Are you looking to stand out in the tech industry and attract new opportunities? Do you want to learn how to improve your personal social media presence to explore new tech jobs or build authentic relationships in the tech community?
Whether your goal is to start a business, get hired at a fast-growing tech company, or attract the best talent, building a strong personal brand is essential.
You may be wondering: What is personal brand?
Personal branding is the process of creating and managing your reputation, image, and identity in the professional world. It involves defining what makes you unique and valuable, and promoting this to others. Learning how to get your name out there on social media can be an absolute game changer.
Whether you like it or not, everyone has a personal brand. The best time to take control of yours is today, and you can use this guide to develop a personal branding strategy.
A strong personal brand can help you differentiate yourself from others in your field and showcase your value to potential employers or clients. Putting stock in personal branding activities can be a key driver in your career.
This doesn’t mean you have to start posting on LinkedIn 10 times a day and vlogging about your life. You can build a strong personal brand without altering your daily life. There are people in your community that want to cheer for you and support you. It’s difficult for them to do that when they don’t know what you are up to. Additionally, there are many strangers out there that will come across you on the internet. Positioning yourself as an expert can help make a great digital first impression.
There are many different types of personal branding, so we asked leaders in the tech community for their best tips on how to build your personal brand at work. We collected 25 personal brand examples for leaders from the Powderkeg community.
Here is our personal branding guide from leaders across the Powderkeg community for creating a personal brand identity:
1. Be Real, Honest and Open
Authenticity: any brand, personal or corporate is built on trust. We know from our own research that trust is the #1 motivator for today’s donors to give to charitable causes, and it’s also a powerful influencer for today’s consumers. Trust starts with authenticity, and so I strive to create a connection, a meaningful link to our teams, customers, and industry partners. That can mean sharing my confidence, my hopes, and even my concerns. To stand out you need to be honest and open – because being real matters for any brand.
– Steve Johns, CEO at OneCause
2. Build an Emotional Connection
Maya Angelou so aptly said “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Your brand is built on the emotional connection people have with you and knowing how and when you made an impact allows you to examine your power and leverage it consistently going forward.
– Stephanie Murphy, Leadership Consultant at ADVISA
3. Apply to Speak or Moderate Panels at Industry Events
I believe that in-person events and conferences are back in full swing and are a great accelerant for building a personal brand. I would encourage others to apply to speak or moderate panels at as many conferences in your industry as you can.
– Drew Beechler, CEO and Co-founder at Holder
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Candid or Absurd
Because I generally resent the notion that I need a personal brand, I try my best to not try at all. I share observations and data that hits me hard, and I write from my perspective. My presence on LinkedIn is absurd at times, but I get more comments about my inappropriate tagline than I do anything else I share. That tells me people ultimately want what they have always have: a real connection.
– Ryan Brock, Chief Solution Officer at DemandJump
5. Ask Meaningful Questions
Being genuinely curious and caring about others is something that I strive for in relationships. My goal is to move away from making communication transactional and make intentional deposits. There is a strong correlation between relationship building and personal brand. One of the most underrated skills in building relationship and your brand is asking meaningful questions. Doing so honors others and when you listen and remember details, it stands out because it is genuine.
– Jackson Troxel, VP of Sales + Marketing at Multiply Technology
6. Take a Give-First Approach
My strategy has always been to connect and serve. If I can produce content online that others find helpful, network and connect with a give-first approach, and add value to the conversations I am pulled into then I am confident my personal brand will grow.
– Kevin Long, Director of Sales at Groundwork
7. Understand Who You Are
Before you grow or attempt to alter your personal brand, it’s important to understand who you are first. I turned to my network of friends, family, colleagues and clients. I asked basic questions like, “How would you describe me in three words?” and also more complex inquiries like, “What unique competitive advantages do I have that I should be leveraging or developing further to be more?” The experience brought surprising insights, confirmation and confidence that I didn’t expect.
– Stephanie Murphy, Leadership Consultant at ADVISA
8. Share What You Are Up To
I selectively share pics on LinkedIn with no regular cadence. PureInsights is essentially a B2B analytics app in the marketplace for a global CX provider (who happens to be a leader in their category) and our global network includes account execs, solutions consultants, friends and fans. A couple of pics from an event we sponsored will typically go global in a day or two and generate 5-10k impressions. All that for maybe 2 minutes of effort at no extra cost. I aim for quality, not quantity.
– Rick McGlinchey, Co-founder at PureInsights
9. Attend Events and Meet With Your Peers
Positive strides in branding can be made simply through attendance and conversation. Taking the opportunity to attend an event to meet and speak with others in your community or industry will carry you great lengths. Even opening up your calendar to the occasional non-sales call can help.
– Kyle Smith, Founder & CEO at Escalated Solutions
10. Give Value to Encourage Word-of-Mouth Marketing
As with any brand, the most powerful marketing comes from word of mouth. I provide value to my teams through loyalty, integrity, and empowerment, thereby creating an environment that encourages word of mouth marketing for my personal brand.
– Sena Hineline, VP of Marketing at Codelicious
11. Share with Authenticity and Vulnerability
Authenticity is in credibly important, especially for expressing your thoughts and opinions on relevant industry topics. It adds more value to the brand rather than taking away from it because your audience can connect with a real person who is just as human as they are.
The tricky part lies in striking a balance—if you’re sharing things that aren’t relevant or random, it can confuse your audience. They aren’t sure what to do with this information and since your personal brand is tied so closely to that of your business, it could affect the way they perceive your brand too.
12. Craft Your Personal Narrative
Try to tell an interesting, linear story with your personal branding narrative. Stories are easier for employers, recruiters, and peers to understand, especially if networking for business contacts.
Similar to crafting a resume, the stories we tell about ourselves help make our lives more digestible to people who can influence our lives. Curate your story for each audience you want to work with so that you always have your best foot forward in advertising your brand. If you use multiple platforms, compare them to ensure you portray one cohesive, professional narrative.
13. Diversify Your Social Media Platforms
There have been so many instances where I’ve connected with someone in person and when I ask them for their social media accounts to follow and stay in touch, they reply with “I’m only on Instagram” or “I don’t have a Twitter.”
If you are looking to grow your personal brand, you should absolutely diversify your social media presence! Get on the big platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube. It might sound like a lot, but if you create a piece of content once, you can take it and post it across all of your pages. Now, rather than one algorithm working for you, you have several.
Plus, this generates more security. Imagine for a second you spend all of your time growing your audience on one social media site and it gets banned or shut down. The final benefit is credibility! People are more likely to trust someone who is omnipresent and looks like a genuine public figure.
14. Get Featured on Third-Party Blogs and Websites
Attracting the attention of media outlets, bloggers, and brands is a great way to build credibility around your brand. It shows that other people think you’re influential and have something worth sharing, plus it helps you get in front of a larger audience.
What’s more, being published via third parties can help you earn backlinks to your own blog or website. Backlinks build your domain authority, making it easier to rank higher in organic search results. In turn, this allows even more people to find you and experience your personal brand firsthand.
The key is to be strategic about your media placements. Not all mentions and backlinks are created equal, and some may even erode your brand image. Be selective about who publishes you, whether it’s a quote, a feature article, or even just a link to your content.
15. Remember When You Share, You Learn
Develop a series of content related to your personal brand, and share your expertise in Instagram posts, Facebook posts, on your own blog, or as guest posts on partner sites. Try to leverage your personal skills, and offer to help and guide others on platforms like LinkedIn.
This will increase your authority on the issues addressed and will generate credibility. Remember that listening to what people say is also related to growth. And making recommendations about other people is extremely beneficial for building connections and growing your personal brand.
Ricardo Von Groll, Manager, Talentify
16. Ensure Your LinkedIn Profile is Complete and Up-To-Date
Flesh out your LinkedIn profile for maximum effectiveness. LinkedIn is one of the ultimate professional networking tools for meeting new contacts, connecting with former colleagues and managers, and finding new opportunities in your industry.
Fill out as much of your profile as you can with valuable content. It doesn’t have to be packed by any means or overwhelming to readers with your listed accolades. Your profile should be concise, clean, straightforward, and potent. The fuller and more professionally coherent your page is perceived, the easier it will be for you to network and gain novel opportunities. For better or worse, social proof speaks volumes today, so leverage that in your personal branding efforts.
17. Personalize Each Element of Your Brand
Creating an effective personal brand can be challenging, with many strategies. But, for me, bringing a unique touch to each element of your branding strategy enables you to stand out from the crowd, which will build strong personal branding.
An individualized approach gives your identity added meaning and authenticity that people find more credible—plus, it helps them feel secure in their place in reality. Considering maintaining your unique touch on your personal branding emphasizes vital characteristics, it will also make you memorable and trustworthy; this also encourages others to accept themselves as they are. Most importantly, this approach also reinforces the uniqueness that defines you as an individual.
18. Create a Personal Website
Creating a personal brand implies being intentional in how you present yourself. In the increasingly digital world, having a personal digital profile has become a necessity.
One of the first things you should do when building your brand is to build a personal website. This will require you to buy a domain or acquire one to have a unique web name. By obtaining a domain name, you get the chance to be among the Google searches since you will get ranked highly for owning a domain name.
Having professional colleagues that you interact with, typing in your name, and then discovering that you have a ranking on Google is a huge boost to your brand. This immediately implies an immeasurable amount of credibility to your brand.
19. Undertake a Personal SWOT Analysis
If you are looking to have a productive career, work on building your personal brand. The one critical strategy is to know where you stand currently in terms of your personality and where you want to go from there.
Your starting point should undertake a personal SWOT analysis. This exercise will give you an understanding of your strengths and which aspects of your personality you should build upon to succeed. Also, it will enable you to work on overcoming your weaknesses.
In today’s business environment, companies look for specialized niche talents. By building up on your strengths and projecting them on your online persona as part of your brand, you will be recognized in the job market for your specific talents and have a fruitful professional life in that field.
Your personal brand should reflect your strengths. The journey starts with identifying your strengths and building them over time to be a winning bet.
20. Be Consistent
When you’re out to build your personal brand, the first rule is to be visible at all times, so your efforts need to be all about consistency. As a person, you may be prone to short bursts of energy and ideas, but if it’s brand building you’re after, consistent efforts make a lot more headway than erratic appearances.
Your peers, followers, and even industry leaders who may track your efforts must notice your constant presence. First, this helps them know they can rely on you whenever they need your help or input, and second, this also enables you to win their trust because everyone knows that a person who sticks to a consistent plan is always more likely to succeed.
21. Leverage the Power of SEO
Growing a personal brand can be a daunting task, especially when you want to stand out from the millions of other professionals vying for attention in the digital space. One key strategy for building your personal brand is to leverage the power of search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is optimizing your online content, so it appears higher in search engine results. By using the right keywords, optimizing your website, optimizing your content, and building links to your website, you can increase your visibility and build your personal brand.
The key is to be consistent with your SEO efforts. You want to ensure that you optimize your content for the right keywords and that you are regularly updating your content and sharing it on social media. This way, you can ensure that your personal brand is always visible and top-of-mind for potential employers, customers, and followers.
22. Grow Your Personal Brand Through Blogging
In the last 12 months, I’ve attempted to grow my personal brand through blogging. My personal website is booming. I’ve published over 70 articles which bring in thousands of visitors a month.
I’m sure there are many ways to grow your personal brand, although I’ve found blogging on relevant topics to be successful for me. The site brings in new leads, emails, connection requests, and many other opportunities I never expected to receive.
23. Develop Business Cards, a Tried-and-True Method to Share Your Brand
Create business cards to share your contact information and general skills. Using business cards is a classic personal branding strategy that leverages word-of-mouth marketing to get your name out there.
Having a business card is a long-established practice of professional networking. These cards serve as convenient reminders to impress new contacts and showcase your professional legitimacy.
Keep cards clean and easy to read without designing them to be too rudimentary. The material, print, and color design you choose will make your first impressions for many contacts, so be strategic in how you curate your personal brand.
24. Share Videos on TikTok
TikTok has become such a powerful resource for entrepreneurs to build their brands. Because the platform is primarily video content, this medium allows audiences to feel “closer” to the video creators—similar to the feeling of a FaceTime call.
TikTok differs from other social media platforms because it pushes out your content to new people who have never heard of you. It’s an incredible way to get in front of fresh eyes organically. By showing up daily to create videos for your audience, not only can you build trust quickly, cultivate a community, and easily drive a ton of free traffic to your offers.
25. Choose What You Want to Be Known For
Your personal brand serves as a road map for your future and is more than just a representation of who you are today. Understanding your current abilities and competencies is important, but I also think it’s important to evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses because they can help your business grow.
By doing this, you may identify your unique abilities and characteristics and the areas where you need to develop your skills or learn new skills to advance. You can better decide what measures to take to get there by predicting where you want to be in five or ten years and the qualities you want to be renowned for.
Editor’s note: This is an updated version of a blog originally published on January 17, 2023.
We hope these insights and personal branding examples from the community will help you put together your personal branding action plan.
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