Once an attendee of my workshop told me that she would never be great at personal branding due to her reserve. This inspired me to write a short article on how introverts can leverage social media (and especially LinkedIn) to strengthen their personal brands.
Personal branding, in simple words, describes who we are, what we stand for and what we have to offer. Going deeper, it’s about character and the characteristics that make us credible. It’s about choosing our channels (LinkedIn being the most important professional network) and crafting content that is in line with our goals and personality. It takes contacts around us and consistent work to strengthen our personal brand. Finally, to convince ourselves that our personal brands work, we have to receive confirmation, and judge from online measurement or offline indicators. All these details can be nicely put together in the 7Cs of my Personal Branding Mix that includes Character, Credibility, Channels, Content, Contacts, Consistency and Confirmation.
Different characters may embrace different channels and content to make their personal brands stand out. However, the general perception is that only extroverted characters are able to push their personal brands to a higher level.
I am not going to dig into details explaining the difference between these two personality types as we can always look up Carl Jung or other well-acknowledged authors in the field.
Yes, it’s true that extroverts may be more open in the content they produce. They may be better at making new contacts or benefitting from old ones. Despite that, introverted characters may be as just as great at strengthening their personal brands.
The key is Content and choosing the right format of it. Here’s why.
- First, I’d like to remind you about the difference between being famous and being known as proposed in Mark Schaefer’s book Known. When we put effort into strengthening our personal brands, it does not mean we are trying to become famous. Well, this might be a goal for some, but for many professionals it’s enough to be known in the small circle of their target audience.
- Second, personal branding is not about self-promotion. It’s about value, so you don’t need to be an extrovert and advertise yourself.
- Third, personal branding does not necessarily require extroversion-related forms of content. You don’t need to become the most active networker in town or the best public speaker.
So what are some of the content forms that might help an introvert to strengthen his personal brand on LinkedIn?
Here are some of the content ideas for your LinkedIn:
a. Industry overviews (in the form of a post or an article).
b. Statistics about your industry.
c. Content curation (reposting somebody’s else content together with your insights).
d. A summary of an article or a book you just read (and giving credit to the author).
e. Non-personal photos (as you may feel uncomfortable with your own selfies or portraits) to illustrate the context.
f. Interviews with others and placing emphasis on them (leaving yourself behind the scenes).
g. Your comments on industry or field related information provided by others?
Consider that most people are not pure introverts or extroverts and place themselves being somewhere in between. I would put myself in this category, too. How do I build my personal brand then? I’m good with written content and personal photos. I love speaking at conferences and events, but I am not very comfortable with videos and filming myself (yet!).
The key to successfully strengthening your personal brand is about finding ways that you are comfortable with and improving along the way. Thus, don’t hesitate and take action. If not now, then when?