New Year. New Personal Brand

Many people make New Year's resolutions that are well intentioned but fall away. If you want to achieve your business objectives in 2016, you should focus on developing your personal brand on LinkedIn and keep it going throughout 2016. It's now more important than ever.

By Chris Reed, Founder and CEO, Black Marketing

People buy people. Always have, always will. That's why the phrase "it's not what you know, it's who you know" is as true now as it was 100 years ago. Today they are buying your personal brand. Think you don't need a personal brand? Think again.

Here are 13 reasons why you need a personal brand in 2016:

  1. You already have a personal brand – if you don't control it, it's being controlled for you, by other people. Your brand perception is out there of you, you can manage it or you can let others take it away from you, you reputation is being managed whether you like it or not....better to control it and manage it yourself.
  2. If you want a new job then your personal brand will dictate whether you succeed or not after your application. The first thing an HR director or recruiting team does is look at your LinkedIn profile. No photo, no summary page, and no update job title/experience and you won't even get an interview. 
  3. If you want a promotion in your existing company you will stand more chance of getting it with an enhanced personal brand. If your competition for that senior role has more recommendations on LinkedIn, blog posts more, engages more, has more connections on LinkedIn and their profile altogether looks better, they will beat you to that position. Are their rankings for views higher than yours in the company? Professionals like you? Where do you stand?
  4. If you want to keep that client then you should focus on your personal brand – if you're not and your client is being wooed by another service provider and their personal branding on LinkedIn is better than yours, then you may just lose that client. Enhance, engage, increase your visibility through social selling/marketing on LinkedIn.
  5. If you want to win that client you must enhance your personal brand – if you don't and they look at your LinkedIn profile and see nothing impressive, no thought leadership, no sharing of content, no engagement, no blogs, no connections, no company page then social selling indications are that you will miss out and not even know about it.
  6. If you want to impress the media then you must show that you are a thought leader and demonstrate your accomplishments through LinkedIn. Talk about your the events that you spoke at and have invited to, talk about the things that yo have done in a business context. It's not boasting it's factual and it's helping communicate your personal brand values. People also like working with winners and influencers.
  7. If you want investors then you need to give them reasons to invest. People invest in people just like they employ people or buy from people because of the person ans their personal brand. If you have a fully rounded personal brand on LinkedIn that looks impressive and is backed up with substance as well as style, then you are more likely to 1) get investors approaching you and 2) be welcomed with an open door when you approach the investors. Why should someone invest in you if you can't invest in yourself personally?
  8. If you want to reassure shareholders and keep them informed as to what you're doing and how well you're doing, then having a personal brand that is full of confidence and updates on LinkedIn is key. Blog about your successes, let people know about your innovations and direction. Educate, inform, inspire.
  9. If you want to be an event speaker of any kind from speaking for a company at an event to speaking at a conference, then you need to give the organiser of that event the confidence to employ you. If your personal brand on LinkedIn contains no speaking engagements or details of when you chaired an event successfully or recommendations from other event organsiers then why should a future event organsier employ you? Add pictures, videos of you in action and list all the events that you have done and are doing. Confidence is everything in event speaking, for the organisers as well as the speakers. That confidence comes from a confident personal brand. Keyword search will also determine whether you get found or not, if you don't list what you have done speaking wise then how do you expect people to find you and know you're any good at speaking?
  10. If you want to blog for a media brand then you have to demonstrate that you have the credibility and following to make a publisher allow you to blog for them and be exposed to their audience. They have to want you to publish for them. List out your writing experience and blogging experience on your personal brand on your LinkedIn profile.
  11. Employer branding. People work for leaders with an enhanced personal brand. If you want employees in places like Singapore (where there is virtually full employment) or you want to keep existing employees, then you have to have a personal brand worth following. All great leaders have great personal brands. Now that has changed from the battlefield and off line to social media, especially in a business context; LinkedIn. In a competitive world you need to impress and inpsire your employees that you're worth working for or it's worth staying with you and you need to impress future employees that you're worth following. A great personal brand can tick so many boxes when it comes to this. Give people reasons to see that they can learn from you and that you are worth following.
  12. If you want to be recommended and referred to by others then you need a personal brand on LinkedIn worth showing to other people. Remember your LinkedIn personal profile never sleeps, it's being viewed 24/7 from people all around the world. Try Googling your name. What comes up first? Your LinkedIn profile. Worth thinking about. (p.s. try Googling your company and what comes up first or second? Your LinkedIn company page...even more frightening when you see some company pages....MNC's and SME's. All that hard work on your website  blown away because you have no updates on your LinkedIn company page.....)
  13. If you want to be headhunted it goes without saying that you need a great personal brand on LinkedIn that contains all your achievements, awards, associations, companies you have worked for, promotions you gained, and innovative things that you have done. If you don't, then there are plenty of other people on LinkedIn who a headhunter can move onto that will show all their achievements and give reasons why they should be picked because of the way that they have communicated their personal brand on LinkedIn. No keywords and you won't even get found in the first place.
In summary, you are in charge of your own personal branding in 2016. If you wish to achieve great things in the business world LinkedIn is the first place that this starts. If you don't look after your own personal brand, you are more likely to fail in your ambitions and your competitors are more likely to win. If you do you are more likely to win and succeed in your business objectives, whatever they are.
Don't forget that you get the same space on LinkedIn as Richard Branson or Bill Gates, your company gets the same space as Google or Apple. It's up to you to make that space work effectively for you and rise above the competition. Anyone can do it. You can too. Good Luck with achieving your business objectives in 2016. Happy New Personal Brand!