“Personal Branding” is an important buzz phrase in our present social media world.

Personal branding is when you market yourself and your products or services to others. This is done using the same strategies that celebrities and giant corporations use, since the ubiquitous nature of the internet allows social media to all of us equally.

First Usage of the Term “Personal Branding”

The term, “personal branding,” is believed to have first been used by author Tom Peters in his book, In Search of Excellence where he espoused personal responsibility for personal success. As quoted in his later book, Talent: Develop It, See It, Be It, he wrote, “the reinvented you… will have no choice but to add value in some meaningful way.”

This now means the reinvented you through social media.

Psychological Approaches to “Personal Branding”

When considering psychological approaches to making your personal branding – your presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so forth, and your website or websites – more effective, keep in mind this first principle, that one must add value in “some meaningful way.”

Fortunately, “meaningful” has wide latitude of definition and application. If something is meaningful to you, you can develop it to become meaningful to others.

Concrete Ways to Develop Your Meaningful Personal Brand

• First, ask yourself why you want to develop your personal brand. Hopefully your answer is to be compensated for where your passions lie, in what you create or for what you believe in, or both.

• Consider your own psychology before profiling potential customers and clients. The objective is to have:
1. your personal brand
2. your sense of self and
3. how others perceive you through your brand all in concert with one another. In simplest terms, be yourself.

• Discover your niche. Stake a claim to a territory and develop your brand. Once your brand is developed, which takes patience, people will come to you for your expertise, your art, your writing, your style, your business or whatever it is that you’re offering to the world.

• How do you want to position yourself to develop your brand? At this point it might be practical to:
1. write a mission statement.
2. start a vision board.
3. begin to develop a business plan.

• Have a mindset of providing value to others. Are you branding your poetry? A line of handbags? A charity? All excellent, as long as your intention is to provide something – whether an experience or a product – of value to others. People are uncannily intuitive about intentions. Authenticity rings through.

• Establish “a look” with your web presence. Have a picture of yourself or a logo that reflects the branded business side of the real you. When branding, this image needs to be seen everywhere you’re linked, on your social media sites, your website, your books or other media you may have printed or produced.

• Treat all your web presence as serious media exposure. From Twitter to websites to YouTube videos, you are making a personal branding statement. You don’t want to have some bit of embarrassing You Tube video haunting your serious business or humanitarian efforts for the rest of your career.

• Be positive. Endorse others, even competitors, with a positive review when earned. People trust people who are positive.

• Be knowledgable. Your followers will become ever more faithful in returning to your site and what you offer when they learn of your expertise. Then they will tell others about you. No matter how much the method of “getting the word out” has changed in the recent past, word-of-mouth remains the best means of getting new people to appreciate, and to invest in, what you have to offer.

Guest Post: Wendy Bailey on Personal Branding