A brand is anything — a symbol, design, name, reputation, emotion, tone or any other signifier — that separates one thing from another. That’s a broad definition for what is actually a very personal message to the consumer. After all, for real estate agents, branding on a personal level is becoming just as important as on a business level. People want to work with people, not faceless companies, and that’s what makes business relationships valuable.

In today’s real estate landscape, there is no room for being another face in the crowd. You have to separate yourself from the competition by being more appealing to your target audience. You can achieve that by creating a recognizable personal brand.

Before you begin, realize that you are the brand, for better or worse. The face you see in the mirror every morning is your starting point. Use this to your advantage — because nobody else can be you.

Step 1: Define your brand by asking these questions:

  • What do you want people to know about you?
  • What are your values?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • Who do you look up to and why?
  • Who’s your target audience? Are they first-time homebuyers, empty nesters or condo-loving singles?
  • Ask people you’ve worked with how they would describe you.

Step 2: Craft your message.

The No. 1 rule for crafting your message is to just be you. If you try to project an image of someone you are not, people will always see though it. Dr. Seuss said, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

In today’s social world, there is little separation between your personal life and work life. After reading your well-crafted bio on your website, clients will then look elsewhere for more information about you. Make sure the image and messaging on your social sites is consistent with your brand definition. Look at every post on your personal Facebook page through the eyes of your clients. Do they see a hardworking family man, a social butterfly or a weekend warrior? Again, think about the clients you’re trying to attract.

Step 3: Get others to tell your story.

If you don’t tell your story, no one else will. You have to be a bit of a self-promoter, especially when starting out. Once you’re established, get your clients to tell your story.

Why does almost every major retailer have reviews on their site? Because we see them as objective. We trust Ann in Anywhere, North Dakota, more than we trust the companies pitching us their products.

Step 4: Build both your online and offline brand.

  • Be consistent. Use your brand logos, colors and imagery consistently on every marketing piece you create, from websites to business cards. Paying for good photography and design will always be worth the investment.
  • Set up social media profiles on at least the top four social sites: Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter. You don’t need to be an avid social poster, but you can use products like Hootsuite or Buffer to help you manage and find content and post it to all your networks simultaneously.
  • Every tweet you send, every status update you make and every picture you share contributes to your personal brand. Once you understand this, you can start to be much more strategic about what you post.
  • When posting to social media, aim for a mix of 60 percent personal, 25 percent business and 15 percent problem-solving.
  • Find yourname.com and register it. Turn it into a website about you with links to your social networks and your business website.
  • Create a business website, such as localrealestate.com. Keep this site about real estate and home search. Keep your personal information minimal, but link back to your personal site for more info.
  • Offline assets like business cards, fliers and mailers should be consistent and professionally designed. Use your logo and profile photo properly.

By creating and consistently developing your personal brand and managing it strategically, you will find yourself ahead of your competition. Know who you are and what you have to offer. Once others become familiar with your personal brand, they will recognize it and associate it with your value.

Jarad Hull is the CEO at Blueroof360.

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