June 7, 2016
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Being an introvert has its perks when building a brand. According to David Klow, founder of Skylight Counseling Center in Chicago and instructor at Northwestern University, the modern-day definition of an introvert has evolved from simply being labeled as a loner.
“An introvert is someone who gets more of a sense of self from being alone, rather than from interactions with others,” Klow said. “[It’s] someone who feels more connected when they are on their own, or in more intimate interactions with a few others.”
Introverts might generally struggle with projecting themselves out to the world, especially to a large audience in their industry. But, when reality sets in and they need to put themselves out there, Klow said they have an advantage when developing relationships with their audience:
“One of their strongest personality traits is [being a] real connector and knowing how to speak to the internal lives of others. They are best served by networking and building solid referral relationships.”
If you consider yourself an introvert and it’s time to build your brand, here are a few tips to get you started
For some, the thought of going to a networking event and drumming up conversations with total strangers could be uncomfortable – but for online chats the only one online that knows you’re an introvert is you.
The truth is that you need to step out of your comfort zone and attend the virtual party where you can share your thoughts on topics in your area of expertise.
Expert Brenda Christensen, president of Stellar Public Relations, suggests finding what platform works best for you and talk with people in your network. From there, you can begin to spread your wings and interact with a few new people at each setting.
“The world has evolved socially online and not face-to-face,” said Christensen. “I suggest to find what’s comfortable at first, whatever your talent and work at your comfort level. As you explore and expand, you’ll find that your comfort level also expands.”
“Networking is a life thing that only you can learn and expand and grow by putting yourself in uncomfortable positions” said de la Viña. “The reality is, people don’t know you are introverted if you are forward and initiate conversations online.”
Facebook Groups, Quora, and Other Forums Are Your Friends
Another place to expand your network is through various online forums – whether that’s in the form of Facebook groups, Quora, or specific industry forums. These are great places to have deeper industry-specific discussions and showcase your knowledge while gaining followers.
“There are lots of forums where you can discuss issues and topics with many people, gain trust and knowledge and expand onto different forums as your comfort level increases,” Christensen said.
Nowadays there are various Facebook groups that focus on connecting specific communities – whether that’s entire tech ecosystems (like in the case of the DC Tech Facebook group) or groups aimed at specific professionals (from journalists to social media specialists). Sites like Quora also allow you to engage on specific topics relevant to your industry.
By demonstrating an understanding of your market and engaging in these types of forums, you’ll have more success building your brand online, emphasized Christensen.
Build Solid Connections
For introverts, addressing a large audience right off the bat might not be the best game plan. Instead, conveying a consistent message, building solid connections with your followers one conversation at a time, and helping others look inward could be more effective when building your brand.
“An introvert knows how to look within, and can help others look within themselves. An introvert might also tend to be self-sufficient and can brand themselves as someone who embodies solid personal qualities such as stability, reliability or integrity. [They] are best served by networking and building solid referral relationships,” Klow said.
Stay True to You
According to startup advisor and growth consultant, Andrew Bart, building your brand can help others – including investors and employers – to get to know who you are as a person.
“Building your personal brand online is the perfect solution for an introvert. Your brand is very much like an interview process and an opportunity to talk about who you are as a person, your passions and provides an opportunity to connect with someone who has similar interests,” Bart said.
Regardless if you are an introvert or extrovert, the most important part of building your persona online is to stay true to who you are.
“Remember that there are many ways to create your brand and develop brand loyalty. Don’t try to be someone you are not. Instead, find your own way of marketing yourself,” Klow said.
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