I’ve written before about making the mental shift on social socializing. It seems like every conference we attend, from Rainmaker to Hypergrowth to Dreamforce, more and more people are coming up to Morgan and I with questions about personal brand building. Here are some of the best practices we’ve found when it comes to building, and leveraging our personal brands, specifically on LinkedIn in 2019.
A few years ago, simply sharing articles was enough to be considered “social selling.” Putting together an original piece or sharing someone else’s article with some context and adding some value to your prospects or customers was good enough to amplify your brand.
Time has changed, and these are the trends we’re seeing and having success with ourselves.
Building a Personal Brand
Building a personal brand is like opening a bank account. You can’t just start making withdrawals without putting anything in first. Often we forget about the social part of social media and social selling. Gary V talks about jab, jab, jab, right hook, which means give, give, give, ask. This is just as true on social media. If you are constantly asking – asking to download a white paper, asking to meet, asking to buy something, your audience will ignore you. First, you need to give. Giving on social media could be sharing something useful for your customers, sharing insight, commenting, or engaging with your network.
Here at JBarrows we give away the majority of our content in the form of bite-sized nuggets and tips. If anyone really wanted to they could go to my blog and resource library and put together about 80% of what people pay me to deliver on site. As a trainer, sharing this type of valuable content was unheard of only a few years ago because you wanted to protect your IP. Now, it’s the exact opposite. You want to get as much of your content out there so people can see the value you bring and then they will want more. I’m busier now than I ever have been and there is a direct correlation to the amount of valuable content I share.
Stay Consistent with your Posting Frequency
When you start out posting to LinkedIn, it’s easy to get excited and do three videos your first week. All too often, we see a few posts from someone then they stop for a few weeks. A great example of consistency comes from our recent podcast guest, Jason Bay. He shares how every two weeks he does an email breakdown on LinkedIn. Jake Dunlap makes a point to post every day and rarely plugs his company, Skaled.
Getting in front of the camera can be intimidating, especially at first, but the only way to get better is to keep doing. Nothing shows your personality, character, and who you are like video (short of meeting in person). You don’t need to do a fancy video shoot in studio on a $10,000 camera with tons of editing after the fact. Dave Gerhardt from Drift routinely gets 100K views using only his phone, and he broke down how he does this in this blog post.
Morgan is another proof point of the value of personal brand building and using video. If he wasn’t posting videos on Linkedin and YouTube, I would have never known he existed. Now he’s flying all over the world training some incredible companies for JBarrows and it’s all because I saw him in my feed and liked what he was putting out there.
Text posts get a benefit in reach over links and images
One thing we and others have noticed is that text-based posts tend to be seen by more people on LinkedIn. This can be great when you’re first starting out building a personal brand. If you do want to add a link, add it in the comments. It’s important to note that this is true at the time of this post in March 2019 and may change in the future.
If you post to LinkedIn, and nobody engages with it, did you even post it? Make sure you’re engaging with others first, and there will be reciprocation. As you’ve started engaging with others, you can also ask for engagement. For example, if you see a customer share a great piece of feedback, and you want to help maximize the reach of that post, copy the URL of the post and paste it in a Slack channel that you think may benefit from that post. One thing we’ve noticed is that hitting share has almost no impact on increasing the reach of the post. Instead, aim to like and comment on the post to have that LinkedIn post show up within your network.
As a side but related note, please don’t abuse tagging people in your posts. I get tagged, along with 50 other “influencers” in hundreds of posts a month and it’s pretty annoying. If you want me to comment on your post, then address me directly and say something about why you’re interested in my opinion. If you just lump me into the other 50 people you are tagging in your post in the hopes that we will engage you probably won’t get the response you’re looking for.
Use social to be social! I get way too many messages from people I don’t even know wishing me a happy birthday or wishing me a work anniversary. I might say thanks, but generally, I don’t remember these messages five minutes later. What I do remember, are people reaching out, saying things like the impact my training had on them personally and career-wise or they enjoyed an episode of the podcast. It doesn’t take a lot to reach out to someone before you need to.
As you start to build your personal brand, don’t be afraid to move to direct messages with people who you’re frequently engaging with.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator Tip
We recently tried this our and were thrilled by how big our close network was. This can be a great way to start finding opportunities in your own network but does require the additional filters in LinkedIn Sales Navigator. In Sales Navigator, create a search for your Ideal Customer Profile. For us, it’s Directors and above, in sales, at companies over 50 employees. You can also filter down by geography if you are headed to a specific city, for example, San Francisco, and looking to book meetings. Even if you aren’t actively selling to these accounts, talking to your network can be a great way to find priorities, the language of your ICP, introductions, and even opportunities.
Connect With People Literally Near You
Did you know you can connect to those around you via Bluetooth? This is incredibly useful for events and meetups, visiting a new office in-person and even at the airport. From the mobile app tap my network and choose “Find Nearby”. This will allow you to connect with others who have turned this on. Here are the full instructions on how to do this from LinkedIn.
Make It Happen!