By Nancy Marshall, The PR Maven®

By building your network, you build your personal brand.

You may ask: why is it important to build my personal brand?

Business people shaking handsIt’s important for people to know you, particularly when they need what you have to offer. If you are a plumber, you want to be known as the best darn plumber in your city or town. If you are an attorney, you want to be the first one people think of when they need an attorney. If you own a PR agency, you want to be top of mind when people need PR.

Conversely, if you need help in any area of your life, it is important to have someone who you know, like and trust that you can call.

The larger your network, the more people will know you, and hopefully like and trust you.

Knowing, liking and trusting others, and being known, liked and trusted, is what personal branding is all about. Living in a community or a society of people who are connected through social and professional networks allows us all to call on others when we need help of any kind, whether we need a plumber, an attorney, a PR person, or just a friend to lean on.

I am currently reading a marvelous book by J.D. Vance called Hillbilly Elegy about hillbillies in the American South and the obstacles they face as they grow up and raise their families. One of the obstacles that the author notes is the lack of “social capital.”

What is social capital? The dictionary defines it as:

The networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively.

The author of this book has managed to build his own social capital in society by focusing on his education, going to law school, getting married and building a stable family life for himself, and building a network of friends and professionals he counts on to help him through the obstacles in his life. His grandparents were particularly helpful in guiding his upbringing, so he could break out of the cycle of poverty that hinders so many people in their personal growth and development as fully functioning human beings.

As you go through your life, it’s important to think of your own social capital as an asset that benefits you and your family by creating a network of people who help you, and in turn you help in any area of life. For me, networking is a personality trait that has come naturally, but for many people, it is a struggle to develop new relationships and to put yourself out there so others can get to know you.

If you struggle in meeting new people and building your own network, my advice is this: when you meet a new person, make an effort to look them in the eye, smile, ask them questions about their own life, and most importantly, remember their name. There is no sound sweeter to the human ear than the sound of your own name. Be sure you repeat the person’s name and commit it to memory. Every single person you meet is a new relationship that adds to your own social capital.

Ultimately, each and every relationship helps you build your own personal brand.

  • Yet another excellent and applicable article from the Marshall team. Thank you. seeing your advice arrive in these postings… stops my work day. the few minutes it takes to read (and take notes on your content) is Always fruitful. Thanks. Warmest Regards, Connie.