In the day and age of noise, it is crucial for us to stand out and to be heard. How we conduct ourselves digitally or offline will define the perception in the minds of the people who know us. Now days every second person is an “entrepreneur” or every second company is a “startup”. How do you stand out from the crowd and be identified as a serious entrepreneur?
I will try and list down 7 ways you can build your own personal brand; an identity of your own that either precedes or follows your company’s brand image.
1] Have a website/blog
Of your own! It acts as a destination for people who want to know more about you. It also integrates all your social profiles. A blog on your website lets you express yourself and allows you to showcase your strengths. It gives the human touch that your company website will never have. You can also use your website to write thought leadership articles or share your own entrepreneurial experiences.
It can be as simple as logging your daily activities as an entrepreneur on your blog. You would be surprised to see how many people are fascinated by an entrepreneur’s life and are eager to know more. If getting a domain name and hosting seems like a task, you can always use options like about.me etc. My website is ankitagaba.com.
2] Be active on Twitter
Twitter allows you to expand your network and enables forming new connections. If you don’t have a twitter account, set up one now and start following peers from your industry and other entrepreneurs. If you already have an account start using it actively.
A smart thing to do would be to just start interacting with people you follow. It’s good to be informal on twitter, because it makes you look more human. But time and again share and talk about your entrepreneurial experiences; how paying this month’s bill is going to be a challenge, or how it is difficult to bag this client you have been pitching to for 3 months.
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Twitter is a great place to share your fears and joys as an entrepreneur. It is a warm place where people are willing to help each other. You should also look at helping other entrepreneurs thereby establishing that you are serious about building the ecosystem.
3] Write guest posts
Like the one I am writing now (wink). It actually all boil downs to your intent of helping the community that you belong to. If you have your share of lessons, share them with others by writing on websites they frequently visit. The byproduct of sharing the goodness will be you getting tagged as an entrepreneur that has seen his/her ups and downs but has stuck to his/her guns.
4] Attend start up meetings
Attend as many as you can. Not only is it a great way of networking that helps you grow your business, but also it starts defining you as an entrepreneur. As they say “You are the company you keep”, it’s best to be seen around with those who are serious about building and creating something.
5] Build a powerful Linkedin Profile
Linkedin is a professional networking site that allows you to build a digital resume. It is a very common mistake to just make a profile and add all designations of current and past work and leave it at that.
Please take efforts and detail out each designations responsibilities, especially that of your current startup. List down the things that you lead in your startup, allowing viewers to get an idea of what all you take up in order to build a business.
6] Get featured
Try and reach out to media and see if you can add value to their stories on entrepreneurship and startups. Look up leading newspapers and see who writes on entrepreneurs and try and connect with those journalists. Better still, ask someone from your team to reach out to them and build a connect.
Share your knowledge which they can use to write articles that add value to their readers. Do not try to sell yourself to them. More often than not, we try and get an interview done or a feature on our entrepreneurial journey.
Instead, try and share with them meat on entrepreneurship that they can use as research material for their stories. Automatically you become a credible source of information for their future stories and gradually you start to build a brand amongst the journalists.
7] Join Facebook Startup Groups
Or start one! The more you are surrounded by them the more you will be labeled as an entrepreneur. Of course you need to invest time in nurturing or supporting the community. The same logic of you are the company you keep applies here as well.
These 7 pointers have helped me a lot in my entrepreneurial journey. They have helped me meet some really great people who have helped me immensely in my business. The stronger your brand positioning, the brighter the chances of the business taking off.
Have some more tips to share on personal branding? Would love to hear more tips that have worked well for you.[Contributed by Ankita Gaba, Co-Founder of Social Samosa. She is a Social Media Strategist, Consultant & Trainer | Entrepreneur | Startup Marketing and Processes Specialist.]