In the days before social media, a professional’s sphere of influence was limited to the individuals they personally knew and interacted with. Now, anyone can develop a finely tuned personal brand and become a respected industry influencer, often with a large following of people they’ve never met.
Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight; establishing credibility and growing an audience takes time and consistent effort. But if you have a unique voice and valuable contributions to make, you can join the growing ranks of thought leaders in your field.
Fourteen Forbes Coaches Council members offer their best personal branding tips for anyone striving to be influential.
To become a credible resource, be sure to publish articles and participate in speaking engagements. To further your exposure, partner with organizations that align with your company values. Your articles could be published on your own blog or you could write guest blog posts for those organizations. For speaking engagements, reach out to them to promote your shared mission. – Rosie Guagliardo, InnerBrilliance Coaching
2. Build Relationships With Existing Influencers
I made a list of the top 100 marketing influencers in the world with the goal of becoming one of them. I used a social media listening tool, brand24.com, to track conversations and understand who was influential. I didn’t think about what influencers could do for me; I thought about what I could do for them. I promoted their books, shared their content and commented on their blogs. – Ian Cleary, RazorSocial
3. Understand The Value You’re Providing To Others
With all the social media platforms available, it is easy to promote your brand. However, before you do that, make sure you have an understanding of your perceived value. Make sure you are adding value to others if you want to be influential. Self-promotion without value creation negatively impacts your influence. – Donald Hatter, Donald Hatter Inc.
4. Practice What You Preach
The cardinal rule of personal branding is to be consistent, appealing and to do exactly what you ask others to do. If you are building an excellent personal brand, your entire objective is to amplify and accelerate the values your brand stands for, which are also the lessons you are expert at teaching your audience. Your intellectual property is your calling card. – Courtney Feider, Courtney Feider, LLC
5. Google Yourself To See What People Can Already Learn About You
It’s so important to know what clients and potential clients find when they look you up online. Google your own name and company, and assess what comes up. From there, you can make a plan for what you need to do to increase your visibility, and where you need to spend your time and energy. Being intentional about this is a great way to get the interest and attention of your target audience. – Jill Hauwiller, Leadership Refinery
6. Use Your Authentic Voice
You can’t fake your brand. Yet, surprisingly often, people try, even without realizing it. Reading what everyone else is doing tells you about their brands. You have to uncover yours. This means digging deep. Get a coach, ask your clients, ask people close to you. Others can often see your unique value better than you can. What is the truest version of the best you and of what you offer? – Maureen Cunningham, Up Until Now Inc.
7. Embrace Your Imperfections
We look to influential people as being so “put together” and perfect. Don’t be shy to occasionally share some of the roadblocks, battle scars and most importantly, lessons learned from your career progression. People will connect with your honesty. If you can overcome challenges, so can they. Showing that you’re imperfectly human builds trust. You can’t influence anyone if they don’t trust you. – Deborah Goldstein, DRIVEN Professionals
8. Promise Followers A ‘Return On Investment’ For Engaging With You
Your brand represents who you are and how you are seen to the world. To be absolutely juicy and magnetic, it’s critical that your brand gets down to the return on investment (ROI) promise individuals will have by working with, knowing, or interacting with you. Focus on creating a brand so unique and clear that people know what they get instantly, and are attracted on its merits. – Laura DeCarlo, Career Directors International
9. Live Your Brand In Everyday Life
It’s easy to put on a good show when you’re in front of prospective clients or employers. But remember your brand when it “doesn’t count.” How are you responding when you’re in everyday situations like ordering at a restaurant, online at the airport or at the grocery store? You’re making a first impression with everyone you meet. You never know who may be a future client or customer. – Joyel Crawford, Crawford Leadership Strategies, LLC.
10. Consistently Produce Strategic, Helpful Content
Consistently curated content that is both strategic and helpful to your audience will position you in a favorable light of influence. Today, video content via your social media streams adds immediate attention to your personal brand, and this typically holds true for all industries. – Kenneth Johnson, East Coast Executives
11. Align Your Brand With Your Current Organization
Plant, create and bloom where you work now. Create content for your company’s newsletter. Volunteer to write for an industry-aligned publication. Drive up your brand where you work. Create value where you are allowing your personal and professional brand to thrive simultaneously. Instead of just looking at shiny ideas outside of work, find ways to align your personal brand with your organization. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
12. Strive To Be No. 1 In Your Category
Being influential means you stand out from the crowd. To stand out in a crowd you must be distinct and recognized as unique. The best way to achieve this status is to dominate a category of your market and brand yourself as the top expert. Too many professionals try to be all things to all people and end up being a commodity. To be No. 1 in your category, you must specialize and be the best. – Daniel Ortiz, Latino Success Academy
13. Become Known As A Listener
Early on, my mentor taught me an invaluable lesson that only took years for me to master: If you’re talking, you’re not listening; if you’re not listening, you’re not learning; and if you’re not learning, it’s only a matter of time before you say something you’ll really regret. Listening more than others is a brand differentiator, a superpower and a top trait among major influencers. – Teri Citterman, Talonn
14. View Everything Through Your Brand Lens
If your brand is truly defined with who you are, who you serve, why you are different and what your style is, you should see everything through the lens that is your brand. Even an article that seems to be removed from your area of specialization — slip on your lens and give your hot take. – Jennifer Oleniczak Brown, The Engaging Educator
Article By: Forbes Coaches Council
For More: Forbes.com