Being the “face” of a company is an intimidating role, and as a result, many CEOs and founders shy away from the spotlight. They either consider it a move toward humility or personal protection against possible future embarrassments — either way, it’s a safer play, but it forces their company to exist without a personal brand at the head of the organization.
In today’s world, having a strong personal brand leading your company is radically important — some would even argue essential. Consumers are becoming more and more distrustful of corporate brands and advertising, yet always inherently trust people to a higher degree. Case studies show that just the presence of a human face can increase conversion rates, and personal brands on social media always have an easier time attracting and communicating with followers.
If executed properly, your personal brand can provide a secondary outlet of traffic to your site, increase the influence and authority of your brand, and improve your consumer-brand relationships all at the same time. Still, becoming the “face” of your company isn’t a straightforward or easy process, and it’s going to take a lot of time. When you’re ready, get started with these five steps and move your company toward a more personal future:
1. Feature Yourself on Your Company Website. The first step is also the simplest. All you have to do is create a miniature profile for yourself on your company website. Include your name and a brief biography on your About or Team page, and include links out to your social media profiles (Twitter and LinkedIn are musts, as is a professional Facebook page for your personality — don’t just accept friend requests on your personal page). You can (and should) also set yourself up as an author on your company blog if you aren’t there already, and be sure to include your headshot. People prefer seeing faces to bland descriptions.
2. Publish Content — As Yourself. Next, start publishing content regularly, under your own name — not your brand’s. Stick to industry topics, and always write in the first-person perspective. Reveal bits of your personality throughout your writing process so people get to know you through your material. Aim for at least one new post every week, either on your company’s blog page or on a separate, personal blog that you’ve set up. A separate personal blog will be more effective in the long run, serving as an additional opportunity for conversions, but if you’re not ready for that step, stick with what you have.
3. Get Active on Social Media — as Yourself. Next, start posting more frequently on social media. Be sure to syndicate all your new posts, and work your old posts into a recurring rotation. Respond to anyone who reaches out to you, and thank people when they like or share your posts. You should also get involved in your industry by jumping into existing conversations and engaging with other influencers. The more you post on social media, the more visibility you’ll earn — again, just stay within the industry you want to be known for.
4. Network Frequently and Take Advantage of PR Opportunities. Whether in-person at professional networking events or online through LinkedIn Groups and one-off webinars, work to increase your network of contacts. Attract more followers to your personal social media profiles, and keep a running list of contacts handy for when you want to market a webinar or seminar or your own. Take advantage of any PR opportunities you can find, too — submit press releases, speak at events, or host free workshops to people in your area. It will attract a great deal of attention to your personal profiles.
5. Casually Layer in References to Your Company. When you start building a reputation, start making more references to your company. List it on all your social profiles for sure, and mention your company whenever you network or attend speaking events. You can even use your company as a major point of reference for examples and case studies as you start writing more content. Your goal here isn’t to advertise your company, but to make the association clear — remember, people trust you, and they’ll naturally trust whatever you’re associated with as long as you don’t try to jam it down their throats.
Building and managing a personal brand is an ongoing process that demands continued upkeep and dedication. The more time and effort you invest in this strategy, the more it’s going to pay off for you in the long run. As long as you maintain the quality of your content, respond appropriately to your followers, and keep reaching out to new people, you should be able to accumulate tens of thousands of followers and earn a line of new, relevant traffic to your corporate site. It comes with a bit of extra pressure, and one new thing to manage, but you’ll likely find that it’s well worth the effort.