Let’s talk about great brands. When you think about notable brands and the reasons behind why they are so loved and admired, there are a few reasons; 1. they elicit an emotional and positive response and 2. they consistently provide a memorable and authentic experience when you interact with them. Now think about your personal brand. Do you consistently provide a great experience with those that you interact with? Is there a disconnect between what you put out there online and who shows up in person?
It’s important we communicate our authentic brand so that when someone meets us online, they are able to connect and engage with us on an ongoing basis.
What can you do to ensure better engagement with your audience?
1. Professional headshot – Did you know that within 40 milliseconds we make assumptions about people based on a photo? I read this statistic from a study done by Psychological Science and was surprised at the speed in which we form these impressions. Take a look at your profile pictures across your social media platforms and make sure the images are not only professional but that they represent you today. I have worked with clients that either don’t have a professional headshot or they have been using the same one for quite some time and no longer represents them visually.
On the topic of profile picture, select a picture that reflects your brand essence. If you are not a fashion trendsetter but lean towards the more conservative side, select a picture that supports this visually and authentically.
2. Professional Summary – when crafting your social media summaries focus less on your job function and more about your differentiating attributes (superpowers). When you share similar job titles as your peers, it’s more difficult for your employer to understand what’s unique about you. Structuring your professional summary in this way helps your audience gain more insight into who you are (beyond your title) and the unique value you embody. I recently read a LinkedIn headline summery that included “writer, author, guru, speaker, change catalyst, foodie, consultant” and could not decipher what they offered and to whom. Great brands are known for one thing, not many things.
3. Branded content – does your online content align with what you want to be known for? When developing a content strategy, think about two things: your area of expertise and your audience (who and where they are). In regard to your content, don’t think of it as being a content creator, think about what unique insights do you have that your audience will benefit knowing about. Once you develop your branded content, stay on message across your social media platforms so you are consistently reinforcing your area of expertise.
When someone reads your profile, ask yourself what is it that you want them to feel and know about you? Whatever your answer is, go back to your profile and decipher if it accomplishes this.