Personal Branding: Building Your Online Platform

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Blogging & social media management
to develop and promote thought leadership

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One of the most exciting developments in the career of an entrepreneur is making the conversion from business owner to thought leader. And there is a significant difference. While a business owner is usually an expert in his or her field, a thought leader rises to the top of a crowded space to emerge as a driving voice. Thought leaders are in tune with the current conversations and best practices in their industries; but they are also at the helm of the discussion, gently steering and influencing topics, issues, and strategic direction.

Our clientele is packed with successful entrepreneurs who have transitioned beyond the identity of their companies and emerged as prominent influencers in such diverse topics as leadership, workplace spirituality, company culture, women entrepreneurship, team building, and social entrepreneurship. They have also positioned themselves as prominent champions of global humanitarian causes and global social issues. Having built multimillion-dollar businesses, many of these amazing people have proven themselves as capable executives and decision-makers; but it’s their passion, knowledge, and desire to effect change that make them credible thought leaders.

Building an online platform is one of the most effective and efficient methods of developing and promoting your status as a thought leader. Your online platform could include a personal website, blog, book, third-party sites, and strong social media presence.

Before embarking on the journey to expand your influence, you first need to lay the groundwork. Are you at the point in your career where you want to grow beyond your identity as a business owner and emerge as a thought leader? Here is your roadmap:

Understand and Clearly Define Your Personal Brand

How are you perceived in your company and in your industry? Your leadership style, achievements, and philosophy shape your image and your brand. Tap into the unique qualities you possess and the emotions you evoke to shape your thought leader persona. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, as you have already established a track record and laid the groundwork for your personal brand. Your brand is something that already exists as a result of your efforts, relationships, work ethic, beliefs, actions, and style.

Craft Your Messaging

What is your overall mission and message? What outcomes do you want to influence? Who do you want to help? While you may have multiple passions, objectives, and skill sets, you need to find focus. Spreading yourself too thin will dilute your message and dampen your overall impact. When your message has one underlying, consistent theme, you are better able to promote your cause and influence change. While it is acceptable to share content in related subjects, the theme, tone, and content of your messaging must relate to your core subject.

This doesn’t mean that you need to be dry and stuffy. Your brand should reflect your personality and provide a more three-dimensional representation of who you are. People relate to people who are authentic, personable, and passionate.

(Need some help gaining clarity on your thought leadership message?  Our Thought Leader social media program might be perfect for you.)

Create Your Home Base

Your personal brand is a separate entity from your company brand; and, as such, it needs to have its own home, such as a personal website. Here, followers and visitors can learn more about your causes, passions, philosophies, projects, causes, and missions.

Your home base needs to be a powerful representation of your point of view, supported by blog content and a call-to-action that enables website visitors to increase their participation in your mission or cause. Your call-to-action can be a newsletter signup, event registration, ebook download, webinar/podcast download, or other program or service.

The most important part of your home base is your blog page. Providing fresh, relevant content keeps you at the forefront of your industry’s trends and conversations, and gives you great fodder for your ongoing social media campaign.

While a personal website offers the most flexibility and impact, many thought leaders are turning to LinkedIn as their home base. With a generous profile summary (2,000 characters), blog functionality, and the ability to participate in professional groups, LinkedIn provides much of the same benefits as a personal website when it comes to promoting thought leadership.

Launch Your Social Media Campaign

With an understanding of your personal brand, a well-crafted message, a robust home base, and quality blog content, you are ready to share your brilliance with the world via social media. With so many social media networks, it is easy to become overwhelmed in trying to maintain a strong presence. The key is to identify the networks that work best for you and ignore the others.

Most of our clients gravitate to Twitter as their main platform because of how easy it is to build a strong following, spark engagement, get noticed by influencers, and generate website traffic. LinkedIn is another excellent network if your message is targeted toward the business community. And if your brand has a strong visual component, Instagram is a great place to get noticed.

Monetizing Your Personal Brand

While some thought leaders are focused solely on increasing awareness for their missions, a majority of these influencers want to leverage their thought leadership and create a new revenue stream. One of the best ways to achieve both goals is to author a book that takes readers through your journey and provides inspiration, strategies, and a pathway to take action.

Many thought leaders develop programs, offer coaching or consulting services, create a membership site, or develop products to generate an income source. Those who build up a strong following can also leverage their influence and serve as a brand ambassador or generate endorsement opportunities. Also, thought leaders use their status to land media interviews, television appearances, and speaking engagements.

Take the Next Step

Once you fully establish yourself as a thought leader, the opportunities are limitless. One of the most exciting aspects of our social media agency is helping aspiring, emerging, or existing thought leaders develop or enhance their online platforms.

Are you ready to take your thought leadership to the next level? We would love to help you start your journey. Contact us here to learn more.

 

By | 2017-05-23T03:47:16+00:00 May 14th, 2015|

About the Author:

Robert Mandelberg is the co-founder and President of Streambank Media, LLC. He specializes in crafting high-impact social media strategies for entrepreneurs, executives, thought leaders, and small businesses. Follow Robert on Twitter @StreambankMedia or connect with him on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robertmandelberg

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