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Personal Branding: It Doesn’t Have to be All Business

Obviously your career is a major part of your personal brand. That’s the whole point of your brand, in many cases—to establish yourself as the go-to guru in your line of work. So naturally, much of your branding centers around your career and your business life. But it doesn’t have to be all business. In fact, incorporating your personal life into your branding efforts can be a great way to differentiate yourself from your competition while making yourself more memorable. Below are several ways to incorporate your personal life into your personal brand:

1) Share your interests. What are your hobbies? Are you a sports fan? What other interests do you have? These can all be very valuable components of your personal brand. Sports have a unique ability to create bonds between total strangers, so don’t hesitate to share your allegiances. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’m an avid Florida Gators fan. Over the years, my public allegiance with the Gators has been a great conversation starter. And if you’re in to unique hobbies, those can be a great way to stand out in the minds of your prospects. So don’t hesitate to share!

2) Share your physical location. One cool way to use social media services is to let your followers know where you are. Twitter works well for this, as does Foursquare and the Facebook ‘Places’ functionality. Not only is it a great way to keep your audience connected to your life, but you’ll probably find that you have similar favorite restaurants to clients and prospects—another great way to connect.

3) Include your family. If you’re married or have kids, working your family into your brand can be a great way to connect with your audience. Share pictures or update your followers on the latest exploits of your children—it’s a great way to become more than just a one dimensional businessman or woman. And who doesn’t love to see a cute baby appear on their Facebook or Twitter feed every once in a while?

4) Share your opinions. If you’re in business, you understand the importance of keeping certain things personal. Politics is often a no-no, for instance—it simply doesn’t make sense to risk alienating customers. But that said, sharing thoughts and opinions that aren’t completely sanitized and bland is a great way to stick in the minds of your audience. It is always important to be sure that you are not going to offend anyone, but don’t be scared to express yourself. You are unique—don’t build a personal brand that is boring and bland.

Remember that a big part of branding is making yourself memorable. If nobody remembers you, you’re not going to pick up much new business. So search for ways to differentiate yourself and connect with your audience. Sharing personal interests such as sports allegiances, hobbies, and information about your family can be a great way to stand out from the crowd. So don’t be shy!