Millions of young people in the Arab world are on the rise online. While platforms such as Twitter and Facebook appear to have reached their peak in Europe and the US, the number of Arab users on all social media has doubled in the last three years and that offers opportunities, also for women.
Take Huda Kattan. Born in America with Iraqi roots, in 2006 she started blogging about beauty from Dubai. Now with her 27.9 million followers she is number 1 on the Instagram rich list, she receives 33,000 dollars for every sponsored post. Another example is Zayna Al Hamarneh, Co-Founder & CEO of MODE Marketing & PR, operating out of Amman and Doha. This passionate 29-year-old kicked off her career at the young age of 15 through social media.
The times when only celebrities were consciously involved in image management has long since gone. Personal branding and self-promotion are part of our experience economy, in which “showing yourself” contributes to authenticity and transparency, both on and offline.
But why would you want to present yourself as a brand? The most important reason is that a strong personal brand may contribute to your success. It is an effective way to become known in your field and increase your value proposition in the marketplace. Look at Oprah Winfrey and Marie Forleo they are both “brand” leaders in addition to being inspirational ones. When they speak, people listen and act accordingly. Oprah leads women who subscribe to her “lifestyle” and want to be like Oprah! She encourages her followers to be their best selves!
Marie challenges her fans to change the way they live in order to change the world. Her website reflects that of a personal branding expert, highlighting her authenticity and passion for helping others. In my opinion women are able to take advantage of the opportunities that personal branding present, perhaps more than they are presently aware. How does this work?
To begin think of three words that describe you best….
Why are those three words so important? Those three words help you to see yourself as a brand. When applying for a job, you present yourself as a strong and distinctive brand. Additionally, people also often buy a car for certain characteristics associated with a brand, with Volvo you immediately think of safety, with Citroën with artistic and quirkiness, with BMW with sporty and luxury and with Mercedes comfort. What characterizes you? And how do you show that? Offline, but also online. When you think about it carefully and consistently, you automatically become a strong brand.
Personal branding means that you think carefully about how you want to come across to your audience. Many of your potential customers do not know you (yet) and it is therefore extra important to ensure that you also leave a good impression online. A rule that applies here is “show, don’t tell”. If you think you are a good writer, start blogging, if you are a creative talent show it.
As it becomes clearer where your passion lies, you can post more regularly. Choose one or more social media platforms that suit you and where you are actively involved. Also consider what your goal is on that platform and whether the people you would like to meet are active in that place. Share and like posts from others. Creating a strong personal brand will take time but, by adding content and showcasing your valuable knowledge of your expertise area, combined with your values, story, and vision, you can craft a personal branding for yourself.
So, if you want to improve your personal branding take these tips into account:
- Become visible: show what you have achieved or to say what you are good at, then start with simple steps that increase your online visibility. For example, did you read an interesting article or blog for your work? Share this directly with your network via social media.
- Create a killer headline on LinkedIn: Of course, you have a fully completed profile on LinkedIn with a professional photo. But also provide an original headline and clear summary. Dare to stand out by choosing a headline that says something about your personal brand. Also, make sure that your summary contains the keywords about which you want to be found.
- Highlight what you are proud of: An overview of where you have worked and which training you have followed should be easily found by clients and recruiters, but whether you are really the right person for the job is clear from what you did in previous jobs. Nowadays you can use your LinkedIn profile to illustrate this by including images and videos providing evidence of past successes. That says a lot about your talent and passion.
- Be generous and build relationships: The biggest misconception is that personal branding is mainly about taking. It’s about giving. You share your knowledge, you invest in relationships and you compliment others when they share interesting information. Relationships are the key to success. And in general, women are better at building and maintaining relationships than men. In this way you build a strong network, including via LinkedIn.
- Stay authentic: To get to where you want to be, you first must know your own brand. Be aware of your personal brand in everything you do but above all, make sure you are authentic. Women generally have more self-awareness than men, so they have an advantage. Google yourself and see if the results you see are correct with who you are or want to be if that varies greatly, you will immediately know your starting point.
Up to starting branding your identity? Watch this Tech Talk: Designing a purposeful personal brand from zero to infinity | Tai Tran