Personal branding refers to the practice of marketing yourself and your career as a brand. Your personal brand, therefore, is how you appear to the world. The aim of personal branding, then, is to build your name and your brand so that people know who you are; identify you with a specific area of expertise; making you the go-to person in your niche or industry.

If you’re looking to build your personal brand, here are six ways to go about it.

1. Understand and be your authentic self
Building a personal brand is first and foremost developing an understanding of your true self, and then sharing that with the world. Building a brand around a persona that is not your true self is futile and damaging in the long run. Some professionals may suggest that you build a personal brand by shaping and moulding what others see or what others want, but this is very difficult and nearly impossible to maintain over a long period of time. Rather, create a brand around YOU: who you are, what you love, your personality. Your brand should be a reflection of who you are.

2. Build your online presence
Being online is incredibly effective for your business and your personal brand. It is important that you know how you’re appearing and coming across online. Being online includes social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram) as well as your website.

Your social media profiles should be professional and fully fleshed out with all your information, including your business information such as opening hours, contact details a link to your website and a snippet about your business. These profiles should be monitored daily and comments and messages responded to within 24 hours.

Having a website is one of the best ways to rank highly in a Google search. You should be adding content such as blogs to your site on a regular basis.

3. Be purposeful in what you share, and add value
Every tweet you send, every status update you make, every picture you share, contributes to your personal brand. Be purposeful and strategic in what you share. Be mindful of adding value to your posts.

4. Remain a student of your industry
No matter how well you know your industry or area of expertise, it is always important to remember that things are changing all the time, and you need to stay up-to-date with the latest changes and trends. Learning new things, developing new skills and expanding your knowledge are imperative to building your brand.

Building your personal brand takes time, and if you fail to stay relevant, all of your effort will be wasted. If you want to be known as the go-to person in your industry, then it is to your benefit to keep researching and sharing information through blogs, articles and workshops.

5. Find your narrative
A strong personal brand is dependent on a strong and consistent narrative. If you have multiple passions or areas of interest, a narrative becomes even more crucial so there can be a unified theme. A great story teller attracts great interest, and an interesting story is always remembered.

6. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable
As you build your personal brand, don’t be afraid to share your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. These moments make you more relatable to others, and increase your value to them.

Building your personal brand can seem daunting and a heavy task, but as you begin figuring out who you are, what you are wanting to sell and how you want to be perceived by others, the right opportunities will start coming your way. People will begin to see that you’re know what you’re talking about, and they’ll invite you to be a part of their stories.