Before going into the lessons businesses’ can learn from Tinder (yes you read that correctly), let’s clarify what personal branding actually is. Surprisingly, Wikipedia offers a well-written concise definition that describes personal branding as,
“the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. … Personal branding is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organization.”
If you happen to be a business owner, it is most likely that you built your business around your personal brand. The idea and the work the business produces will only be as successful as the way in which you present yourself and your brand to potential clients. Not to mention, before a customer even looks at a product, they look for the quality of the name that produced. Your audience wants to know the business has a face, a human behind it that is trustworthy. This is where the importance of a strong, streamlined personal brand is vital.
Is your business in a publication? A directory? Maybe on a card in a local coffee shop? How do you compete with all the other listings that lay so closely next to or above it? What will make your brand the one they want to swipe right on and chat with?
Lesson 1: Audience Targeting
The very first thing Tinder requests of its users when creating a profile is to provide the gender and age range of their most desirable matches. While it may feel good to have a more dense selection to choose from, it isn’t really productive to have to swipe left through the 55-year-old men looking for marriage material as a 20-year-old, in fact, all it does is waste your time.
When you first begin to create your brand, it is a MUST to specify who exactly your brand will speak to, create solutions for, and resonate with. Followers and likes from a large audience are nice to have, but if they are from individuals who have no need for your business, why pay more for their eyes to see it. Instead, take a pointer from Tinder and market to the potential customers who you could actually see yourself starting a productive relationship with.
Lesson 2: Good Quality, Explanatory Imagery
After narrowing down your search to an audience who has the potential to really connect with you, you need to ensure you are showcasing your best and brightest side. While emotional chemistry is important for success in the long run, it is the initial attraction that opens the door for a mutual match and possible conversation.
How is your brand perceived by your audience? Is your website, mobile, blog, Linkedin profile up to date? Is the material informative, yet grabs the viewer’s attention with exciting past experiences and expertise thought-leadership in your industry? Is the impressive work you have completed in the past being showcased in a way that stands above the rest? Remember, you won’t be able to get the date if he/she doesn’t like what they see.
Lesson 3: Compelling Content
If you master the presentation game, your mystery date moves on to your biography to look for possible similarities and compelling content that provides information about who you are and what you enjoy doing. Step three is just as important as step one and two in order to earn that swipe.
For a personal brand in the business world, this would include things like a mission statement, a vision statement, and maybe some captivating facts that set you apart intertwined. If you do not take the time to properly explain what it is your business does and why it is unique, you may attract a customer that isn’t the best fit and waste your time in the long run.
***Who knows, if the image and caption are done well enough, you may even rack in a few SUPER LIKE! (A sure sign that the potential client is passionate about your brand in particular.)
Lesson 4: Spark Conversation
Well, you did it. Can you believe that was just the preliminary phase?! You earned a right swipe and now it’s go time. This is where you pull the rabbit out of the hat and really wow em’. Finally and arguably most important, you waste no time and start up a conversation. Who knows how many other matches your mystery date could have and what conversations are happening. It is a dog-eat-dog world out there and the competition is fierce, so don’t wait for him/her to reach out, GO FOR IT.
You have earned the interview, the coffee date, the lunch meeting, the phone call, whatever it may be, a potential customer has agreed to chat with you. This is where all the presentational work you have so skillfully created and streamlined comes to fruition. Dress appropriately, communicate professionally, but be bold, be confident, and go talk about the brand that you are so passionate about building.
If it goes well, you just might get a second date and the rest could be history.