Why Every Business Needs a Personal Brand

Why Every Business Needs a Personal Brand 150 150 Sharon Livingston

Over the past several years, personal branding has become a hot topic across the business world.  That’s because it’s tough out there with the competition increasing daily.  Not just for businesses but for individuals as well.  Just consider the statistics.

In the United States there are currently: 1.3 million lawyers.  1.24 million accountants.  659,200 management consultants.  There are nearly 28 million small businesses in this country, more than 800,000 of them in New Jersey.  Yet the competition is so fierce that 50 percent of these firms including 80 percent of all restaurants fail before their fifth anniversary.  In 2018, more than 3800 major retail stores closed their doors.

What can you do to ensure that you don’t become one of these statistics?  The first step is to recognize that the way to successfully market and promote your business has changed dramatically over the past decade.

Today, the number one way that people find new companies, products and services is by accessing your website through the Internet, primarily by using Google Search.  The majority of those searches are done via smartphones.  When someone arrives at your website, you have approximately ten seconds to capture and hold their attention.  If you don’t, they’re off to one of your competitors.

The initial challenge is to get people to your website.  One way is by utilizing online advertising.  The problem is that online advertising is expensive with costs rising 5x faster than inflation.  The average small business effectively using Google advertising can today spend as much as $10,000 per month on their online advertising campaigns. That’s $120,000 per year.  Another problem is that consumers just don’t trust advertising. In a recent survey, less than 1% of Americans said that advertising had Influenced them.

That’s the bad news.  Now here’s the good news.  Unlike online advertising, social media is not only inexpensive but highly effective.  It’s also highly personal with almost half of all Americans reporting that they have had meaningful interactions with companies via social media.  Most importantly, social media gets people to your website — not by tricking them into clicking on a link or an ad, but by building a personal brand that generates trust and credibility for your business.

What is a personal brand?    According to Amazon CEO, a personal brand is what people think and say about you when you’re not in the room.   It’s what differentiates you and sets you apart from the competition.  It’s not simply a logo or a website — although both of these are important.  Instead it’s what you say and do that resonates with your target audience.  It’s the articles, the videos, and the photos that you post.  The advice you give and the ideas you support.  It’s what makes you special and unique.

So the next time you need to set your business apart from the competition, consider personal branding and social media.  Together, they’re a powerful combination that will help you not only survive but prosper and grow.

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