“Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken.”Oscar Wilde
This quote by the renowned Irish poet Oscar Wilde, perfectly points out how important is your personal brand.
Building a personal brand is as important for entrepreneurs and SaaS founders or perhaps even more than building their SaaS business. For new entrepreneurs, this is particularly crucial as potential customers and prospects equate the founder’s personal brand to that of the start-up or brand.
Many founders of successful companies and businesses are very active on social media platforms and are a brand in themselves. Let us take a few examples.
Neil Patel who is considered the master of online marketing has built his personal brand using the power of social media. It has also significantly helped his business.
Neil Patel has over 1 million followers on Facebook, 434.3k followers on LinkedIn, 424.6k followers on Twitter and 307k followers on Instagram. It has made him a thought leader and brings his company 10 million visitors a month from 180 countries.
Rand Fishkin is a world-renowned SEO expert who ran the extremely popular SEO company and blog: Moz. When he launched the software company SparkToro, his active presence on Twitter and his personal brand helped the company to get instant popularity.
Benefits of Personal Branding Using Social Media
So, other than making you famous, what are the benefits of personal branding using social media, you may ask?
A start-up in its early stages needs credibility to grow and the founder’s personal brand can be a catalyst in the success of the venture. Other than that, it also serves a variety of other purposes. Some of them include:
Social media showcases your thought leadership
Aside from having your own website like what Poptin Co-Founder Gal Dubinski did, social media can also help to elevate your status to that of a thought leader and a trusted expert. By sharing industry titbits, relevant articles, insights, and news, you will continue to attract your industry network.
2. Make valuable connections through social media
By choosing the right social media platforms you can make valuable connections with your peers, colleagues, existing and potential customers, and other important groups
Social media enhances your company’s visibility
The attention you get personally on social media also has a trickling effect on your SaaS business and your product/service.
You can help others through social media
Once you are considered a trusted resource, you can help others who are seeking information or have a question. It also helps in securing future customers.
Social media can help you get answers
You may also have some questions like what to do next, what kind of content will people like, or say you are planning to launch another SaaS product or service. You can ask questions to your followers, run a survey, conduct a poll, and get valuable information.
Social media can help in content curation
Through social media, you can not only share your original content but also quality content from other industry leaders and influencers. This establishes your position as a good social media neighbor and a trusted resource.
Social media helps to leverage your brand to build partnerships
You can connect with other people in your industry with whom you can forge future business relationships. You can also connect and partner with business owners and benefit from audiences that are common to both.
Top Tips on How To Get Started
Execution is the key. So here are some top tips on how to build a personal brand using social media.
1. Find your passion to determine your brand persona
Your personal brand should be centered around your expertise, and passion which adds value to other people’s lives.
Start by finding the areas of your interest and narrow them down to a specific niche. For instance, Laura Roeder founder of two successful SaaS start-ups mentions her niche is in teaching social media marketing.
Ensure that your personal brand aligns with and reflects your likes and preferences and that of the company. As people equate your personal brand with that of the company, there should not be a mismatch as well.
An example in point is that of Elon Musk whose personal brand aligns with that of his companies Tesla and SpaceX. He is very active on social media and his posts resonate with the brand personality of his companies.
2. Grow your social footprint
Anything you do on social media or outside social media contributes to your social footprint. To build a personal brand, you need to grow your social footprint that resonates with your audience.
Some of the things you should keep in mind are:
- Rather than being active on all social media platforms, focus on the relevant social media platforms. LinkedIn is perceived to be the most appropriate platform for SaaS founders, but contrary to that belief, other platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even TikTok can be used to gain thousands of followers and pass them on to other platforms. You can use social media management tools to manage your various social media platforms easily.
- Create social media profiles that reflect your passion and personality. Your bio/profile is the first thing people notice and that should be warm and authentic. Use a clear picture. People wish to visualize who they are connecting with.
- Fully update your social media profile and ensure all information is accurate. Delete any old accounts you no longer use
- An appealing headline can add to your personal brand. You can use that headline as your banner image on social media platforms
3. Cross-promote your personal website and other social media platforms
Since you are active on more than one social media platform, it is important to connect and cross-promote your networks. In this way, it is easier for your followers to connect on other platforms and consume the content you share.
One good tip is to build your personal website and cross-promote all your social media links via exit intent pop-ups. Also, ensure that the website also has a USP other than your business.
An example here is the personal website of Des Traynor, founder of Intercom which is a customer communication platform. On his personal website, he consolidates his online presence. But he primarily uses it to connect to his followers on subjects not relevant to his business.
4. Consider yourself as a business entity too
Tom Peters, a well-known management guru had rightly said,
“All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
To build a personal brand, consider yourself too as a business entity. Build a calendar and a diverse content plan to ensure a variation in the types of posts you publish. To manage your content and digital assets easily and efficiently, you can use a Digital Asset Management solution.
Joining the right groups on platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook can also help in establishing your personal brand. Position yourself as a trustworthy voice where people can go to look for help or advice.
Once you have sizable traction in groups, you can also open a private group to nurture your following.
5. Connect with influencers and get on Influencer marketplaces and listing sites
Connect with your industry influencers and even with those outside your discipline. One easy way is to look at a list of recommended people when you look at the profile of an influencer you admire.
To get yourself noticed, get on influencer marketplaces and listing sites. An Influencer marketplace is an online platform that lists influencers and connects them with marketers and other relevant audiences.
6. Meaningful engagement with the audience
The type of content you post is a determining factor in building your personal brand. Share as much as your original thoughts, experiences, and opinions. People also expect thought leaders to speak about current issues. Do not shy from sharing your opinion on important issues. Be courteous and decent and also appreciate people having varying viewpoints.
The communication need not be only one-sided. Ensure a meaningful engagement by following people back, replying to comments, answering questions, and even responding to criticisms constructively.
Ankur Warikoo, an entrepreneur and an Indian author uses social media extensively to meaningfully engage with his audience. He tweets regularly to share his unfiltered thoughts and also engages his audience actively by having polls, contests, and posting about important issues.
For SaaS founders, building a personal brand is as important as building their business. Those businesses whose founders have a strong personal brand have done very well as people equate a successful personal brand with their venture or start-up.
Building a strong personal brand using social media is hard work and needs consistent efforts. This article will help you in understanding the basics and benefits of personal branding and how to go about it with helpful tips and relevant examples.
Tim Ferguson is a writer and editor of Marketing Digest. He helps marketing agencies with SEO, link building, content marketing, online reputation management, and blogger outreach. When he is not writing and editing for Marketing Digest, he spends time learning more about content marketing and getting better at it.