In Personal Branding, Relationships Are Key

As you know, personal branding is all about building credibility, visibility, and establishing yourself as an expert in your field. But there is another element of personal branding which is often overlooked, and that is relationships.

In fact, I would go as far as to say that personal branding that doesn’t create and nurture relationships is almost useless. Creating a relationship with a target customer often turns him or her into a prospect, and nurturing that relationship can turn the prospect into a customer. Strong relationships with referral sources often lead directly to more great prospects. And the relationships you nurture with colleagues can be an invaluable source of knowledge and ideas. So how can you make sure that relationships remain a priority as you run your branding campaign? Below are several suggestions.

1) Add a personal touch your social media presence.  If you follow me on Twitter (@NickNanton), you’ll see that in addition to work-related posts, I also share pictures of my family and keep my followers updated on my latest adventures, work-related or not. While you shouldn’t feel pressured to share more than you are comfortable with, showing your personal side on social media allows your audience to feel like they truly know you.

2) Actively seek relationships.  Look, I understand the demands on your time. I’m in the same boat--I’m always being pulled in four different directions. And it’s great to be busy--but the danger is that our lack of time can easily cause us to neglect relationships. Take advantage of every opportunity you get to create a new relationship, even if the individual doesn’t provide an obvious benefit to you. You’ll be surprised how often a relationship turns out to be more valuable than you would have expected.

3) Be genuine.  As long as you remain true to yourself and your values, and as long as you are committed to creating and nurturing relationships, you won’t have a problem building them! Just remember that a relationship can’t be faked--so be real. You don’t have to force yourself to be smart, funny, or charming...just be you!

Focusing on relationships is a great way to leverage the power your personal branding efforts. Unfortunately, many business owners are so busy running and marketing their business that they fail to take advantage of them. Don’t make that mistake--remember that relationships are the key to growing a strong business!  

JW Dicks (@jwdicks) & Nick Nanton (@nicknanton) are best-selling authors who consult for small- and medium-sized businesses on how to build their business through Personality Driven Marketing, Personal Brand Positioning, Guaranteed Media, and Mining Hidden Business Assets. They offer free articles, white papers, and case studies at their website. Jack and Nick have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek, FastCompany.com, and many more media outlets. 

[Image: Flickr user www.courtneycarmody.com]

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1 Comments

  • Mike McDonald

    It's funny how averse some people are to crossing that line between personal and professional language, posts, tweets, photo sharing, etc. And yet the very goal of professional networking is to build relationships, close ones, so that people feel comfortable enough with you to do business with you. 

    You hit the nail on the head, guys. I'd go so far as to say that not only are the personal things we share with our professional contacts important for building your personal brand, they're critical in forging those relationships that close deals. My clients may not want to see daily tweets from me containing photos of my son learning how to walk, but including these personal details on occasion is helpful in nurturing those all-important relationships. 

    Some folks don't feel comfortable sharing personal info with professional contacts online, and it's understandable. We were conditioned for years to be wary of sharing too much online. And as it relates to professional networking, keeping it strictly professional was the way to go. Now I think things are different, and we should be more comfortable sharing those occasional family anecdotes with current and prospective clients online as we would in person. It's common for us to shoot the breeze about our home lives with clients face-to-face, so why not do the same online and help our clients get to know us better through those channels?