How do you create a brand for yourself and your business online if you’re in a non-techy field like real estate?
Just ask Richard Nacht, CEO of Blogging Systems Group who in a matter of months after founding his company in 2005, got it cited in a major real estate report as a Top 10 Trendsetter alongside Google and other household names. Nacht’s company initially provided blog technology to real estate firms but has since evolved to service other industries as well, including automotive and financial services, and is currently successfully providing social networking platforms to Fortune 500 companies like Wachovia and Toyota, which sponsor social networking career sites for prospective employees.. Since starting his company, Nacht, an Inc. 500 honoree, co-wrote a book on blogging for realtors titled Realty Blogging founded Nacht Social Media Consulting, became a Senior Fellow and Chairman of the Education Committee for the Society for New Communications Research…and on and on. Not bad for an over-achiever who has law and business degrees and is currently studying for his doctorate.
A maestro at using Web 2.0 tools, he has successfully used email blasts, online video and blogging tools, podcasts, webinars, IM and social networking to talk about his work or discuss an industry topic.. He has also shrewdly partnered with JWT, TMP, Luxury Portfolio and others to sell his products to their clients and members. And he has employed LinkedIn, Facebook and XING for networking with peers, prospects and clients.
Behind Nacht’s success is a key realization shared by other successful personal branders: Building his own brand goes hand and hand with building his company’s brand.
“Understanding the need to be recognized as an industry expert, I went to great lengths early on to build a knowledge base that would establish myself as the foremost thought leader in the industry on effective blog marketing,” says Nacht. Recognizing that you don’t get very far simply by tooting your own horn, Nacht says, “I understood that if you are perceived as someone willing to openly share information and enjoy educating your market you gain credibility and trust. The result: When someone needs your skill set, people will come back to you to buy products and services.”
Here is some advice from Nacht on creating your personal brand:
Don’t brag. Don’t just promote yourself but develop credibility and showcase your knowledge as an industry expert. The key is to develop social capital that will have extraordinary value in the long run.
Be passionate about your topic.
Know what you don’t know and educate yourself in those areas so you don’t become a dinosaur.
Keep learning. Nacht hasn’t stopped since getting his law degree and MBA. Currently studying in the doctoral program at the International School of Management in Paris, he’s writing his dissertation on the topic of online social media and networking. “I’m not looking to change careers but rather how to improve and expand on what I’m doing now.” Nacht says he “learns by participating and challenging himself.” By taking a Chair position or becoming a contributor to a publication like Personal Branding Magazine, he puts himself in a position where he is required to stay on top of emerging trends.
Don’t be over-protective of your own business knowledge. You don’t have to worry about a scarcity of opportunity. There is so much business available in the online space that no one can service the entire market. Be a willing participant in the business community.
Be prepared for resistance. You may be so far ahead of the curve that people don’t quite get what you’re saying. Continue to communicate, educate and share and, provided your services are useful, over time valid concepts will resonate with those who have been paying attention. And, if someone doesn’t “get it,” just move on.
Wendy Marx, Personal Branding and Public Relations, Marx Communications, Inc.