By Kory Gorgani
Thinking back to when I was first starting my career, personal branding meant not getting embarrassed in public, carrying business cards and looking professional at all times. Personal branding has come a long way! Nowadays, personal branding is more important than ever. Brand authenticity and its communication through social media are two of the hottest ideas in our business, and these important trends apply to the brand called ‘you’.
Personal e-branding is how we market ourselves to others online. Each of us has a brand because we are constantly being judged based on first impressions. Personal e-branding is critical in a world filled with clutter, competition and ambiguity. To be an e-brand means to use similar branding strategies that corporations and products use to create an experience – a friendship – with an audience. People trust people, and will therefore be more inclined to buy or sell with you based on their relationship with you or what they hear about you.
The necessity for personal e-brands is increasing as marketing budgets decrease and the need to spread messages through social media accelerates. Social media is free except for the cost of your time. Agents with strong personal e-brands and networks can market their ideas and services easily and effectively. It can also create a viral effect. By being someone who is already a major influencer in your industry, you’re gaining that credibility, following and platform.
Okay, so now we know you are your brand, and we know that personal e-branding describes the process by which you stand out from a crowd of peers, so what’s next? Social technologies have enabled us to position ourselves so we can get paid for doing something we’re passionate about. In order to get noticed online, you have to be known for something. To do that, you have to select a niche that aligns your passion with expertise. Then start actively contributing content, either video or text, over a period of time on that niche topic, while joining social networks and constantly marketing yourself by commenting on blogs. There are three elements that your brand should focus on:
– Value proposition. This means what you stand for, in terms of your personality, appearance, competencies, and strengths. It’s everything you provide as an agent that may fulfill your job description.
– Differentiation. This is what makes you distinct from the crowd of peers.
– Marketability. This is how compelling your brand is to potential prospects. It’s what will make them want to hire you to represent them in their next purchase or sale.
If you’re part of the larger percentage of agents who sell within the smaller percentage of the market, you must unearth your strengths and become a better marketer online and offline. By doing some research you will realize that personal e-branding is the next wave of personal and professional development online. It’s never too early to begin building a personal, professional e-brand – and the earlier you begin it in your career, the more weight it will carry. Start today.
Within the next five minutes, you have the ability to ignite your personal e-brand by using tools such as a WordPress.com blog, Facebook or LinkedIn profile, or by simply micro-blogging using a Twitter account. Indeed, e-branding requires a multi-pronged online strategy that exploits every content-appropriate platform and level available. As each asset is built, you will need to keep tabs on it, provide fresh updates and comments, and use Google Alerts and Technorati to track your online exposure and popularity.
Whether you are an agent or an executive in a large brokerage, e-branding will bring meaning to your life and expedite your professional networking profile and profitability opportunities.
Brokerages, please take note – if you are not providing such tools to your agents, you are falling behind. E-branding is growing exponentially, and both individuals and corporations who underestimate the power of their online reputation will suffer from arriving late to a venue that is already crowded with established brands. As our entire society is transferred to digital bits, your e-brand becomes a digital asset and an avatar for being a part of a brave new world. Good luck and happy e-branding!
Kory Gorgani is a sales rep with Re/Max Hallmark Realty in Richmond Hill, Ont. He holds an MBA in operations management, and has an IT background. He can be reached at [email protected].