For all of you who have mastered the basics of personal branding, let’s kick this up a notch–with a tip that takes your personal branding to a whole different level: branding through testimonials.
In other words, let others talk about you–and highlight your positive traits.
Sound odd? Let’s take a look at several examples of where this branding strategy has worked consistently:
- Movie trailers: For years, studios have used positive reviews of their films for promotion.
- Books: The back cover and digital marketing of books almost always contain kind words from other authors and experts.
- Restaurants: Many eateries consistently display local reviews and those posted on sites like Yelp near their front doors, and in their advertising.
Why? Because self-endorsement is never as powerful as someone else with established credibility saying it for you. Those who endorse you serve as proof that you are a known, respected resource!
Where can you best take advantage of testimonial branding?
Exactly as designed, and perhaps the most obvious, LinkedIn testimonials are a terrific way to display how others feel about you and your work. A word of caution, however; recruiters and influencers can smell insincere LinkedIn testimonials a mile away; avoid “testimonial trades” with acquaintances–and don’t post testimonials from personal friends unfamiliar with your work.
Answers and groups
Answer-based sites like Quora and LinkedIn Answers–as well as group-based sites like LinkedIn and Google+ — are the perfect format for mining testimonials. Simply provide solid, thought provoking, open minded answers to open questions –and watch the compliments flow toward you.
Blog posts you’ve written can start a dialogue where your expertise is apparent–and appreciated. Often, those comments turn into unabashed testimonials. Of course, to stay away from being perceived as too controversial, you may want to consider weighing in near the center on most passion-based issues (religion, politics, etc.).
Comments, posts, and Tweets
You may also garner testimonials through comments to the blogs posted by others, posts on Google+ and Facebook, and by engaging on Twitter. Be sincere in your approach as you build relationships, and testimonials are sure to follow. Why? Because people like to say nice things about people they like.
Now that you’ve collected testimonials from influencers and experts who can help your career, job search, or business… how do you use them?
Caution: Use With Discretion
There are many creative ways to discretely display and, without falling into the deep end of the self-promotion pool, leverage high-quality testimonials:
- Include an impactful testimonial in your LinkedIn profile.
- Show a short testimonial in your email signature.
- Create a fade-in series of testimonials on your personal web page or blog.
- Use a testimonial to anchor a critical point on your About.me page.
- To establish credibility, include a testimonial for each major page or point in your online portfolio.
- If the provider is a key influencer in your industry, consider including the testimonial on your cover letter.
- For something completely different, include a brief testimonial… on your resume.
The key to testimonial branding is to let others talk for you, so you don’t have to!
Have fun employing these tips, and watch your personal branding ascend to the next level.
Mark Babbitt, the CEO and Founder of YouTern, is a serial entrepreneur and mentor and a passionate supporter of Gen Y talent. Mark contributes to 12Most.com, Glassdoor and Business Insider. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and Under30CEO regarding internships, higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce and career development. Recently, Mark was honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors”. You can contact Mark via email or on Twitter:@YouTernMark.