Why a Personal Brand is Important for any Entrepreneur?

First off, what is the definition of Personal Branding?

Personal Branding is the definition or meaning of your public persona. It’s you at your core. It’s your approach and style. It’s your core values, beliefs, purpose, and goals.

It has a lot to do with your personality and what you currently stand for. I say that because this can change depending on where you are in your life. My personal brand has slightly changed from when I was married with two small children, working in Corporate America, then it is now that I am single, with two adult daughters and a focus on growing my marketing business.

While I’ve always been very conscious of my personal brand, I’m now hyper-aware of my personal brand. As an entrepreneur, building trust and creditability between my brand, industry colleagues, and clients are vital to my success. It also enhances my reputation and motivates others to want to do business with me.

As entrepreneurs, having a strong personal brand is vital to our success. Emerging technologies and online search engines make it easier than ever for potential clients to research your brand before making a purchase from you. Customers are becoming more discerning in their choices and selecting brands that are seen as trustworthy and authentic.

That said, your Personal Brand should always reflect your true character and should be built on your values, strengths, uniqueness, and genius. If you are branded in this organic, authentic, and holistic way your Personal Brand will be strong, clear, complete, and valuable to others. When you can consciously and intentionally influence public perception and consumers, you can elevate your credibility.

If you are interested in a complimentary personal brand assessment email me at gidget@socially-focused.


Managing Your Online Reputation

How many times have you received bad service from a local cafe, a package you ordered online didn’t arrive on time or worse… it did not arrive at all, or a hairdresser forgets to book your appointment?

Local businesses managing your online reputation

As you know these kinds of errors can lead to negative reviews. Whether your negative reviews are well-deserved or unfairly given is beside the point: your online reputation suffers either way.

And while you cannot control a person’s review, you can control how you as a local business owner response. A recent Harvard Business Review study found that when businesses respond to customer reviews — even negative ones — their ratings subsequently increased. Said the study … “analyses suggested that improved ratings can be directly linked to management responses. And, perhaps surprisingly, we also found that when managers respond to positive reviews, it has the same benefits as when they respond to negative reviews.”

The increase is due, at least in part, to how little people like confrontation. According to the study, customers who see previous business owners responses decide not to leave trivial or unsubstantiated negative reviews to avoid a potentially uncomfortable online interaction with you, the owner.

That said, here is a simple tip on how to respond to negative reviews: “Acknowledge and Apologize”

Yes, an apology is appropriate — even if you don’t think you did anything wrong.

online reputation

The reviewer’s experience is their own. You may argue with the facts of the situation, but you can’t argue with how they feel. It’s how they feel. A little sympathy goes a long way toward defusing the situation. If the reviewer is complaining about bad service, you can still apologize that they had a bad experience without supporting their criticism of your attention to detail. A simple “We’re sorry to hear about your experience” will do. Add a Touch of Specificity A public and anonymous review platform is not the place to mount a serious defense.

Google, Amazon, etc isn’t a court of law; you are not going to be awarded justice simply because you proved a reviewer wrong and effectively stated your case.

Even so, it’s often a good idea to briefly speak to the reviewer’s primary concern. Doing so shows that you’re paying attention to their review — that you hear them and care enough to tailor your response to their unique situation. If possible, this is also a good opportunity to contrast the reviewer’s bad experience with your business policy or what customers usually experience when they visit your establishment.

Consider it a way to address the reviewer’s concern while delivering a compliment: “We’re usually known for our exceptional customer service and we regret that we didn’t live up to those expectations in your case.” Very rarely will you be able to completely resolve a reviewer’s bad experience so moving the situation offline is always a good idea. In my humble opinion, trying to fix everything in an online response can often do more harm than good. So, it’s always best to move the conversation offline by providing contact information.

This will demonstrate your receptiveness to feedback and gives you a competitive advantage over your competition while turning your business establishment into a personable one. It also shows that your business takes customer satisfaction seriously enough to have you the owner personally addressing issues.

No matter how unfair a negative review, resist the urge to defend every point and prove your case. It may sound counter productive, but long-winded responses can legitimize the complaint as if the review needed defending in the first place. Going into detail can sound defensive. You want to avoid saying anything that could further incite an upset customer and encourage them to add more detail and negativity to their review.

While your response certainly matters for the individual who left the review in the first place, it’s much more impactful for the 89 percent of other customers who will be reading it for weeks or months to come. Keep that in mind as you’re responding to negative reviews and you’ll be much less likely to let your emotions get the best of you. And, if you’re tired of letting a small number of negative reviews represent your business, there’s always room for improvement.

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Personal Branding and Photography

If you are listening to offline and online chatter, Personal branding is something you might be hearing a lot about these days. So, what does personal branding really mean? How does photography fit into personal branding?

First off, Wikipedia defines personal branding as the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. And the term is thought to have been first used and discussed in a 1997 article by American writer on business management practices, Tom Peters.

With business being ever more competitive, your best way of staying ahead of the pack is to stand out and differentiate yourself from others in your industry. The key to building a strong personal brand brings with the theories of authenticity, and excellence.

For the sake of this blog, we will only focus on the importance of visual communication and the impact of professional photography. You heard the expression, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” One glance at a picture will communicate your message much quicker than a group of words.

Having great photography will give your personal brand another layer of trust and appeal. You should always aim to use the same headshot across all of your social media channels, bio, and website as part of your brand awareness strategy.

Now, getting a headshot isn’t a one-and-done thing. As we change and evolve, so should our headshots. A best practice is to have your headshots updated every year.

If you are looking to improve your personal brand, I recommend taking a look at the image you’re currently using to represent you and ask the following questions:

1. Has my appearance changed? 2. Is my energy still the same? 3. Has my business or brand evolved since I took this picture? 4. Is this image technologically or stylistically outdated? 5. Is my headshot consistent with others in my industry?

Do any of the above situations apply to you? If so, reach out to schedule your next shoot.

If you feel that your image is good for now, set a schedule for yourself to ensure that you remember to update it when that time comes. This is an investment in yourself and in your business that communicates to your existing and potential clients that you believe in your work.