5 Personal Branding Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
5 Personal Branding Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
In the world of coaching, creative services, or really just being a personally branded entrepreneur it is just as important that you brand yourself, as you branding your business.
Because your clients are deciding to work with YOU! YOUR name is on the business \\ so what the heck does this ‘Tessabella’ chick have to do with anything? You need to make it cohesive and easily understood to your ideal clients. Your potential clients will gravitate towards the person behind the business rather than the business itself. We’re in 2018 people! Log on to instagram and look the 8.5 billion athletic t-shirt brands. Which ones are really doing well and selling? Typically the ones with either a story, a personal connection or both.
It is the same reason that Influencers are even a thing, they’ve created a personal brand (some more so than others) and that is part of the reason that companies reach out for them to associate with their product, service or brand!
But I’ve seen a lot of amazing coaches, creatives and entrepreneurs fail to pay enough attention to the practice of personal branding. Many don’t realize it’s something they should be thinking about. There is a lot of mixed information on the internet (shocker, right?) saying…
“You don’t need a logo”
“I didn’t even have a website”
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah… I am NOT saying that these things are or aren’t more important than something else. It depends what your personal business is. But having a really cohesive and clear brand is never going to hurt you. So let’s dive into some of the top five personal branding mistakes that I’ve seen, and how you can tweak them.
Not Having A Plan...
When it comes to branding yourself, it can be tempting to “go with the flow.” Whatever feels right at the moment. That is great and all, but ultimately you are making things a lot more difficult for yourself by not having at least some sort of plan. You may be thinking that you want to be your natural self... so it seems unnecessary to plan or strategize. While over planning your personal brand can definitely be a bad idea, no planning at all is equally bad.
Before you rush into setting up social media profiles and websites, make sure you sit down and clarify the key objectives you’re looking to achieve WITH your personal brand. Once you’ve identified what you are hoping to achieve, then it’s time to start to think about tactics that could be used to work towards these goals.
It’s also important to ensure that your progress can be measured against your goals.
Some goal examples to get you on the right track: how many likes/followers do you want in the next year? What do you hope your audience will take away from your message? Revenue goals? Personal Goals? What overall message do you want to portray? What do you want people to think/feel when they come across your messaging online?
Not Being Y-O-U...
I know that it can get overwhelming, especially when you are just starting. You are looking all around at all of the others in your niche… wanting to just emulate exactly what your successful role model is doing. Or you see the messaging that someone else is sharing and getting a good response from, and think that you should deliver that same message.
Ok, Stop that right now.
It is all-too-common on the internet, but I have some new for you. The messaging that someone else is sharing, WILL-NOT resonate with your audience in the same way. Chances are, the reason that their audience is responding so well, it is because that is what they’ve connected about with that particular person.
What I’m trying to say, is YES it is important to be doing your market research and seeing what works well, and what doesn’t. But don’t get so captivated by that, that you forget about being YOU.
Don’t change your behavior just for the market.
Marketing is about providing value and information to influence how your target audience behaves and reacts to the message – personal branding should be no different.
It may sound corny, but the best way to grow an audience online is to be really, authentically YOU. When it comes down to it, the unique factors that define you are the only reason for someone to engage with your brand over anybody else. There is no secret formula for tailoring your personality so that people will like you, that will be a really exhausting, unfulfilling and challenging journey. The effort of being inauthentic is draining and takes the fun out of running your business.
You rock. Be you.
Not Defining your Position...
No matter who you are, it’s still important to identify the key characteristics that set you apart from everybody else in the market. Why would somebody listen to you, over someone else? What makes your connection with your clients different from others?
The answer to this is different for everybody. Maybe you are the foremost expert in the area? Maybe you are the funniest business coach around? Maybe you are the most caring and helpful?
There are all kinds of different ways you can position yourself against competitors. What’s important is to make the most of your uniqueness (See Mistake #2 -- I’m all about being YOU).
Typically, potential clients are looking for a reason to pick you over your competitors, so failing to clearly define your position, and what makes you different in the market gives them nothing to work with and can ultimately be a reason that you are losing out on clients.
Once you have investigated your position + points of difference, set out a short statement that defines what makes you unique and stand out, and make it a point to ALWAYS be communicating this with your audience. Say it loud, Say it Proud and Say it Often. This positioning statement should underline every piece of communication you make that represents your personal brand.
LIVE THIS STATEMENT.
It’s important that you are really, really specific about this statement. Don’t simply fill it with vague descriptions that could apply to anybody, or again, don’t just copy someone else you found online.
Get rid of buzzwords and replace them with real talk. No sparkles, no glitter and unicorns and all of this extra fluff -- be direct, to the point and clear. You want potential clients to be able to know that you are right for them or not in a matter of seconds.
Don’t Underestimate the ‘Real World’....
We’ve all heard it before ‘social media is king.’
But that doesn’t mean you should neglect offline channels completely.
Remember that some of the best connections are made in real life – at functions and events, such as conferences, conventions, workshops, and retreats. Attending these sorts of events is a great way to meet REAL people who can help you achieve your business goals.
What better way to ensure a lifelong fan of your personal brand than to have a genuine conversation with them? Try connecting with like minded individuals in your area, or if you are traveling -- make a post in a few different Facebook groups and see if you can’t find some people to meet up with on your travels (this is SO fun)!
The connections you make at events can then be transferred into the digital realm. Get people you meet to sign up for your newsletter, add you on LinkedIn or join your Facebook group.
Stop ‘Shiny Object-ing’ (lol)...
A big mistake that a lot of people make when working on their personal branding is to focus too heavily on their achievements – or their “trophies” rather than their clients.
This can turn off a lot of people because it comes off as arrogant and showy, rather than providing them a real reason to engage.
Constantly promoting your achievements can become a desperate plea for people to like you! Don’t be a debbie-desperado.
Rather let them get to know you so they become to know, like and trust you. Sharing testimonials and how you have helped is really powerful of course, but make sure it is from the right angle. It’s always good to mention these things every now and again, ro reinforce your positioning in the market.. but make sure you aren’t showboating 24/7, ya feel?
The real factors that should be attracting and maintaining an audience are your strong voice, personality, and effectiveness in your niche.
Your achievements should simply confirm what your fans already know to be true!
Let your accomplishments speak for themselves.
People know that your awards and big-name clients are good reasons to work with you. More often than not, waving around all of your accomplishments isn’t going to be someone’s deciding factor of wanting to work with you… again it’s going to come down to your positioning and what makes you different, and if they identify with YOU.
Hope that helps you on your personal branding strategy // a major key takeaway is to STOP worrying about what you ‘think’ you should be doing and just do what feels right, be authentically you!
As always, if you have any questions or want to really deepdive into your own strategies -- let’s connect!