As a new business, the first thing you tend to do is to create your social media brand pages and publish a lot of ‘exciting stuff’ out there.
But to your disappointment, no one engages with your content & brand.
I am assuming you are on tight marketing budget and still not ready to run social media ads.
Therefore, you try to push “the exciting stuff” through your personal profile, but the results are still the same. Hardly any likes, no comments and zero engagement.
If you are an entrepreneur, especially an early stage one, this story is definitely going to touch a raw nerve.
I was in the same boat till a few years back; generating tonnes of content for a newly started business and pushing it down the social media channels with a hope that someone will pick it up.
That’s when I realized the biggest mistake I was committing when it comes to social media marketing.
Human element is the central point of any social media network.
As humans, we are interested in connecting with others and knowing how life is treating fellow human beings.
If you want to grow organically on social media, understand that people trust the people they know or recognize, not the brand they don’t know.
And this trust is built over time, by careful planning and execution, not by posting random stuff down your Facebook or LinkedIn timeline.
Unfortunately, most of us are doing exactly the opposite: we push our products and services to our audience without trying to build any personal reputation.
If you are starting afresh, you (the person) should precede the brand you want to promote. That’s how you gain early followers, subscribers and paid/beta users.
Let me show you 5 ways I am building my personal brand to market my SaaS startup OnPage Champ.
5 Ideas for Better Personal Branding on Social Media
1. Celebrate your small wins
When it comes to social media marketing, I have seen a lot of founders talking too much about their products and services.
I understand the importance, but focussing only on the benefits or features of your product won’t help you establish trust.
Personal brand is established basis the inspiration one can draw from you. That comes through telling personal stories, not by harping the product features.
People get attracted to stories, as simple as that.
Use social media to talk about your journey, your small wins, your day to day achievements etc.
Most of your social media network is looking for motivation and you can be their North Star. Doesn’t matter how small your achievement is, just keep on telling that to your social network.
With time, you achievements will grow, and so will be the trust on you. And that will pull the audience to explore your business offerings.
A case in point
Below is a reference to one of my posts on LinkedIn wherein I shared my 45 day journey after starting up.
This post generated a lot of engagement in terms of likes, comments and followership. But more than that, it helped me connect with 3 new people, all from my target geography and who were really keen to explore how OnPage Champ can help them with their SEO campaigns.
2. Learn to laugh at your mistakes
Mistakes show the human face of you. And that can become an interesting selling point when it comes to personal branding on social media.
Learn to laugh publicly at your mistakes. Talk how you acted stupid and what’s your biggest learning.
Most of the people in your social network don’t understand the work you are doing, but they will start exploring more about you when you show them your human side.
A case in point
OnPage Champ is a tech company that offers a SaaS based tool for on-page SEO.
Despite my technical background, I faced a lot of challenges while migrating to Linux OS, thanks to some stupid mistake I was committing.
I used this as an opportunity to get in front of the world, laugh at my mistake; at the same time talk about the learning I derived from this incident.
3. Display strong opinions
If you carry strong opinion on a subject that directly or indirectly relates to your business, find opportunities to post your viewpoint on social media.
If possible, relate your opinion to the work you are doing so that your social network gets a better context of your business.
Needless to say, there may be few people who won’t agree to your opinion, so be ready for some criticism. Important is not to cross the line or take unpleasant shots at someone just to gain publicity. That’s not your aim.
Your aim should be to showcase your thought process and build a reputation amongst the like minded individuals so that you can turn them into your brand proponents.
A case in point
Someone on Quora requested me to answer whether using premium SEO tools will help him become a powerful blogger.
I also used this opportunity to repurpose this content as a social media post for my LinkedIn profile.
4. Connect aggressively
Since humans are the central point of any social media network, you need to ensure that you keep on growing your network connects.
For that, you need to aggressively establish new connections.
Make it a habit to send few connection/friend requests daily to relevant audience.
Make your invite messages personal and highly contextual.
Once people add to your network, engage with them meaningfully and help them, whenever possible.
Sooner or later, the audience will notice your brand and engage with it
A case in point
I am quite active on a couple of Digital Marketing groups on Facebook and Linkedin. Also, I am a voracious reader and consume a lot of digital marketing related content everyday.
Whenever I come across a useful post, I make it a point to write a personal thank you note to the author. This is followed by a connection request on social networks. These people are not just awesome connects but are also prospective users of OnPage Champ.
Idea is to engage them through my social media posts and build the visibility of my brand.
These days, there’s so much noise on the timeline, be it Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
The best way to find like minded people is to hang around in social media groups.
I personally engage with fellow marketers & entrepreneurs on LinkedIn and Facebook groups focussed on SEO, SaaS and entrepreneurship.
I try to help them out with my experience, and in return I not only get visibility for myself and my brand but also establish connections with like minded people.
A case in point
Someone on Facebook group wanted to start a product but was confused on his initial steps.
He wasn’t sure whether to hire full time employees, outsource the product development or use some standard industry platform and configure it on his own.
See my response to his question below. In less than 3 hours of posting the response, I have got a couple of connects to my network, all wanting to know more about my journey and taking my viewpoint on how to hire an agency.
Not just that, they now know me and my brand and are my prospects for the future.
Give and get, as simple as that.
What Next: Defining and measuring success
There are no quick wins when it comes to organic social media marketing.
The sooner you accept this, the easier your life will become.
Understand that you are trying to move a flywheel, and by its very nature, it takes time to break the inertia.
Your efforts towards social media marketing will take time to reap fruits.
However, if you follow the steps mentioned above, you will see green shoots within no time. You will notice that the reach of your brand increases when you lead it from the front, than what it would have been had you relied on just posting content down your brand pages. In my case, this reach was 10X after I started doing personal branding.
In my opinion, there are 4 levels of success when you try to build a personal brand. If you witness events across any of these levels, be happy that your social media efforts are in the right direction and have started bearing fruit.
Level 1 – Marketers
Lot of marketers will flock your doors
You will first be noticed by salesmen and marketers and will get inundated with lot of canned sales pitches.
Be happy about it.
This is an indication that your work on social media has started garnering eyeballs.
Level 2 – Recruiters
This will be followed by employees/recruiters
Next, potential employees and recruiting agencies will start approaching you.
People see you as a potential employer, thanks to your social media posts and the work you are doing.
Level 3 – Customers
Sooner or later, your prospects will start noticing you
At this level, your potential customers will start noticing your work.
They will engage with your content, subscribe for updates, signup for free trial etc. That’s the stage for which you have been waiting for.
Here’s my 4 months Google Analytics report from Sept to Dec 2019, showing the traffic I am converting from multiple social media channels. Now who says that Facebook and LinkedIn is dead?
Level 4 – Investors
Ultimately followed by investors
If yours is a business that can generate hyper growth or has a jazz element attached to it, you will generate curiosity amongst VCs and investors. While that may not happen with everyone, there’s a fair possibility of this happening.
See how I have started receiving VC interest, all thanks to our effort on social media.
I am not saying that you should stop sharing content on your brand pages.
My only point is that when your brand is new, you don’t have too many people connected to it. That’s when you need to spearhead the social marketing efforts from the front to establish those brand connections.
In my case, had I just focused on sharing and resharing the content from my brand page on to my personal profile, I would have never achieved the results (in terms of beta signups and new connects) that I have achieved after I started working on my personal brand.
If you agree with my hypothesis, may I request you to share this post in your social network and help fellow entrepreneurs.
To your success