A “brand’ is defined by Business Dictionary as a unique design, symbol, words, or combination that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors, becoming over time, associated with credibility.
Personal branding is no different, but to put it more simply, it’s the means by which people remember you. In the crowded real estate profession, you need to stand out from your competitors and having your own personal brand isn’t optional if you intend to succeed. Your reputation is crucial to your business.
Before we discuss strategies for brand-building, do a “vanity search.” Search for your name and business name and check out the results: if you are happy with them, you’re probably already well on your way to a known personal brand. If not, get started with the following tools:
- Promote yourself. Literally, run an ad on Facebook to promote your personal brand through a highly targeted campaign. Not only is it cost-effective, but it’s one of the easiest ways to reach the audience you want to attract, by honing in on geography and income, among other demographics.
- Create your own content. Launch an email newsletter or a blog with information valuable to your current or prospective clients. Include both ‘hard news’ – updates on the real estate market in the area – and ‘soft’ – make note of upcoming special events, restaurant openings, and other information buyers are likely to be interested in.
- Post long-form content on Linked In. LinkedIn isn’t just for making contacts anymore, it’s now a platform by which you establish yourself as an authority on the subject matter. Posting content on the site is also a way to drive viewers to your other personal platforms – like that blog we discussed previously.
- If it sounds like we are talking about social media a lot, that’s because social media gives you the chance to tell your story exactly as you want it told. So get on Twitter and get to tweeting about your expertise. You might seek out hashtags for chats that have already begun and jump in, or start your own. Make sure your Twitter biography includes links to your other platforms, including your website.
- Engage in person. Not to be contradictory, but it’s hard to beat face-to-face contact. Join a local civic club or an organization through which you can lend your talent: there’s no better way to build credibility, although your reach is shorter than with social media platforms. Join professional organizations and network at industry conferences. If you have the chance to speak as an authority on your subject, take it – then make sure someone shares your talk via Facebook Live on Twitter’s Periscope.
- The little things. Invest in professional photography. It sounds like such a little thing, but a grainy selfie can undercut your professional image and fast. Hire a photographer who specializes in headshots for professionals, select and couple, and use them on all your platforms for consistency.
Building a brand takes time, so don’t be impatient and don’t become frustrated. A reputation takes years to build, but fortunately, the growth of social media gives many newer tools by which to create and enhance our brand. So, start building!