Should you invest real money in your online persona?
In a very short amount of time social media has gone from something that was helpful in terms of building a brand to something that is nothing less than essential. It doesn‘t matter if you‘re a tiny business operating out of a garage or one of the largest multinationals in the world, you don‘t have a choice when it comes to engaging with your customers, followers or client base on social media.
In addition to companies or small businesses, the same is true for individuals. The rise of the phrase “personal brand” seemed to gain prominence precisely when social media became part of our daily lives. Previously, where you could just be a entrepreneur, journalist, consultant or marketeer, you now have to be all those things. Not only that, you have to find a way to promote your work and communicate your ethos online as well. If you don‘t, you risk being irrelevant, missing out on work opportunities and failing to stay in step with the trends of today.
Just as we are not all natural-born communicators, not everyone is good at presenting themselves in the digital space. Enter the personal brand consultant. Just google the phrase and you‘re likely to find a litany of professionals offering this service. These consultants have a particularly captive market with older generations who aren’t so-called “digital natives”. This demographic knows that they need to appear professional and authentic online, but their lack of digital know-how leaves them at a complete loss as to how to go about doing that.
As helpful as brand consultants can be, one mustn‘t forget that this is an industry that‘s sprung up in just a few short years. Thus it can sometimes be hard to tell just what a brand consultant offers and how to measure their efficacy. Like many internet-born industries, the brand consultant seems to operate in a grey area of no regulation or qualifications.
Part-copywriter, part-strategist, part-life coach, there‘s no question that personal brand consultants can help their clients leverage their impact online and drive more interest and leads. However, there‘s plenty of smoke and mirrors in this industry. So if you‘re in the need of an internet makeover and thinking about hiring some help, here‘s what to look out for in a potential consultant:
What are the promised deliverables? That is, what is this person going to deliver to you that’s of tangible, actual value? Are they going to copywrite your bio? Will they write you a strategy document? Or set up a photo shoot for a new avatar? Make sure that there are actual deliverables promised, not just “advice” delivered via a Skype call. The more concrete their offerings, the more you can be sure you’ve spent your money well.
How does their personal brand appear? If your research of a consultant reveals that they have a slim social media following, bad SEO and a website with copy that sounds like it’s written by a teenager, don’t go any further. Remember, the only thing they’re selling is their ability to make you look good online, and if they can’t do that adequately for themselves, it’s unlikely they are worth your hard-earned cash.
What is their background before they did this? Given that the concept of a personal brand—and thus, the personal brand consultant—didn‘t really exist before 2008, the people you hire should have some other form of expertise on which they built their consultancy. Whether it‘s PR, marketing, management or copywriting, their main skill and background can’t just be telling others what to do. After all, consulting is something you do when you possess skills you have to share with others. Find out what those skills are before you take the plunge.
Before you take the plunge and enlist the help of a personal brand consultant, consider setting up your own personal website, from which you can manage your online persona yourself. This couldn’t be easier with a package from UK2, who can help you find a professional domain name, host your website so it can be found on the web and make your website building experience quick and easy. Check out our website to learn more.