I want to discuss arguably one of the most important aspects of being a professional in the marketing space, and something I believe has helped CROSSNET earn over $30M in revenue, as well as building a personal brand.
Now I can’t take credit for everything because we have a ridiculously talented team, but the personal brand has helped us lock down incredible retailers like Walmart & Dicks, partnerships with USA Volleyball and massive celebrities, and even establish relationships with advisors so I can “pick people’s brand” who are way more talented and senior than I am.
I talk to so many people monthly who are nervous or don’t know what to say online. They think they are frauds or don’t have something to say, which could not be further from the truth. Regardless if you’re just launching your brand, doing $100M in revenue and scaling your brand, or you’ve been brainstorming an idea for months, you have a story to tell.
Every post will not be a home run. The ones you think are going to do great will be terrible. The ones that you type out on the toilet four seconds before you jump into the shower will go viral.
You have to simply be persistent. Keep posting, and don’t pay attention to what other people think.
If you’re nervous about what other people will think about you posting, then you’ll never make it in business. Put in the reps. Don’t give me the excuse that you don’t have time even if you need to calendar out 20 minutes to write down some posts for the entire week and streamline it.
Share your story in every way possible.
Building your personal brand dos & don'ts
A personal brand is more than a résumé or Instagram grid. It is the essence of you, curated as a formalized expression of your outward professional self. It’s a code you live by in every way that you engage and operate in the world.
Your personal brand is for and about you, but its central intent is to connect with others. Here, we’ll take you step by step through the process of building your own personal brand that packages the best you in a way that resonates with your target audience.
A strong personal brand lives within you but it takes cultivating to bring it into focus and onto the page. Ahead, learn the steps to developing a personal branding strategy that tells your story across your personal website, your content marketing efforts, and beyond.
Building a personal brand that is true to you and your values is crucial. Authenticity helps you build trust with your audience. I’m not a corporate-y guy, hell, I was fired from my job for apparently not having enough sales acumen…whatever that means. Now I’m closing deals with massive retail stores. What a dumbass. Keep it casual and be yourself. There’s only one of you.
Find out something good? Share it. Learn a tough lesson? Help the future you avoid making that same mistake. Providing value will allow you to develop into an industry expert and grow your following.
Engage with your audience and followers
Don’t leave comments unanswered. Ask for feedback. Pose open questions to the community. Ask for help? Some of my favorite LinkedIn posts have been requests to get onto QVC, getting my PayPal unlocked and freeing $150k and quick odd jobs
Consistency is key
Be consistent in the tone, message, and frequency of your content. If you’re serious about this, you gotta be posting daily. If burnout is a concern, checkout my guide to find balance and stay on track.
Connect with people you can learn from
Networking isn’t a new thing, but be intentional. Connect with people that you’d like to learn from, do business with, or could be helpful to you down the road just don’t spam them right away asking them to talk.
Don't be overly promotional
While it's essential to showcase your work, avoid coming across as too promotional. Your focus should be on providing value rather than constantly promoting yourself.
Don't own more than two platforms
I recommend sticking to seriously owning one or two platforms. Just like business, don’t try to do EVERYTHING or you’ll suck at it all. I’ve chosen LinkedIn & Twitter as my two social media networks. I don’t have the time to build out the Facebook or Instagram profiles and to be actively doing the whole Chris Meade LLC thing on there. LinkedIn connects me with retail buyers & smarter people. Twitter lets me make friends and follow sports. Pretty compelling stuff.
Don't be spammy
Don’t mass message people your calendar link to chat or send them bullshit spammy messages. Real entrepreneurs can sniff out automated messages a mile away. Be genuine if you’re looking to make a new connection.
Don't give up
Pretty self-explanatory, but remember, consistency is key. Don't give up because you didn’t see traction in the first week or month.
How to build legitimacy
Building legitimacy is an internal and external practice—and it can't be faked. Showing up consistently, intentionally, and authentically helps build a sense of legitimacy around you and your brand. Here are some tips to effective growing legitimacy and trust in the long run from ongoing participation and contribution.
Continuously educate yourself
Being up to date with the current trends is the best way to stay relevant and be in the know. The second I stop working on CROSSNET, you guys will stop reading this newsletter. Nobody wants to learn from a has-been or somebody who’s living in the past.
Take this shit seriously (!)
Build a personal website if you have something to offer. Have a good headshot. Build out the LinkedIn portfolio. Have a graphic designer make your Twitter header look nice. Actively participate in communities. It'll go a long way.
Social proof is your BFF
If you’re growing a software brand or a newsletter, leverage testimonials and case studies. This social proof can help build your legitimacy and can go a long way in helping you make connections.
Network and collaborate
Attend industry conferences, participate in webinars, and ask to speak on panels. My first podcast probably got listened to by 3 people (2 if you don’t count my mom). You have to start somewhere. Next week I’m speaking to 1000 people at the Alibaba event on the main stage…. My wife barely wants to listen to me haha.
Put yourself out there
Ask for that coffee or lunch date. I used to hate the whole song and dance of networking. I now have a ridiculous list of contacts that I can call on at any moment for anything. Everything compounds.
Balancing Bragging with Educating
Striking the right balance between showcasing your accomplishments and providing value is super important. Nobody wants to see you bragging about how much money you make and it makes you look like a jerk.
Find a balance between educating your audience on how you are making money and growing the brand, versus just publicly celebrating. As I mentioned earlier, providing value should be top priority.
Share informative articles, industry trends, and tips to help people learn. Position yourself as a reliable source of knowledge in your niche.
You lose trust way quicker than you gain it
One shady thing can remove years of hard work. Don’t be stupid.
Share the wins but make the people feel involved!
Shout out to your team and your employees. None of this happens without them.
Relatability is key to all of this
People who are just starting their own brand want to feel like they are talking directly to you.
Collaborate with others
Invite industry experts for interviews or guest posts to share their knowledge with your audience. This not only adds value to your content, but also expands your network.
The benefits are plenty
Establishing a strong personal brand as a marketing professional has several benefits and will never leave you worse off.
- Having a strong personal brand sets you apart from the competition and increases your visibility in your industry. People are more likely to listen to and want to work with someone who is on the ball and constantly sharing versus someone who is not making an effort to be very present in the industry
- Massive press and partnership opportunities for your brand
- Retail & distribution leads come inbound more frequently
- A strong personal brand can open up new opportunities for speaking engagements, job offers, and collaborations
You never know what's going to happen. One day everything could be going amazing, the next, your company goes out of business and you’re looking for a job. You’ll be damn happy you built that personal brand to fall back on and help that job search. It’s like, why do I pay for health insurance when I’m 30? You just never know.
Using feedback to improve your products and company
What better way to improve your products than getting feedback from your audience?
Listen to feedback
Pay close attention to feedback from your audience, and take necessary steps to address any concerns or suggestions they may have. You will never be done learning and improving, so it’s important to act like it at all times.
Use your feedback to positively change your products/services or your company's approach.
Although you may be getting feedback from your audience, you’re also showing them appreciation if you’re hooking them up with some products. A complete win, win.
P.S. If you have any specific questions simply shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you enjoyed this I write a weekly newsletter on entrepreneurship called Crossed Commerce. You can subscribe here.