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Encompass® Insurance Insights & Articles

Managing Your Personal Brand for Professional Success

Think of personal branding as telling the story of you — how you present and promote yourself to others. When crafted deliberately and thoughtfully, it can be the foundation to help you in your professional career.

Try these tips for creating an authentic, engaging personal brand that showcases your strengths, highlights your individuality and helps grow your business.

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1. Have a focus, know your niche.

Few people are great at everything they do, so define your special area of expertise and build your brand messaging to support that. What makes you different? This includes nailing down your target demographic and understanding the needs, problems and goals of your customers. How are your strengths and skills uniquely qualified to serve them?

Narrowing your focus also helps you avoid career distractions. These may come in the guise of great opportunities that don't really support the growth and evolution of your personal brand. If you use your brand as a sort of decision filter, it can help you choose the tasks, jobs and professional relationships that align with your interests.

If you decide to be the go-to agent in your area for auto insurance coverage or homeowners' policies, carve out your niche and drill down. The more specific and consistent your messaging is, the more you'll stand out in the minds of your customers when they need what you offer.

2. Make trustworthiness and integrity the foundation of everything you do.

Along with cultivating a reputation for being a knowledgeable expert in your field, consistently demonstrate you're a person of impeccable character that others can rely on. Your personal brand should be an authentic manifestation of who you are and who you want to be — a reflection of what you value. Customers will trust you and want to support your business.

Research shows that emotionally engaging with customers is critical to a brand's success. A few of the emotions that have the greatest influence on customer loyalty, or "stickiness," are:

  • Trust
  • Honesty
  • Integrity

Do what you say you'll do. Adopt a code of ethics and walk the talk in every personal and professional interaction you have. Once you've established a strong base of loyal customers, they'll recommend you to family and friends and promote you on their social media networks.

3. Be a visible force for good in your community.

One way to demonstrate your social responsibility is by getting involved in your local community. Take your personal brand on the road and into action, whether it's a warm and friendly personal brand or a no-nonsense, hardworking reputation you're building.

Consider choosing a cause or two that you're passionate about and playing an active volunteer or board member role. Maybe it's building housing for the homeless or improving living conditions at your local animal shelter.

Join the Chamber of Commerce, and explore all the other networking groups and associations available to you. Getting involved in your local community raises your brand awareness, gives others a chance to see you in action, and helps you build a positive reputation among your peers and prospective customers.

4. Polish your social media presence.

In today's highly digitized world, how you present and conduct yourself online is as important as how you behave offline. Your online persona should be an accurate representation of your professional skills and personal values. The world may be watching, so clear, deliberate communications and a unified brand message are vital to your success.

Do you know which of the top social media channels are best for helping you reach your target customer? Not every platform works for every small business. LinkedIn is great for professional networking and positioning yourself as an industry leader. A Facebook business account provides you with advertising tools, in-depth analytics and a host of customization options. Be sure to list links to all your social media pages in a prominent spot on your company's website. Keep all of your profile photos updated and current.

You might find it helpful at some point in the growth of your business to enlist the professional services of a social media manager. Maintaining a vibrant online presence can be time-consuming, and there's a lot to learn. Delegating this role to someone else who can monitor your online reputation, respond to customer reviews, drive engagement and proactively market your products or services frees you up to focus on building your business.

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