online and build my own personal brand, build a loyal group of followers and build a business that is (in my own way) as solid as anything that General Electric or Abercrombie & Fitch can build.
If that excites you as well, then you’ll get busy today and write your personal brand statement. From there, with great care, attention, and intention, you will create your own personal online business brand!
Formally of Accenture consulting, John Lawson is an Ecommerce Business CEO, International Business Keynote Speaker, Award-winning Social Media Strategist, an American Express Featured Business and Commercial TV Personality and appeared on Fox News. Recently John was nominated as a 2011 Small Business Influencer. John is founder of the award winning ColderICE.com ecommerce blog and CEO of urban clothiers 3rd Power Outlet