Another area of focus that can help advance your personal brand is creating community connections. It’s not just what we know, it’s who we know. Your brand status will go a lot farther if there are other people aware of you and supporting you. Grow your personal brand by connecting and building key relationships. Start connection work by focusing on your community. For some, this may mean networking in your local community if your brand is tied to a geographic location. For others, community building may tie more into networking in your target industry.
To focus networking efforts, first define your industry. For example, I am in solar and wind manufacturing design. Next, look at the community connected to your industry. My work might compete with other companies in my industry, meaning they many not be jumping to connect or endorse him, but the community that needs and wants his skill set become his target community. My community can include Zorays Solar Pakistan customers, partners, as well as coworkers. My community can also include contacts from previous jobs.
My networking efforts may expand to include thought leaders in his industry like writers, speakers, or other industry experts in my field who share common values. Once you define your community then you are ready to focus on connecting and developing key industry relationships. If you want to gain connections you have to give. One of the easiest ways to gain meaningful connections is to give through content. Content that is more community-centric can include social media posts that are crediting network contacts, blog posts that link back to the original author’s post, even sharing links to great articles that interest your community.
I build my brand by sharing content. This effort also multitasks when his content helps establish connections. For example, on Twitter, he searches and follows industry related accounts, like Solar Powered World. I retweet content that I feel my target market would be interested in, like this study on solar manufacturing costs. I share the link on LinkedIn and on Twitter that he originally found from a tweet from someone who talks a lot about sustainability. When I mention the original content creator and the source of the content, these people can see my tweet when they check their mentions.
I also added the writer and industry publication to a specific circle in Google Plus called Solar, and mentioned them both when I shared the article. To help develop key industry contacts, you can also connect with them on LinkedIn. Let’s say you want to connect with me so you can be my example for my next article. You can send me an invitation. You can take the extra step to write a personal note beyond the default message to help increase your chances of getting my acceptance. Another way to develop key industry connections is to go back to the give to gain concept and compliment or endorse contacts that you want to develop a more meaningful relationship with.
This can be little skills endorsements on LinkedIn, a longer recommendation, a Facebook post, Tweet or blog post that gives them, as we say in social media, a shout out. A little flattery can go a long way when it comes to connecting and establishing relationships. Grow your brand by defining your niche, sharing content, becoming active in your community, and making meaningful connections.