A brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room – Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com
This is what I was faced with at 36 weeks pregnant, who goes to a personal branding seminar at 36 weeks pregnant anyway! It’s not like I didn’t have enough unanswered questions running around in my head at 3am. Now I was lucky enough to add the following questions. What was my brand and what would it become once I gave birth? Was all my hard work about to vanish amongst the baby brain, nappies and sleepless nights? I was suddenly all too aware that I was at the cross roads of an identity crisis – professional business woman or mother or could I be both and have it all? Surely having it all is just a myth created to make us feel better about maternity leave?
This one quote that caused all kinds of questions was one of the reasons why Max and Me Marketing was born.
For many of us becoming a mother is a great opportunity for a fresh start, a chance to build the brand we want rather than the one we built because it was expected of us.
Today is the time to start setting goals around what you want your brand to be in 1 year, in 5 years and moving forward. Start building your community and gathering your content now.
Five Steps to get you started
1. Decide what online platforms you want to use.
Examples of different options are: Facebook, Twitter, a blog, a regular column on someone else’s site, pintrest, the list goes on.
2. Give relentlessly.
Share as much information as you can. One of the main goals of online personal branding is to attract attention. Now some of you may think of the way your children attract attention such as creating lots of noise. This is not the way to get attention online, you need to be remarkable and respect other people’s time and opinions. Ensure everything you post adds value in some way, whether it be to build a stronger relationship or provide some information others will enjoy. Gaining trust is not about being an expert, it is about being an authority in your area of expertise. The more open and transparent you are both on and offline the more trust you will build.
Humanise your business. A great example of this is the flour company that decided to think outside the square and celebrate all things baking rather than focussing on the somewhat more boring topic of plain flour – pun intended.
3. Get your LinkedIn profile in order.
No one wants to look someone up on LinkedIn only to see big gaps of information missing, spelling errors or a grey head where the photo should be.
List your skills and call on some old colleagues or clients to endorse them. They may have been skills you used in your previous role but they are more than likely transferable to your new brand too.
Don’t be scared to do some stalking and check out some of your role models/competition’s profiles to get some hints on how to improve yours.
4. Embrace Twitter.
Twitter is a great place to start, not only can you gather lots of great information but you can join in conversations and share your own information with others. Think of Twitter as a cocktail party where you move from group to group introducing yourselves, meeting others and having short conversations.
Remember Twitter is not a place to sell, sell, sell, you need to give back in order to attract followers, you wouldn’t do this at a cocktail party so don’t do it online. Be active, retweet items you think others would be interested in, join conversations, share information you have found elsewhere online. Participate as much as possible.
This site is fairly self explanatory – it’s all about you! Use this site to create your online business card but with lots more information than you can fit on a tiny card.
While on the topic of business cards, if you have one make sure you put your online details on there ie: find me on Twitter, Facebook etc and list your details.
I know this is a lot of information to process and over the next few weeks we will be breaking these components down into more detail so for now I will leave you with the four “Be’s”
Be found (personal website, blog, social media, linked in, about.me)
Be known (showcase your skills through digital publishing)
Be successful ( paint the big picture, case studies, outcomes)
Be trusted (be the authentic you at all times)
And always remember if something goes wrong, apologise and move on – tomorrow it will be old news.