Introverts often wonder if they are capable of building a strong personal brand. Here’s the answer you probably didn’t expect – not only are you capable but you might be even better at it than extroverts. You just might need to go about it a little differently.
Now, I’m fairly introverted myself (although many people are surprised as I can be pretty chatty and lively in person). Contrary to popular belief, that doesn’t automatically qualify me as someone who’s painfully shy or dislikes people altogether. Introversion is more about how you recharge your energy. For example, I love meeting people but definitely need downtime after being around people for too long. I also need time to reflect. To contemplate, to plan. To just “be.”
Writing, creating, and coming up with ideas come naturally to me but selling, marketing, self-promotion, networking, meetings are all areas I’ve personally found difficult. The very thought of passing on a smile, shaking the hands of a bunch of strangers, and reciting my elevator pitch makes me nauseous. But luckily for us, personal branding isn’t all about schmoozing over cocktails at a networking event – in fact, that’s only a very small slice of it. So, here are some ways to build your personal brand, without having to pretend you’re an extrovert.
Play To Your Strengths
Extroverts have flashy brand-building skills because they naturally take up space. But introverts have essential brand-building skills that make for subtly powerful brand-building, too. Introverts tend to be good listeners and take more time to synthesize information, which makes for extraordinarily deep insights that take into account the big picture. Use these insights to see how your work fits into your industry and the future you are trying to build. Being able to make carefully thought-out decisions that fit into the larger puzzle is a brand-building superpower.
Read More: How Storytelling Can Help Your Personal Brand
Leveraging Social Media as a Bridge
For many introverts, social media represents a perfect alternative to in-person engagement. It rewards those who are thoughtful and methodical in their approach, and it offers dozens of low-stress ways to interact with people. At the same time, social media is a powerful amplifier for your message, especially thought leadership in the form of blog posts you’ve written or videos you have recorded.
Instead of focusing primarily on how to meet and exchange contact information with strangers at networking events, introverts thrive in building a brand based on their ideas and experience. Social media offers the perfect opportunity to do just that.
First, social media may actually be an area where introverts, who thrive on quiet contemplation, have an advantage. With a blog – one of the best techniques for demonstrating thought leadership – you can take your time, formulate your thoughts, and engage in real dialogue with others. Indeed, while extroverts desperate for their next fix are trading business cards at cocktail parties, you can build a global brand on the strength of your ideas.
Read More: How to Deal With Internet Trolls for Your Personal Brand
Embrace Your Introversion
Another important thing to remember is you don’t need to copy the extroverts. I watch people who are talking to the camera every day and posting videos and the thought of that exhausts me so I don’t do it. I go with how I’m feeling and as an introvert that is so important.
The key is not to overthink it and experiment with things. If you notice people are responding and connecting then you know there is something good in what you are doing. The key thing is to feel the fear and do it anyway!
If all of this still sounds very out of your comfort zone there are still so many ways you can connect and promote your business in an introverted way. You probably have lots of ideas to share so could you record a podcast in the comfort of your own home or write a blog post? Mailing lists and blogs are both great ways to show the personality behind your business without putting yourself ‘too’ out there.
Don’t Be Shy To Talk About Your Accomplishments
Oftentimes, introverts fail to get well-deserved recognition because they don’t promote themselves or bring attention to themselves. Many people don’t know the ways to brag about your accomplishments without coming across as arrogant. It’s not smart, though, to rely exclusively on others to talk about your accomplishments. Letting them go unnoticed may get in the way of promotions in the workplace. Take the time to decide just what you want to say about your accomplishments to make sure you receive credit where credit is due.
Let Your Uniqueness Shine And Use It For Your Personal Brand
I used to work myself up so much over being introverted. But then I started replacing all of those icky feelings of frustration with gratitude. Because introverts are hella powerful.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a list of all the incredible superpowers you hold as an introvert:
Introverts are naturally deep thinkers. Yep, I see you nodding your head! You love getting deep in your thoughts without feeling the need to switch gears constantly.
Introverts are big-picture thinkers. You’re likely pretty obsessed with digging deep to find meaning and purpose in whatever you do. My friend, designer, and brand strategist, this is one of her superpowers. She can take a small, simple idea and turn it into a big-picture plan through one, a single working session with a client. Pretty amazing.
Introverts are analytical. You observe your surroundings with detail and care. You’re wired to find thoughtful, creative solutions to any problem presented to you.
Introverts strive for deeper connections. They’re basically pros at it. These days, consumers are searching for more value and deeper connections, especially on social media. Since you’re an introvert, it’s really easy for you to write from the heart. Use that!
One thing extroverts often do easily is to share what it is that makes themselves or their brand special. Introverts may need more encouragement to let their own uniqueness shine, but every introvert has qualities that make them special, too. Figure those qualities out and let them shine as an extrovert would. This is one area where those extrovert friends can help push you if you ask them to do so.
Invest in Increasing Your Knowledge For Your Personal Brand
Be realistic about what you can achieve and how you can achieve it. You’re not going to be the social butterfly who jumps into the fray at networking events or takes the reins of a local business organization. Introverts are thinkers who do their best thinking alone, so take advantage of that by investing in ongoing education. Read industry journals, watch webinars from fellow thought leaders, and send carefully worded emails and LinkedIn messages to people you want to connect with.
These things will help you build up a larger foundation of expertise in your field while carefully selecting and growing your connections with people who can help you distribute your personal brand. While knowledge doesn’t automatically equate to success, it can help give you an edge over extroverted colleagues who can spend more time engaging with your ideal audience.
Practice For Your Personal Brand
Practice makes perfect is a cliché for a reason. Building a personal brand may be uncomfortable and difficult at first. But it is such crucial work for everyone that it is worth powering through that discomfort. Like any muscle you exercise, your brand-building will become easier with time and practice. Introverts are excellent at persevering, and this is one area worth applying that skill.
Building a personal brand may be an easier task for those with extrovert qualities. But it is absolutely doable for introverts, as well. Introverts have special skills that make them excellent communicators and visionaries, and there are many strategies for mitigating the exhaustion of personal brand-building. There is no reason why introverts cannot have incredibly successful personal brands.
To Sum Up
Building a personal brand from scratch is a long-term task. If you know what steps to take, it doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert or not.
The key to successfully strengthening your personal brand is about finding ways that you are comfortable with. But also, improving along the way. That’s the big secret.
You’ve got this.
See you next year.