When I first started my business, I used to focus solely on getting amazing results for my clients.  It’s only as I’ve transitioned to an online business model that I realize the importance of creating a strong online identity for myself and my business.  Research shows that people have to consume at least 7 hours of your content before they feel they have a bond with you. This can come in a variety of forms including blog posts, videos, podcast interviews or tweets.

However, most people don’t take the time to evaluate how they show up online and what they want to be known for. Here are five personal branding mistakes to avoid in 2018.

1. Being invisible – No matter how great you are, it means nothing if no-one knows who you are. A common question I get asked by the CEOs I work with is: ‘Do I have to be the face of the company?’ More often than not, the answer is yes. People do business with people. It’s important to get comfortable sharing your mission with the world.  Facebook Live and LinkedIn has made it much easier to share engaging content and build an engaged community through video.

2. Failing to build your network – Your network is your net worth. Those who progress up the corporate ladder or gain funding to start a new venture, do so from having nurtured the right relationships. All the industry leaders I work with have cultivated a strong network. As convenient as the online world is, the power of in-person chemistry is far greater and is the quickest way to develop a deep and meaningful relationship. Nana Darko, Oxford University graduate and city lawyer shares in The Personal Brand Bible for Ambitious Women how the junior lawyers at her law firm weren’t necessarily the best at their job, they were just ‘present’ in any given situation and had cultivated a solid network. 

3. Not sharing your story – Facts tell, but stories sell. Tell your story by focusing on the experiences that lead you to where you are today. This will endear you to others and help build the all important ‘know, like and trust’ factor. One of my clients, quit her unsatisfying job while 13 weeks pregnant; knowing that her baby was on the way incentivized her to go all in to make her business a success. She has since gone on to launch two six figure businesses in two years, while working from home raising her children. It’s an incredible story. I encourage her to share the challenges she’s overcome as well as her wins, because this is a key part of her personal brand. People often gloss over their struggles thinking they have to appear ‘perfect’, when in actual fact the opposite is true. Being relatable through storytelling is more enduring. It’s the only way people will really get to know the real you.

4. Being inconsistent – “While you’re building your business, you need to be everywhere your audience turns. Your presence needs to be undeniable,” says Tonya Rapley, Founder and CEO of MyFabFinance.com in The Personal Brand Bible for Ambitious Women. She created a content schedule and posted on social media everyday so that her audience would become familiar with her. Being consistent also means having the same look and feel across social media channels.  The online world is noisy, with competitors sprouting up daily, so it’s important to stand out among the crowd. A key way to do this is through planning ahead, so you’ve a bank of varied content to share consistently across your platforms. 

5. Not creating a digital footprint – You are who Google says you are. If you want to position yourself as an expert, you need to create an online presence. I’m often surprised by the number of people I come across who want to get booked for speaking engagements or become seen as a thought leader, but don’t use social media or even have a professional looking website. Hire an expert who can help you create a simple website or a consultant who understands the long term goals of your business. A personal website showcasing your portfolio of work should form a key part of your online brand.

Whatever your professional and personal goals in 2018, I guarantee those who will have the most lucrative opportunities presented to them would have taken the time to become known for their expertise.

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