Entrepreneurs often put extensive time, energy, and effort into building their company’s brand on social media. That’s important, but there’s another component to branding that can help enhance your company’s reputation: personal branding.

Entrepreneurs often put extensive time, energy, and effort into building their company’s brand on social media. That’s important, but there’s another component to branding that can help enhance your company’s reputation: personal branding.

What Is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is essentially the ongoing efforts to market yourself and create a consistent image and strong reputation among peers, the public, customers, and vendors. Your personal brand on social media not only affects how people view you as an individual, but also how they perceive your business.

Why Is It So Important?
Some benefits of personal branding include:

● More awareness of your professional expertise and your business’s capabilities.

● More opportunities to connect with potential customers. (People are often more likely to follow and interact with other people on social media than with brands.)

● Online word of mouth about your company as people share your social media content.

Tips for Strengthening Your Personal Brand on Social Media
Make sure you're making the best use of your time by choosing the right social media platforms.
Not every social media channel will be effective for building meaningful connections. Consider where your prospective customers, existing customers, and other people and companies in your industry spend their time online. For example, if you operate an interior design business, social media platforms like Instagram or Pinterest—which center on sharing images—may give you ample opportunities to showcase your knowledge and skills. But if you're a business consultant, you might not find them as valuable.

Because of its direct purpose to connect business professionals with other business professionals, LinkedIn is almost always a worthwhile channel for entrepreneurs in all industries.

Complete Your profiles.
On whatever social media channels you set up accounts, complete your profile information, so people know who you are, how to reach you, what you do, what business you run and what products and services it provides. Regularly review your social profiles to make sure they're consistent and up to date.

Be active and engaged.
Take the initiative to connect with people with whom you want to forge a professional relationship—potential customers, existing customers, vendors, community leaders, industry influencers, etc.

Also, regularly share content that you or your company creates (e.g., blog posts, videos, etc.) as well as relevant content by other reputable people and organizations in your industry. Doing so will help demonstrate your expertise and show that you’re on top of what’s happening. And don’t shy away from showing your personality. If you’re genuine and engaging, people will find your online presence more memorable and feel more inclined to interact with you.

Use your common sense.
Some topics are almost always no-nos when you want to gain professional connections and earn their respect and trust. Yes, you can post whatever you want, but that doesn't mean you should. Making political rants, using questionable humor, or touching some other nerve could poorly reflect on your professional reputation. So think before you post.

Improving your personal brand on social media can help boost the visibility of your business and lead to new customers and new partnerships. If you need guidance on how to create a stronger personal brand or discuss any other aspect of marketing, contact SCORE to talk with a business mentor. SCORE mentoring costs nothing, and SCORE volunteers have experience and expertise in all facets of starting and running a business.

You’ll find a wealth of small business-related information, resources, and training, plus free, confidential counseling from more than 12,000 business experts. For more information about contacting a mentor or volunteering contact the SCORE Lake of the Ozarks Chapter at www.LakeoftheOzarks.SCORE.org, by e-mail at admin.0493@scorevolunteer.org or call 573-346-5441. Serving Mid-Missouri with offices in the Lake of the Ozarks, Columbia, Jefferson City and Lebanon.