Be­ing the face of your busi­ness can save mar­ket­ing ex­penses and help build a re­la­tion­ship with cus­tomers

The National - News - - BUSINESS - MANAR AL HINAI

If you are the face of your busi­ness, and you haven’t been com­mit­ted to build­ing your per­sonal brand, then start­ing to­mor­row is the per­fect time to be­gin. I per­son­ally lever­aged my per­sonal brand to ex­pand­ing my busi­ness, thus avoid­ing tak­ing out busi­ness loans, or tak­ing on busi­ness part­ners.

When you ex­e­cute per­sonal brand­ing prop­erly, not only will you be able to at­tract clients, but you will also es­tab­lish your­self as an au­thor­ity fig­ure, and an ex­pert in your field. Here are some tips I’ve per­son­ally found to be ex­tremely use­ful when build­ing my own per­sonal brand:

Cre­ate a per­sonal web­site

When cus­tomers want to find out more about you, the first thing they will do is Google you. Hav­ing a web­site will au­to­mat­i­cally be per­ceived as pro­fes­sional and gives you au­thor­ity. It doesn’t have to be com­plex, and you do not need a web de­vel­oper to help you build one. Plat­forms such as Wix and Word­press pro­vide you with ready tem­plates, and an op­tion to pur­chase a do­main (prefer­ably one with your name), and you can have a web­site up and run­ning in a day.

Start with a sim­ple web­site that has an “About” and “Con­tact” page. Add a pro­fes­sion­ally-taken por­trait pho­to­graph. I would highly rec­om­mend to add a blog page where you would share con­tent about your field. It doesn’t have to be lengthy, but it is bet­ter if you post reg­u­larly as well. Make sure you add your web­site ad­dress to your so­cial me­dia ac­counts and on your busi­ness cards. Don’t for­get to link your blog posts to your so­cial me­dia ac­counts so that your posts are au­to­mat­i­cally shared on them.

Have a so­cial me­dia pres­ence

Blogs are a huge suc­cess be­cause peo­ple like to get per­sonal, and love to see the lives of peo­ple they look up to. If you are not on so­cial me­dia, then be there for your busi­ness’s sake. That, in ad­di­tion to your web­site, will be where peo­ple will be look­ing to find out more about you.

Plat­forms such as Face­book and In­sta­gram are great to share vis­ual con­tents on. Con­sider them a place to doc­u­ment your en­tre­pre­neur­ial jour­ney. You could doc­u­ment your prod­uct-mak­ing process, when you meet in­ter­est­ing peo­ple, and share any me­dia cov­er­age that has been writ­ten about you or your busi­ness. If you are a video fan, and love to doc­u­ment your daily life, then get on YouTube or Snapchat, and use these plat­forms to give your fol­low­ers and cus­tomers a be­hind-the-scene ac­cess to your busi­ness.

But don’t stop at that. It’s not enough to only doc­u­ment your jour­ney, but also to make your clients/fol­low­ers feel that they are part of it as well. Ask them for their feed­back, con­sider their rec­om­men­da­tions, and lis­ten to their ad­vice.

Net­work and at­tend in­dus­try-re­lated events

Web­sites such as Meet-up, and news out­lets like The Na­tional pro­vide you with a list of events tak­ing place around town. At­tend those re­lated to your field, and net­work with other busi­ness own­ers. One thing al­ways leads to the next. You may not see re­sults straight away, but get­ting to know a lot of peo­ple al­ways comes with ad­van­tages.

I met peo­ple who rec­om­mended a client a cou­ple of months later, and some within the same day. There’s no spe­cific time to when you will reap re­sults, but you will cer­tainly do. Just make sure you al­ways carry a busi­ness card. In­vest in hav­ing pro­fes­sion­ally-de­signed and printed ones. Just like your web­site, and the out­fit you wear, they should make a strong, pos­i­tive, first im­pres­sion.

Share your ex­per­tise

If you have a knack for writ­ing, then you could con­trib­ute and share your ex­per­tise in lo­cal news­pa­pers, in­dus­try mag­a­zines, or lead­ing blogs. Many pub­li­ca­tions are al­ways on the look­out for con­trib­u­tors; just en­sure that you have an in­ter­est­ing an­gle or topic to cover.

If your speak­ing skills are stronger then con­sider launch­ing your own pod­cast, or be a guest on a pop­u­lar one. A lot of peo­ple, es­pe­cially when on the go, tune into pod­casts, and they are in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in this re­gion.

Not only will that ex­pose po­ten­tial clients to your busi­ness, but it will also en­hance your cred­i­bil­ity and strengthen your pro­fes­sional CV.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-win­ning Emi­rati writer who man­ages her brand­ing and mar­ket­ing con­sul­tancy in Abu Dhabi

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