Marketing is a competitive industry, which is why personal branding is essential for every marketing professional.
There are four major benefits to building and maintaining an active personal brand:
1. It Establishes Credibility.
When you're building your online presence, you're likely focused on sharing and commenting on content from the industry's top thought leaders. As you continually engage through your social media, like posting in LinkedIn groups, you're showcasing your expertise and knowledge.
Not only will this boost your number of followers, but it will also demonstrate that you are a credible source of marketing insights. You become an authority in your space.
2. It Helps Earn Trust.
Another byproduct of establishing your authority and developing a credible voice — you gain the trust of others in your space.
For example, let's say you're an expert in the latest marketing technologies. You're always staying in the loop on the latest and greatest tools. When a big martech company unveils a new upgrade to their suite, you can be the go-to expert for your followers and your network. Your audience will want to know your perspective on it.
Generally speaking, people are far more likely to trust you over what they hear from companies. In fact, Nielsen's 2012 survey found that 92% of consumers trust earned media, like word of mouth and personal recommendation from other people, more than other forms of advertising.
To put it simply, your word carries more weight than what brands and organizations say, likely because you're a real person who prioritizes your audience's interests and needs over anything else.
3. It Builds a Valuable Network.
Naturally, the more you engage online and develop your brand, the more people you will meet, both online and in person. Your social connections within your industry are super valuable.
Your connections can provide you with insights that are outside your realm of expertise and present you with unique opportunities, in terms of your career (e.g. refer you to an employer for your next big step in your career), your current role (e.g. share the content you or your team creates for your organization), and your personal life (e.g. social outings and friendships).
They can also introduce you to others within their personal networks, so your network can continue growing.
4. You Will Amplify Content.
When you're working in marketing, you're creating and sharing content on behalf of your organization. So as you build your personal brand, you're earning a lot more followers who you can share your company's content with.
This helps expand the reach and boost engagement of your company's content, which you're working hard on. In fact, MSLGroup's infographic presents interesting data: Brand messages reached 561% further when shared by employees, compared to the same messages being shared through brand social channels.
Using your personal brand to advocate for your organization is great both for your organization and for your credibility.
But building and maintaining your personal brand isn't as easy as just sharing your company’s content. You need to brand yourself as an expert in your particular field.
And the best way to do that is by adopting the inbound methodology. You're solely focusing on educating your followers. You're not just telling people to trust you; you're proving that you're worthy of their trust.
When you use inbound techniques for your personal branding, you're establishing yourself as a thought leader and setting yourself up to succeed in inbound cultures within the marketing world.
Here are some basic inbound marketing practices you need to use for personal branding:
1. Prioritize Authenticity and Being Human
Personal branding is not just about gaining attention. You're using your brand to educate others and connect with communities within marketing who you can learn from.
If you're just sharing content without reading it or commenting on it, you may come off as disingenuous and seem like an automated bot. Take the time to actually read content you're sharing, and believe in the content you're creating. Writing a post on LinkedIn just for the sake of creating content is never a good idea.
Your personal brand messaging needs to be authentic, just as your messaging is when you're marketing your company's brand.
Your company doesn't just throw out blog articles without any purpose or intent. They're creating content that educates their buyer personas and adds value to the industry.
The same should go for you and your brand.
2. Be Consistent In Your Messaging
Just like the content marketing strategy you create and follow for your company, you also need to stay consistent throughout your online presence. Ensure your messaging aligns across all platforms.
For example, if you produce a vlog suggesting that PPC does not deliver enough ROI, then write an article about why paid ads are the best investment marketing teams can make, you're contradicting yourself.
Your followers will question your position on the topic of PPC and, in turn, wonder if you even stick to your guns on any topic. Failing to deliver a consistent message through all aspects of your personal brand will diminish your credibility and could potentially drive followers away.
3. Leverage Each Channel
There are so many channels you can use as a marketer, and diversifying your social media marketing strategy is essential in the digital world. The same goes for your personal brand.
Think like a social media marketer — build a personal branding strategy that works with each channel. As you brand yourself, you'll learn what content does best on each channel.
For example, if you're writing long form blog articles, share them on Medium or through your LinkedIn profile.
If you build a cool looking infographic, share it on a visual channel, like Instagram. Twitter is great for sharing your original content, like your long form blogs, but you can also engage with other marketers by participating in Twitter chats. There are plenty of companies and marketing professionals who pose questions to a specific hashtag, where others can jump in with answers and spark insightful dialogues.
4. Establish a Frequency and Stick to It
Imagine if organizations only created blog articles or hosted webinars every now and then. What if they only posted to social media when they felt like it?
Followers would drop off. Audiences would be less engaged and disinterested. Competitors would leave them in the dust. In other words, their marketing strategy would fail them.
The bulk of success from marketing strategies comes from high value content delivered on a consistent basis.
According to the B2B Content Marketing: 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—North America report from Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs, 85% of the "most successful" organizations say they always/frequently deliver content consistently.
Your personal branding strategy needs to operate like a content marketing strategy for an organization. Don’t just blog or share when you feel like it.
Inbound marketers understand the value of staying active and consistent in their industry. Your followers will notice how often and when you post and engage, and they'll start looking forward to hearing from you. So don't leave them waiting!
5. Join and Engage in Communities
The world of marketing is vast, and it's continually growing. More and more communities and associations are popping up, so there are plenty of places where you can engage with other enthusiastic marketers.
You can join professional associations, attend networking events, and jump in on conversations in LinkedIn groups. No matter where your community resides, whether online or in person, you should strive to stay active.
Ask questions, deliver answers, and follow up on ongoing conversations. This is what makes marketing so unique — most marketers are so passionate and excited to support one another.
The more you engage, the more you (and your brand) stay top of mind with others.
These five simple marketing techniques all fit into the attract, engage, and delight stages of the inbound methodology. When you go inbound with your brand, you're building a strong, credible reputation.