In one of our recent guest interviews, Justyna Brownbridge, Chief of Growth and Learning & Development at Tribal Impact, spoke to Wendy van Gilst, Client Solutions Manager at LinkedIn about how and why businesses should promote personal branding.
You can listen to the podcast below, or check out the summary of what they discussed in this blog.
What Is Personal Branding?
The term ‘personal branding’ has become muddled recently, with some people equating having a strong personal brand to meaning you must be a social media influencer. This isn't the case. Wendy suggests: ‘If we don't call it personal branding, it might be a way to stand out, or it might be a way to achieve your goals and objectives as a professional.’ Some people may also call it professional branding, online presence, or online reputation.
Regardless of what you call it, it’s all about first impressions. When someone visits your LinkedIn profile, you have the chance to make a strong first impression. Your profile is often the first thing people see when they have a meeting or phone call with you scheduled, or you’re going to meet at an event. This is your opportunity to stand out against others and you can curate your profile to give off a certain message and paint a particular picture of yourself.
Building Brand Trust
Branded campaigns and marketing activities aren’t enough to build trust anymore – you need to put your employees in front of your logo. Approachability and humanity are important. Leveraging your employees' personal brands is also a great way to increase your reach, as content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by company channels.
Wendy is an experienced professional with a strong reputation for sharing her knowledge on LinkedIn. She has become a trusted adviser to her audience, and in turn, this trust extends through to the company that she works for – LinkedIn.
Businesses are often worried about losing talent. Instead, they should ask themselves how they can attract people with strong personal brands, people who know what they stand for, and are keen to share valuable knowledge and experience. ‘That's where you're going to attract customers like crazy.’ Wendy said.
Where To Start With Personal Branding
The most important first step is to train employees. They need to understand the benefits of building a professional brand online, something that will stick with them throughout their career. When you explain the benefits of a strong personal brand, and what’s in it for them, they’re more likely to get onboard.
Training topics may include:
- Optimising your social media profiles
- What type of content should you be sharing?
- What are the things you can do once you have a good profile?
- How do you build a network around you?
Further down the line, consider expanding on these questions:
- How can you achieve your sales quota and help the company grow?
- How should you position yourself and leverage your momentum?
Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Personal Branding?
Even if your employees’ posts are extremely relevant, nobody wants to see the same person crop up in their timeline 10 times a day. This is a sign of enthusiasm: someone who’s clearly loving being visible and wants to do more.
However, there is such a thing as posting too much. Posting 10 times a day doesn’t help with visibility; it’s better to spread out the impressions across a week. Too much comes across as spam, meaning some people will tune out and unfollow. If there are employees doing this, it’s worth asking what they’re trying to achieve, then talking to them about how they could spread out their content more evenly, so there is more chance for it to be seen.
You want to support them in a way that helps them to understand there’s no value in being overactive, then show them how they can do it better. Show them how to benefit the company and get the most out of their posts, because their enthusiasm is just what you need so long as you channel it in the right direction.
Allowing your employees to develop their personal brands can be scary at first for businesses. But it doesn’t have to be. With the right training and guidance, employees’ personal brands can be huge assets to your business.