Last month, I had the opportunity to work with LinkedIn on a workshop geared towards small businesses about a topic that is near and dear to my heart: Talent Branding. As one of the buzz words du jour, talent branding is most certainly a topic that should be on the minds of everyone trying to grow an organization.WHAT IS YOUR TALENT BRAND?Your employer brand is what your company tells the world that that you’re all about. Your talent brand is what your employees really feel and think about what it’s like to work for your company. It’s the true sign if your organization’s inside matches your outside.What your employees think about working for your company bleeds into everything that we do in talent acquisition. A strong talent brand enables recruiters to do our jobs better, easier, faster and with more accuracy because it:Affects our reputation in the market.Affects our ability to attract the best talent (or even get the best talent to engage in a conversation with us).Impacts the amount of employee referrals our teams see.Is a major player in the ability to retain the talent that we’ve worked so hard to find and hire.HOW DO I CREATE A TALENT BRAND? At the LinkedIn event, most of the questions that I found myself answering were less about defining what talent branding is, but instead, how to get started with building and leveraging your talent brand.We all can understand and agree that the need for a talent brand strategy is a no-brainer, but the confusion lies in where to begin. I’ll let you in on a secret: You don’t need a big budget! You can make a big impact by getting started with these three small projects that cost very little.Understand your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) Understand what makes your organization a great place to work. What is fun and exciting about your company? What things make your employees want to engage and connect with leadership and each other?If you don’t already know this, get out and talk to your employees. Find out what they enjoy about their jobs, what they think is awesome about your company, and what they think you should be promoting. Once you answer some of these questions, write down the common themes in their answers. Hiring people who care about the central themes in your organization will make for engaged employees.Make Friends with Marketing You don’t have to go at it alone! Make friends with your marketing team and work together. It doesn’t cost much to build a social media calendar to track when and what you post and then take turns generating content. (There are many social media templates out there, here’s a place to get started.)In fact, the topics that are important to your employees also make great social media content and are an excellent way to get your employees engaged in blogs and discussions. Work with marketing to advertise your company’s awards and successes and what your talent has to say – get your name out there!Keep Your Employees Connected and Engaged Employees engaged in company life make the best brand ambassadors! Ensure that you’re internally communicating well—create a culture of communication and keep everyone updated on a regular basis. Leverage email, social media, newsletters, group and individual interaction to internally share and promote team wins, company milestones, philanthropic participation, even positions that you’re actively recruiting for. Open communication will create a culture where employees are engaged and everyone becomes a recruiter.The biggest hurdle you will have to overcome to get a strategy in place is to just do something. Get going. Don’t boil the ocean. Don’t wait until you have it all figured out. Pick one of the things above and start.Remember, your talent brand is a living, breathing, organic mood within your company that is authentic to your organization and your culture. You don’t have to have your entire strategy mapped out to begin —small steps can get you started in evolving your talent brand and leveraging it to build your organization. The picture above is from the LinkedIn event: Empower[in] our Small Business clients to brand, post, and source smarter! The picture to the right is of myself and our LinkedIn rep, Joe Brummitt III. Get in touch with me on LinkedIn.