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 ]