The last couple of decades have been transformational with respect to communication, and especially mass communication. Today, the tools to reach a mass audience are easily available and accessible and anyone can instantly put forth their voice and views before the world by simply picking up their smartphones.
This is an environment for established thought leaders to thrive, and for new thought leaders to emerge and shine in their own light.
This new environment has also brought terms like personal brand to the fore. Today, a simple google search can reveal the measure of an individual and bring you face to face with their opinions and their virtual persona. In a world where digital art is being sold for millions of dollars and conversations revolve around the emergence of a metaverse, the digital persona is increasingly eclipsing the real.
What message is your personal brand conveying? Is your virtual persona one of credibility, trust and authority is your specific field? Or are you non-existence in the minds of your audience?
What do personal credibility and personal brand really mean and what is the difference between them?
What is Personal Credibility?
Personal credibility consists of values like honesty, integrity, trust, and other personal characteristics that define you as a person. Professional credibility encompasses your education, experience, performance, and demonstrated professional work history and progression.
Credibility is like trust, it takes a long time to build it and it can be lost in a moment. People want to believe that their leaders are the right people to follow, and clients want to do business with someone with established credibility.
What is a Personal Brand?
Personal branding is the practice of creating a brand around a person rather than (or alongside) a business entity. Individuals like Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Barack Obama are all examples of personal brands. However, they are not alone.
With the democratization of thought leadership, personal branding has been brought to the reach of the masses, and having a personal brand is helping business professionals jump ahead in their careers by positioning themselves as an expert within their industry.
By developing a personal brand, a person can grow their social following to help them secure a better job, sell more products in their business, and drive more opportunities in their career.
What is the Difference Between Credibility & Brand?
Personal credibility and personal brand are very similar, however, they are not quite the same. Credibility stems from empathy and honesty while a personal brand stems from knowledge and information in a particular field. When they meet together in the persona of a single individual, that is when true thought leaders are born.
Take the time to develop an accurate and trustworthy personal brand because it will help you become known for what you excel at, differentiate you from your peers showing you as an expert in your field. Here are some tips that can help you build a personal brand, and complement it with personal credibility.
Practice What You Preach
It goes without saying that to build credibility in your personal brand, you must be honest. You can’t establish yourself as a credible leader if you aren’t willing to walk the talk.
Rather than just saying words that you THINK will make you trustworthy, make it a common practice to ACTUALLY run them in your personal life and business.
Keep all your communication with your audience and clients genuine and honest as this will help you establish trustworthiness through your personal brand.
Utilize Social Media
Marketers and personal brand experts utilizing social media have become a focal point for creating brand credibility and awareness online.
But just being on social media is not enough to build credibility. Below are some things to keep in mind when developing trustworthiness with your followers:
- Post consistently across all channels to stay on top of your follower’s minds
- Create a blog and fill it with well-researched, in-depth, and informative articles. Also, share this content with your followers on social media
- Guest blog to increase your content output and create credibility through collaboration
- Make visual branding a priority across all channels to encourage cohesiveness throughout your brand
- Interact with your followers, answer specific questions and listen to their needs, be quick to provide answers, and show that you know your stuff
- Own your mistakes as publicly as you own your successes
Give Speeches & Presentations
No matter which industry you are in, there will come a time where you will need to speak in front of people. Personal brand experts master the art of public speaking, and leverage it to teach and share their expert knowledge with the world.
Whether you are an avid speaker or have yet to book your first gig, you must make speaking in front of an audience a regular thing if you want to build trustworthiness.
To be good at giving public speeches or presentations, you need to practice, practice, and practice some more. Don’t be afraid to start small by taking up local speaking gigs in your community.
You can join a meetup or an improv club to receive low-risk opportunities to improve your speaking skills. If you are not ready to make the jump into the stage world, consider starting a podcast or being a guest speaker in one. This will introduce you to other people in your industry and let listeners know about you.
Polish Your Content Marketing Strategy
The best way to build credibility over time is to provide top-tier products, information, and great customer service.
Some examples of great content marketing include:
- Themed Blog Posts
- News Articles
- Informative How-to Videos
It is your job to come up with creative, original ideas that speak to your audience. Solve their mico-problems for them. When you get asked questions by leads, prospects, and clients, turn each answer into a piece of content. There is a high chance that if one of your customers is struggling with a particular problem, others are as well.
Use customer and client testimonials in your content marketing strategy to ensure influence in your credibility and trustworthiness with your audience. You can also ask previous clients if they will be willing to write or record a small video testimonial for you.
Display their experience with you on your socials, website, and sales videos.
Teach What You Know
The best leaders are also great teachers.
There is no better way to introduce your expertise to the world than by teaching something useful while creating an environment for your followers to get to know you. Teaching a workshop or class may sound scary but truthfully many places in your local community might love to hear what you have to say.
However, when you teach live, you have to prepare and create content ahead of time (that you can re-purpose onto your social channels later) allowing you to bring your best content forward and stimulate intimate relationships that may turn into brand advocates in the future.
Building a personal brand can catapult your business to new heights, and by following the above tips, you help increase your chances of success in your personal and professional life. I know it can be scary to put yourself out there but the reward is much greater compared to the risk, and the entire process will also help mould you into a true leader.
You have the power to really make an impact on the world. With the right mindset, a well-planned approach, and some hard work you can turn your online presence into a client and media attraction magnet.
Your legacy lies in your hand.