Advice for Small Business Owners on Building a Personal Brand
Some small business owners don’t want to be the face of their company because they worry it will hurt their ability to sell it later on down the line. But you needn’t worry about selling if you don’t have a successful business to sell and these days people want to know who they’re buying from.
If you’re planning on selling next year, I understand the hesitancy. But if your business sale is years away, it’s time to start thinking about your personal brand.
Why You Need a Personal Brand
A personal brand helps you stand out from all the noise because you’re putting a human face on your business.
Here’s what you’re competing with:
- Facebook has 2.91 billion active monthly users (yes, that billion with a B) and 1.59 billion daily active users
- There are nearly 1 billion active monthly Instagram users in the US
- There are 822 million registered users on LinkedIn
- YouTube has 2.5 billion active monthly users
- Reddit boasts 52 million daily users
- Twitter has 330 million active users (in 2019), down from an all-time high of 336 million
- TikTok has 689 million monthly active users
That’s a lot of users and a lot of noise. If you want to get noticed and stay top-of-mind, you need to make an impression. Here’s how to do it:
Blog the Good Blog
Establish your voice by creating a company blog. Share personal stories and tie them into business or industry wisdom. Connect with people and invite them to connect with you. Build an audience by writing about things your audience finds helpful and cares about. If your audience isn’t into reading blogs, consider a different media form like a podcast, audio story, or video log.
Comment in Groups
There are over 10 million Facebook groups with over 1.8 billion people using them each month. It’s likely there’s a group out there that covers your interests and expertise. You can start by looking up local groups in Alameda. Narrow your search down to groups that are/would be popular with your ideal customer.
Find out who created them, what the group’s goals are, and what the rules for participation are. Then be helpful. Don’t directly sell anything (unless the group allows for that). Make sure the profile you joined the group with contains your business info. That does not mean you should join with your business profile, merely that if someone looks you up, they know how they can reach you. Even if you’re allowed to talk about your business don’t give a heavy-handed sales pitch or turn the conversation to you. Look for ways to be helpful.
Guest Blog or Podcasting
If you come across a blog or podcast that is popular with your target market, approach them about being a guest. Some blogs publish their guest practices right on their site. When approaching the owner of a blog or podcast, share how you can be of service to them and to their audience. Don’t lead with your credentials and how amazing you are. There’s plenty of time for that. Instead, share what you can do for them. Again, the key here is to be helpful, not salesy. Here’s some advice on how you can find the best opportunities in guest blogging and podcasting.
Participate on Quora and other Question and Answer Sites
Question and answer sites help you assist other people by answering their questions and showing off your expertise. Always be transparent about your affiliations and your company. For instance, if someone is on Quora asking about the best small company in your town, don’t answer without disclosing you work there or own it. People will appreciate the transparency.
Create Weekly Tips
If you’re not a blogger this is a really easy one to do because it takes minutes. You can create weekly tips in a quick audio file, video, or image quote. Share them across social media using hashtags and measure your reach. Watch what topics resonate most with your audience.
Publish to LinkedIn, Medium, or a Community Media Outlet
The beauty of these sites is that they get a lot of eyes and there are people out there who will be very impressed that you post to these large sites, but ignore them. You’re doing this to share your wisdom and be helpful to your ideal customers. Keep that in mind. You can even submit a guest post to us at the Alameda Chamber. The only thing we ask is that it educates the audience in a non-salesy way. Contact us for more information and the editorial process.
A Final Word on Improving Your Personal Brand
These suggestions are great for getting your experience and message out there, but they won’t do you any good if you don’t optimize your content for search engines and concentrate on building an audience. Use social media to share and promote but don’t go overboard on your own self-promotion. Before posting ask if you’re being helpful to your ideal customer. Finally, as you build an audience find ways to engage them through things that keep you connected like content giveaways or an option to sign-up for your newsletter.