Defining your personal brand is critical to your success in real estate — but it doesn’t have to break the bank.
Historically, branding applied primarily to companies and products. Times have changed, however. Today, almost everyone has a digital footprint, and anyone with Internet access can get an idea of who you are within seconds.
This is your personal brand, and it already exists — regardless of whether or not you have chosen to construct it. With a little bit of research and work, you can begin to define or redefine your personal brand so the world can see you as you would like to be seen.
What is a personal brand? A personal brand is your story. It’s the persona that you convey to the world that makes you unique. It’s not just your image, but also your words, attitude, values and skills. Your personal brand is what makes you you.
Should I build a personal brand? If you’re in the real estate business, or any type of business at all for that matter, the answer is yes! You know how to market a property to make it stand out, but are you marketing yourself so you stand out? If you’re looking to win over new clients and to assure your current clients that working with you is in their best interest, it is crucial that you build your personal brand.
Here are six items that should be on your personal branding to-do list:
1. List your goals
In order to define your personal brand, you have to start at the beginning.
Do you want to be known as a best-in-class agent focused on helping first-time homebuyers, or would you like to be revered as a local market expert? Do you want to be recognized as a commercial real estate specialist? Are you looking to gain new clients? Would you like to be thought of as the most tech-savvy agent around? Give this some serious thought and list all of your goals.
2. Do your homework on the competition
Who are your biggest competitors, and what are they doing to brand themselves? What are they are doing with regard to personal branding that works really well, and what’s not working for them? Do your research and take notes.
3. Assess yourself
Have you ever searched your own name online? Your clients probably have.
Do a quick search on your name and see what comes up. What images show up? What websites are you associated with?
You also should audit your social media presence. What social networking website do you use? What is the tone of your posts? What type of content are you sharing?
If you have a blog or website, examine those as well and ask yourself the same questions about tone and content. Make a list of the information that you find.
4. Define your brand attributes
If someone was asked to describe you, what words would you like him or her to use? What is the message or sentiment that you want your personal brand to convey? Make a list of specific attributes you want your personal brand to encompass.
5. Find your voice
Now that you have defined your brand attributes, make sure your personal brand carries a clear, consistent and authentic voice.
Do the brand attributes you listed align with what you found while assessing yourself? If so, that’s great! If not, you have to start working on creating your new personal brand, keeping those attributes in mind at all times.
What do you have to change to make the gap between how people perceive you now and how you want them to perceive you shrink?
6. Be consistent
No matter where someone finds you (Facebook, Twitter, your own website or in person), you want your personal brand to always shine through loud and clear. Make sure you are reinforcing your personal brand in everything you do. The last thing you want to do is send mixed signals.
When people hear your name, they should be able to immediately associate you with your personal brand. If they can do that, then you’ve achieved success!
Whether you have a lot of work to do to get your personal brand where you want it to be or whether you’re almost there, remember these key ingredients:
- Know who you are and be true to yourself.
- Speak with an authentic voice.
- Always be consistent.
Building your personal brand is a work in progress. You will want to continually monitor your brand presence (and the competition’s) so you can make improvements and stay relevant.
Putting the work into completing these six steps may seem like a daunting task, but it will pay off in the long run when you have a well-defined, clear, solid personal brand that people can recognize. Once this work is complete, you are well on your way to the next step: creating a game plan for marketing your personal brand.
Nikki Ilchert is an award-winning digital marketer and branding expert. She loves helping Realtors, entrepreneurs and small businesses.