Branding is a vital element of any marketing campaign. Most companies take branding seriously, wanting to leave a lasting impression on the customer. Personal branding, however, is often overlooked.
Personal branding is someone's online reputation. Most executives already have one – it's just a question of whether or not they cultivate it. As Jeff Bezos said, "Your brand is what other people say about you when you're not in the room."
Personal branding of a team member, typically the founder or owner, is a way to boost the credibility of the organization. If the customer trusts the founder, then they are likely to trust the company as well. A personal brand can also serve as a face for the company, which is important in both B2C and B2B businesses.
There are many different personal branding tactics, such as blogging, social media, email marketing and public relations. Executives can pick and choose where they want to brand themselves and then reap the benefits. Here are three reasons why personal branding is essential.
1. Personal branding increases sales.
One of the most popular benefits of personal branding campaigns is an increase in sales. Leads generated by employees through social media activities, as opposed to company social media activities, are seven times more likely to convert. Also, the B2B sales process is lengthy. It typically takes 5-7 impressions for someone to remember a brand. Personal branding efforts, such as posting on social media, are a non-intrusive way to help nurture leads.
Plus, 53 percent of decision-makers said that they eliminated a vendor from consideration based on information they did or did not find about an employee online. It's not just bad news that could hurt a company; no news hurts as well.
2. Personal branding efforts get in front of more customers.
What's really interesting is that 92 percent of people trust recommendations from individuals – even if they don't know them – over companies. Again, a tweet from an executive at a company goes further than one from the company itself. Not to mention, posts have 561 percent more reach when employees share brand messages than when just the brand posts the message, and posts by employees are reshared 24 times more frequently than when shared by companies.
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3. Personal branding offers a competitive edge.
Consumers are coming to expect personal branding from companies. In fact, 82 percent of people surveyed said they're more likely to trust a company when their senior executives are active on social media, and 77 percent of consumers are more likely to buy when the CEO of the business uses social media. Consumers want input from company leadership. So businesses that ignore this may end up swallowed up by competition.
Getting started with a personal branding campaign
Launching a robust personal branding campaign may seem daunting, but executives don't have to do everything at once. It's actually a good idea to take time and strategize.
First, before launching a personal branding campaign, it's important to target the networks that the customer already uses. By looking at the buyer persona, executives can figure this out. If the customer rarely uses Instagram, then skipping that platform is a good idea.
Second, executives can choose one or two efforts and focus on those. The worst-case scenario is trying to maintain a presence on too many platforms and doing a terrible job on all of them. Choose one or two social networks or focus on blogging on platforms such as Medium, and build up followers.
Third, stay consistent. Continually post and keep followers updated on trends and news. It can be substantial work to get up and running, but a personal branding campaign certainly pays off in the end.