As a small business owner, you are the face of your company. That comes with opportunities and challenges as people may view you and your business as one in the same.
You have the power to single-handedly make a direct impact on your business’s credibility through your personal branding efforts.
So, how can you leverage your personal brand to enhance your company’s reputation?
3 Tips for Making Your Personal Brand Work For Your Business
Don’t be a stranger.
By getting involved in local business groups, you can build vital connections in the community. However, being on the membership roster of organizations isn’t enough. It’s important to be present at events and activities regularly so that you can nurture relationships and raise awareness of your expertise and your company’s offerings.
Choose where you network wisely because your time is precious. Seek out groups that have a strong representation of community partners, potential and existing customers, vendors, and influencers to make sure your outreach efforts are worthwhile.
Make some media inroads.
Look for windows of opportunity to share your expertise with the local press, online media outlets, and industry blogs.
- Pitch newsworthy story ideas to local reporters that can draw them to you for expert input on topics. By being quoted in articles, you gain free publicity in exchange for minimal effort.
- Reach out to the editors of reputable blogs in your industry to see if they accept guest blog posts. If yes, propose several topics with short summaries about each to give the publications several options for consideration. Guest blogging expands your audience and can help your business’s SEO efforts since most publishers allow a link back to your website from your author bio.
- Look for relevant media inquiries through HARO – When you sign up as a source on HARO (which stands for “Help a Reporter Out”) you get an email three times a day with a list of requests from media for sources of expertise. When you set up your HARO account, you can identify the types of industries and topics you’re interested in. Getting picked up as a source by a reporter through HARO can potentially give you—and your business—national exposure.
Play it smart on social media.
Perhaps the most powerful place for personal branding is social media platforms. Sadly, this is where too many business owners run into trouble.
You may have the right to say whatever you want on social media, but realize that heat-of-the-moment status updates and comments about highly emotional topics like politics and religion may have a negative impact. You’re bound to alienate some people (including customers, vendors, project partners, etc.) if you’re not careful. Also, ranting about business issues or airing other grievances online can serve to make you appear unprofessional. For those reasons, consider your intent before making any post or comment. If your motive is self-serving to get something off your chest or get under someone’s skin, it’s best to walk away from your screen and re-engage when you’re in a less volatile frame of mind. If you find it difficult to do that, you may want to reconsider “friending” clients and professional contacts through your personal social media accounts.
A Blurred Line That Can Build Your Business
With some focus and effort on your personal branding, you have the potential to build greater exposure and respect for your business in the process. As you look for opportunities to leverage your personal brand in-person and online, reach out to SCORE for guidance from a small business mentor. SCORE mentors work with business owners in all industries, and they can help you formulate a personal branding strategy that can effectively enhance your business’s other marketing efforts.