Personal branding in the post COVID-19 era

Most of us are spending more time online. We use the internet for work and entertainment more than ever before. Banking is mostly online. More people send money online than offline. We consume more digital content and services. The profusion of social media means that peer to peer connections matter more. Personal credibility has become vital. These factors have made personal branding a key component of success. Here is a look at how to develop and harness this valuable resource.

Understanding personal branding

Big organizations, influencers, and others use personal branding for promotion. Unfortunately few can articulate what it really means. The concept is simple. As the name suggests, it is the ‘branding’ of a person. Organizational brands are built by advertising their best features. The same applies to building a person up as a brand. Our personal brands are built by showcasing our unique skills and talents.

There are many well-known personal brands out there. Business magnate Elon Musk, self-help guru Tony Robbins, and former reality star Kim Kardashian are just some examples. Strong personal brands get excellent traction with followers and hold massive sway over fans.

Why it is important

A visible personal brand sets an individual apart from a sea of faces. Businesses actively invest in building the personal brands of their key employees. This helps generate buzz and keep the public interested. One of the most notable examples of this was Steve Jobs. He is still considered one of the biggest personal brands in the world. Apple constantly kept the pubic engaged through the charismatic and influential personal brand of Steve Jobs.

Smaller scale entrepreneurs can use personal branding in a similar fashion. According to a 2013 Go-Gulf study, 82% of consumers are more likely to trust a company whose CEO and leadership team are active on social media. 77% said they would prefer buying from a company whose leadership engages directly with customers on social media. Personal branding creates a sense of trustworthiness – an important prerequisite for personal and business growth.

Similarly personal branding can help a candidate succeed in the job market. In a CareerBuilder survey from 2018, 70% of the employers reported screening candidates on social media before hiring. 43% said they monitor their current employees’ social media activities regularly.

Personal branding at work

Improving one’s personal brand is an effective way of expanding career prospects even without switching employers. It can get you on a fast track to a promotion. Building such a brand is a function of getting multiple things right simultaneously.

Be active on social media to create visibility. Employers look candidates up on social media to get a feel for their personalities and aptitudes. LinkedIn is the perfect social media platform for professionals. Maintain an updated profile. Contribute content regularly. Join groups and participate in career-relevant discussions. Confident and well-informed contributors can become influencers. Companies sit up and take notice of this. According to a Brain Research Institute study from 2017, 35.5 million people were hired by a person they were connected with on LinkedIn. Employers value candidates who voice their opinions constructively, and take initiatives.

Be responsible when contributing online. The Internet is an unforgiving space. Whatever we share – positive and negative – becomes part of our personal brands forever. Most employers may not object to a job applicant’s fascination with comic book movies. However, they would quickly reject prospects who show an inclination for misogynistic views.

Personal branding for businesses success

Small scale businesses owners can invest in personal branding to attract new customers. There are inexpensive, yet effective ways to do this.

Be specific. Businesses must try and bring focus to their social media communications. Instead of talking about disparate things keep the communication centered on core business functions. Cooper Harris, CEO of Klickly advises against trying to be everything to everyone.

Have employees engage on social media. Employees’ engagement with customers on social media does wonders for a brand. A 2016 Entrepreneur study on ‘Social Media Advocacy’ found evidence of this. It stated that organizations achieve 561% more social media reach when their messages are shared via employees’ personal accounts than when shared via the organizations’ official account.

Have a sense of humor. CEOs and employees engaging with customers over social media must have a positive sense of humor. Social Media Today reported in 2015 that people are more likely to follow and share ‘faces of the company’ who don’t take everything too seriously and exhibit a sense of humor.

About the author:

Hemant G is a contributing writer at Sparkwebs LLC, a Digital and Content Marketing Agency. When he’s not writing, he loves to travel, scuba dive, and watch documentaries.