Look around at the C-suite executives in your field and you’ll find certain individuals getting all the attention. Whether it be the media, business communities, or clients, they are all wanting to be associated with these people—and by extension, their company brands.
How are they getting all that industry fame? Are these executives much more knowledgeable than you?
The answer is no.
They are just like the rest of us in the C-suite position—great leaders with the technical know-how to manage the business. But what sets them apart is their courage to charter what many executives fear the most: getting personal on social media.
While many executives are still hesitant about developing their personal brands online, these individuals have fully embarked on the task. Now, they have risen to national prominence.
If you want to share the same authority that these industry stars are enjoying, it’s time to consider building your personal brand. In this guide, we’ll help you develop a personal branding strategy that can bump your career to the next level.
Why Executives Should Develop Their Personal Branding
Before we proceed with the strategy, first, I want to emphasize one vital element you will need to see you through your personal branding journey. It’s persistence.
Developing your personal brand comes with challenges along the way. That’s why it’s important that you remain persistent and keep moving forward. You never know what will be the springboard that gets others to read, follow, and ultimately use your products or services.
To fuel this persistence, let’s take a peek at what awaits you at the end of this journey. Here, discover the competitive advantage of personal branding for executives like you:
A strong personal brand helps build your authority. When people see you as an expert in your field, you get to stand out from the crowd. You get more visibility and become the go-to person when it comes to issues related to your area of expertise.
Highly-visible experts can build their network and connect with people. They get the chance to build valuable partnerships with fellow experts. This opens up opportunities for both parties to strengthen their respective businesses.
With a strong personal brand, you attract more quality investors and clients. People are naturally drawn to experts to solve their problems. And when you build your reputation as an expert, you gain an advantage over your competitors.
Having a well-established executive brand allows you to charge premium prices for your products and services. People are more willing to pay extra for experts they believe in.
Executives who position themselves as thought leaders also benefit the companies they work for. When people trust you, it often creates a halo effect that brings potential customers to your organization.
Creating a strong personal brand on social media can launch your career to new heights. And when you have the determination to push through, all your efforts will pay off soon.
How to Develop a Strong Executive Personal Brand
Now that you know the benefits of personal branding for executives, it’s time to work on your reputation. Below, discover how you can develop a personal branding strategy that can build your credibility as an expert in your field.
Define your brand
As an executive, you must already be an expert in something. Narrow down that expertise and define the problem you can solve. This will become the foundation of your brand message that will be used on social media, website, and profiles.
Also, when defining your personal brand, remember that you have to be authentic. It should reflect your skills, knowledge, passions, values, and beliefs. Find something that makes you unique and focus your message on that.
Identify your target audience
Whose problem are you going to solve? Who are you addressing with your content? Don’t make the mistake of appealing to everyone. Define the people who will benefit the most from what you will offer. The secret here is to understand your audience.
To do this, look for similarities among your audience. For executives aiming to build a community, your audience may have similar professions, income, goals, dreams, and pain points. Profile your audience using the information you will gather.
Set up your social media profiles
Depending on your target audience, choose the most relevant platform for you. Find out where your audience spends their time the most and establish your presence there.
Being a professional, LinkedIn should be your primary social media platform.
Then, set up your profiles with credibility-boosting elements such as your credentials, accomplishments, and awards. Also, join active groups that are frequented by people in your target audience.
Remember, you have to be social on social media!
The best way to attract new followers is to actually connect and help others by sharing your expertise. If you use the platform not just for your own benefit and work to build your presence, you can accomplish your goals.
Here is an example of what happens when you use and interact with others on the social platforms like LinkedIn.
Have an optimized website
Aside from your social media profiles, a website also plays a vital role in building your personal brand. While social media channels are crucial, you don’t own or control these platforms. On the contrary, a website is something you owned and have control with.
For your audience to find your website, you should also make sure that it is well-optimized for search engines. SEO is a great way to be visible and to drive traffic to your website.
Develop a content strategy
A well-established executive brand is strongly rooted in content. To succeed in this task, don’t just create content that sells your products or services. Instead, create content that will help solve your audience’s problems.
Developing a content calendar helps you focus on quality and consistent content. To fill up the calendar, start by listing all potential topics that would be helpful to your following. Then, decide which type of content will appeal the most to them (i.e., text, articles, videos, infographics, podcasts, case studies, etc.)
Develop an outreach strategy
Don’t just stop after publishing your content. You also have to support it with an effective outreach strategy to reach more people. For this step, email marketing is a critical tool for your success.
Email marketing lets you interact with customers on a one-on-one basis. This means you have the chance to introduce who you are and make an impact on those who have subscribed to your newsletter. If you know how to use email marketing, it can help paint a personal branding that wins a loyal following.
Monitor your progress
How do you know if your personal branding strategy is working? You have to measure your progress with key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs let you see what works for your brand and informs you when to adjust your strategy.
Some important metrics include website traffic, branded search, mentions, social reach, and feedback. Monitor your growth and the people’s perception of you to ensure your personal branding is headed in the right direction.
Once you have done all the above steps, you’re ready to launch your personal branding strategy. Almost. Before you do, we’ll discuss some additional steps you may consider to strengthen your executive branding.
Reinforcing Your Personal Brand
By now, you have learned the importance of personal branding for executives like you. Also, you have learned the steps needed to start building your executive brand on social media.
But it doesn’t stop there.
If you want to really make it out there, you need to take extra steps and branch out from just being an executive. Here’s how some highly-visible experts do it.
Based on a study by Hinge Marketing, the top marketing tools that have the greatest impact on an individual’s personal brand are:
Author a bookCheck some of the well-branded CEOs, CFOs, COOs, and CIOs in your industry. Chances are, most of them have written at least one book that addresses their area of expertise. This goes to show that writing a book can effectively demonstrate your knowledge in the field. Whether you write it yourself or hire a ghostwriter, authoring a book is critical to boost your credibility and build visibility.
Get speaking engagementsIf you want to be known in your field, it’s time to build your speaking resume. The best-known professionals speak frequently at national conferences and trade shows to share their knowledge. When they do speak in front of a large audience, they get to build their reputation. There are many ways to get your voice to be heard out there. You can start by speaking with small groups, say, the local chapter of your professional association. Also, you may try starting a podcast to discuss the know-how of your industry.
Maintain a blogWhile publishing a book can significantly boost your credibility, it is no easy task. If you don’t feel like taking on the job right now, practice honing your writing skills first by keeping a blog. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate your expertise. It is an essential tool to share your knowledge and build a loyal following. So, don’t forget to add a blog when you create or update your website. What can we take away from these activities? Executives must branch out from their existing roles to improve their personal branding. To do this, you need to learn certain skills along the way, starting from the essential writing, public speaking, and blogging. Most importantly, you have to become not just an executive who is an expert in your field. You also have to assume the role of a teacher. You see, industry leaders have built their reputation around their ability to simplify technical knowledge into easy-to-understand materials. And the most successful executive personal brands dedicate their time to educating their audience. So, to be a thought leader, you have to be an excellent teacher first.
Executive Branding ExamplesTo cap this off, let’s take a look at two notable executive brandings that are winning today. We hope their success inspires you to start your journey to personal branding soon.
Content is a vital piece of a successful personal brand, and we can’t emphasize that enough. When we talk about great content, Neil Patel is a name that comes to the top of our minds.
Neil Patel is a household name in digital marketing, co-founding many of the well-known digital marketing agencies today. With his thorough and well-researched content, he’s an excellent example of how content can make or break your personal branding. In his case, his hard work creating useful and honest content around marketing worked in his favor.