Executive branding is more important than ever before, particularly for leaders of B2B-focused companies. Here are some tips and tricks on how to establish yourself as a leading voice within your space.
Over the past decade or so, the rise of the internet and social media has completely upended most traditional corporate branding paradigms — including the notion that executives can lurk in the shadows while their sales, advertising, and marketing teams act as the collective face of their companies.
In an era of unprecedented transparency and emphasis on the individual, it’s no longer enough to simply highlight organizational values and success stories. Prospective clients, partners, and investors want to get to know (i.e., trust) the leaders of the companies they do business with.
If you and the other executives at your company aren’t already investing real resources into developing your respective personal brands, you’re putting yourself at a serious competitive disadvantage. The marketing world has been buzzing about the importance of executive branding for years now, which means that many of your direct competitors are likely already a few steps ahead.
The good news is that building your personal brand is a relatively easy thing to do. Here are three simple steps you can take to bolster your online visibility and reputation in a relatively short period of time.
1. Renovate Your Digital Real Estate
The first step is obvious, but crucial: you need to optimize all of your digital profile listings — or, in simpler terms, you need to make yourself look good online.
LinkedIn is a great place to start. Spend some time cleaning up and/or building out your profile, adding new connections, and joining groups that are relevant to your industry.
Beef up your personal bios, both both on social media and the company website. The objective here is not only establishing credibility, but also making a personal connection. The style and tone should align with your broader organizational culture and values.
Lastly, if it’s been a few years (or longer!) since your last set of headshots, it’s probably time for an update. I recommend investing in a professional service or photographer. This will ensure you get the proper dimensions and resolutions for all social platforms and your website.
2. Put Yourself Out There
You may already be publishing articles on your company blog as part of your broader marketing strategy; however, when it comes to personal branding, the best way to increase your visibility and credibility among a new audience is to publish articles on external trade publications relevant to your industry.
While this may sound like a difficult thing to do — particularly if you don’t have an existing body of work to point to — it’s actually easier than you might think. Just be realistic and patient — in other words, you’re probably not going to make the front page of Forbes on your first go.
Start small. Look for publications in your space that are more likely to accept your work right off the bat than, say, a Fortune or an INC.com. After you’ve successfully placed half a dozen articles, you’ll have a body of work to point to, which means you can start going after higher-hanging fruit.
3. Be Part of the Conversation
Personal branding isn’t just about visibility — it’s also about being active on a day-to-day basis. Social media is one of the best tools you have at your disposal when it comes to making new connections, establishing yourself as a thought leader, and generally just being a part of the conversation.
At a minimum, you should be posting on a daily basis. Sharing things like interesting articles, helpful tips and tricks, and company news/success stories helps grow your followership and establish you as a relevant and interesting voice within your space.
Similarly, engaging with other social media users — whether it’s a retweet, a DM, a shoutout, or even just a “like” — is a great way to gain more exposure and start new, potentially fruitful conversations.