In franchising, we’re all in the business of building brands. We want our franchise system to grow, and to that end the company itself must have solid and consistent branding to support local and national growth. The other side of the coin is attracting qualified prospects to buy into your brand. Your branding strategy must be consistent with your sales efforts and is often also applied in franchise development.
Brands don’t sell brands, people do.
While this article aims to speak to the C-suite and those on the front line of interacting with candidates, the steps can apply to any person looking to build a personal brand on social media.
What is a personal brand?
According to Investopedia, a brand is an intangible marketing or business concept that helps people identify a company, product, or individual. It is not to be confused with a logo or slogan. And brands aren’t just for companies anymore. People are creating personas to build authenticity, trust, and to create and nurture relationships.
Why build one?
In the franchise development process, candidates are doing their research long before they ever pick up the phone or fill out a form online. They want to know that the company they are considering “marrying” for the next 10 years is a company that aligns with their values, cares about their success, and has an active presence on various digital platforms. Why? It shows relevance, forward thinking, and transparency.
CEOs, CDOs, CMOs, VPs of development and marketing, sales teams, and anyone who interacts with prospective candidates should establish a strong social media presence. And whoever is the face of your brand should consider developing a personal brand.
6 tips to build a personal brand
Building a personal brand requires time, a plan, and the willingness to be a bit vulnerable. These are just a few steps to get you started, but it’s up to you to stay relevant, engaging, and consistent. (No pressure!)
1) Do some soul searching and figure out who you want to be online. How do you want people to perceive you, and what do they need or want from you? Your personal brand must be a reflection of both yourself and the brand you’re building.
2) Identify which platforms you want to focus on and make sure they’re up to date and accurate. Make sure all of your social media handles are consistent with each other so you’re easy to find and follow. Be everywhere you can be. Your social channels should ultimately drive traffic back to your website and/or blog, and not everyone you’re trying to reach is on every channel. For franchise development, at a minimum, you should be on LinkedIn and Facebook. Some CEOs have their own Facebook page that they use in support of the brand’s Facebook page.
3) Work with a designer to build your brand assets. Make sure your cover photos are well-designed and consistent on all platforms and that your profile photo is professional, up to date, and consistent across all platforms.
4) Develop a content calendar and be consistent. As C-suite professionals, executives, and managers you’re busy, and social media will often get put on the back burner. But if you create a calendar and identify what you want to share, it will be a lot easier to tackle. At a minimum, post 3 to 5 times a week. Align your posts with your corporate and/or sales marketing strategy and events.
5) Your content should be informative, personable, and human. Share company successes and highlights, news stories, and behind-the-scenes activity. Video is a great way to show who you are – and it doesn’t always have to be professionally produced. Authenticity is key.
6) Be engaging! Comment on other people’s posts, and reply to comments and messages on yours. You have the opportunity to connect with others and build trust through social conversation – and it’s free (except, of course, for the time)!
Building a personal brand on social media does take time, but you will find it helps establish credibility, thought leadership, and trust for candidates, partnerships, and employees. Make it a priority and part of your company’s marketing strategy.