It’s important for emerging business leaders to know that customers don’t buy from faceless corporations; they buy from people and people have reputations.
In 2018, billionaire businessman and former CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, was in a controversial situation and this had an impact on his company. With these controversies, Uber saw a decline in its reputation. Later, Dara Khosrowshahi took over and introduced new initiatives, including new policies on sexual harassment proceedings and Uber was back on their grind.
Removing Kalanick as the face of Uber gave the brand a chance to set things right. Clearly, your reputation as a leader can either make or mar your bottom line. When you’re the image of your business, you become in the public/media eye—for better or for worse—so the brand you develop online and in the press needs to appeal to your audience.
Your personal brand needs to have a consistent voice with one core message. Taking a look at Instagram’s account on Instagram, they share breathtaking images shared by their users. They also have a theme that’s centred on sharing unique stories that project’s the potential of the platform.
To get on a platform, you must ask yourself ‘What am I doing on this platform’. Not asking this question is the number one mistake people make with a personal brand. You should make an effort to define your mission.
When you get on a platform and define your mission, you must stick to it. When people connect with you for a specific reason and you don’t do good on it, the connection loses value and it’s either lost or ignored.
If you want to cultivate a successful personal brand, you need to decide how many platforms you will use and how you will communicate on them. Each platform has it’s rules and you should study them.
If you are not quite certain on the kind of content you can create, they have been grouped into four. This method is what is used to build up great content using the Influence Design .
Align these four categories with specific online platforms and you’ll start your journey to a delightful personal brand loved by peers, colleagues, and customers alike.
1) Core Message – Remember when we said you should have a mission? Exactly! It helps form your core message. Why are you here? What do you want to be known for? When your name is mentioned, how do you want to be described? There are a plethora of messages to chose from. You have to decide which one aligns with your experiences, profession, personality, goals and so on. As you scroll on this platform, you can tell that one thing that someone is always talking about. Decide yours.
2) Activities – Talking about your hobbies and the ways you have fun is another way to attract followers. Ultimately, sharing a bit of your lifestyle/interest will make people fall head over heels for you. Love to dance? Share some shots of the moment. Are you a book worm? Post about the most recent book you’re reading. Hanging out with your fantastic 4? It’s a great way to tell people about the gift of friendship. These posts allow members of your community to relate to you. You can accomplish a lot on even one platform. Write a post about your family (Emeka Nobis does this), go live after a business meeting (Just so you know, Facebook Live maximizes organic reach), and post a Q/A question about a request your kids made. For example –
Shade wants me to buy her a toy car. I’m surprised she is asking for a car as a girl. My girl is about to horn her inner Jim Clark. Should I buy it for her?
A. Oh yeah sure!
B. Na. She will be fine with a Cinderella doll.
That’s an example and it doesn’t mean that the public gets to make a decision for your family. It is a way of engaging them and having fun. A great personal brand feels like an organic extension of your life rather than part of a to-do list. Including activities in your content mix shouldn’t require a massive routine change. That’s important because you don’t have an hour to spend planning epic content. Don’t make this harder than it needs to be.
3) Values – What are those values you hold in high esteem? After seeing the movie, the ultimate gift, I decided that those gifts are great values every business leader/personal brand should have. They are – work, money, friends, learning, problems, family, laughter, dreams, giving, gratitude, a day, love. There are tons of others that exist and we pick up as we journey. My point here is that you can share these as content. Let’s take the family for example.
Nobody will be attracted to a personal profile that’s like a company billboard. You have to show people that you are human. Some people document their children’s escapades (Timi Dakolo is an example here). At the end of the day, people don’t just follow him because they want to see what next he is recording, they want to see photos and stories of his three beautiful kids.
If you have have a hard time creating content, there’s an easy way. Don’t try too hard. Capture what’s real. This will require a level of vulnerability. “Include your kids in social media” isn’t a written rule. Gary Vaynerchuk doesn’t post about his kids despite massive following but you see he has been able to leverage activities and core message greatly. The point here is to have boundaries in place. Know what you will NOT feature, and be sure you stick to your guns on it.
Another example here is the value of work. While you are all about telling people to engage in legitimate ways of making money, sharing money making ideas etc, you may as well share about your work/occupation. It solidifies your points so you won’t be seen as someone who talks without doing.
You can shine the light on other people and their work. Appreciate them ( Wole Oluyemico on Instagram does this). You can shine the light on your employees and praise them for doing great work or even celebrate a customer for an achievement. You can share behind the scenes of your business and show us all the ninja stunts you pull and how your successful company stays running (Evans Akanno does this).
Sales content is a also great because amidst all these you have to sell your products/services. Let your community know when you have a product up for a sale. At most, though, no more than 20% of your posts should be sales content. When your personal brand fire is really burning, you’ll attract customers without a issuing always talking of sales (Ask John Obidi).
4. Thoughts –
You became a business leader because you have tons of valuable (and interesting) experiences in life, career, in your industry, in the world. People respect thought leaders with original, insightful and compelling thoughts. As you go through your day, don’t be afraid to share your work-related musings, best practices, experiences, successes, lessons and failures. Social media is all about micro-moments, so don’t be afraid to write and post as a thought occurs to you.
Think about the respectable personalities you know who have gained traction. Even if you don’t agree with their opinions, if those opinions are authoritative, respectfully worded, and communicated consistently, you’ll remember their platforms. Follow this model by embracing your experience and sharing your unique, compelling, and respectful thoughts.
There is no doubt that a leader’s personal brand has an impact on the success or failure of their venture/movement/company. Be the type of leader that attracts all the right digital attention for all the right reasons. Start by establishing your mission and the type of content you want to post (and where you will post it), then let your personal brand grow alongside your business.