While we’re all well aware that your brand needs to not only be on social but to have a strategy and a plan behind your output, one key element which often gets overlooked is the social ubiquity of the entrepreneur themselves.
Entrepreneurialism has received quite the boost in popularity in recent years in line with the growth of the internet, and that increased attention has resulted in a ton of entrepreneurs and business owners solidifying a strong social presence for themselves. The world isn’t just watching your brand - they’re watching you, too. More closely than you’d think.
For those who aren’t naturally social media-inclined, building a profile for yourself online could feel like quite the insurmountable task, but there are numerous of genuine benefits for your company associated with the work you’ll be putting in personally. Here are just a few of them.
Personal Branding Leads To Sales
When you have a strong personal brand online, that can only lead to more interest in your business, and in turn, generate sales. There are a ton of entrepreneurs whose brands are literally driving their businesses, and Richard Branson is the first one that comes to mind. With literally hundreds of Virgin companies to his name, Sir Branson is so likeable and personable and his PR antics are so zany that you can’t help but pay attention to whatever it is that he’s up to. Whether you buy from him or not initially, there’s a big chance that at some point in the future you will.
Another individual who exemplifies this is Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of the VaynerMedia agency. For the few of you who don’t know his story, Gary started out in his father’s wine business at the age of 14, but his big claim to fame was being a first mover on YouTube with Wine Library TV. That was the beginning of the creation of his personal brand online, and he continued to jump into the new platforms to own them early (Tumblr, Vine, etc). He was huge on Twitter back in 2007 and his momentum hasn’t slowed down since. When Gary started VaynerMedia back in 2009, he was able to leverage his sizeable following and strong personal brand online to land some early clients, and his growth has been staggering ever since. Vayner is now valued at more than $200 million, and while we can’t entirely credit Gary for that personally, his online brand sure had a lot to do with it.
Real Time Consumer Feedback
As consumers are becoming more and more comfortable interacting with brands online, there’s still nothing like talking to an account that represents an actual human. One of the best examples of how to use social media for real time feedback comes from Airbnb founder Brian Chesky. On Christmas Night 2016, he tweeted “If @Airbnb could launch anything in 2017, what would it be?” This was a genius move, and it resulted in numerous helpful suggestions that Airbnb actually deployed, including multiple requests to take Bitcoin as payment.
This fantastic move worked for two reasons. Firstly, Brian took out his personal time on Christmas Night, of all nights, to talk to his dedicated followers to find out what they really wanted from his company. This shows a dedication not only to the brand but to the customers, and clearly people responded positively. Secondly, it allowed people to chat directly to a CEO of a major worldwide organization in a feedback loop rather than to tweet at a faceless brand, and that fact very likely encouraged them to engage. Brian’s tweet was so impactful that Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey took a leaf out of his book and asked his followers “Following in the footsteps of Brian Chesky: what’s the most important thing you want to see Twitter improve or create in 2017? #Twitter2017”
Your Brand Transcends Your Companies
Sometimes people know the brand, and sometimes they know the CEO behind it. While Tesla and SpaceX are both super well-known and well-funded companies, Elon Musk is truly the brand behind the brands. As with most visionary CEOs (see Steve Jobs), Elon is quite the character, with his work often shrouded in mystery alongside abundant stories about his legendary temper. But on Twitter, Elon is informative, educational and entertaining, and that only strengthens his personal brand, creating a follow through to his companies.
Our favourite tweet from Elon was when he took a simple message about regularing AI and robotics as we do cars and planes, and gave it his own flavour by signing off with a link to the YouTube music video of Warren G and Nate Dogg’s classic “Regulate”.
The genius behind this move is that only Elon could get away with this sort of tongue-in-cheek, playful behaviour online. The timelines of both Tesla and SpaceX are much too serious to be posting rap videos, but the personality that Elon has created for himself allows for him to get away with it, and his followers love him for it. As an individual who is literally working tirelessly to change the world as we know it, it’s comforting to know that as driven and accomplished as he is, he’s just a Hip Hop fan like the rest of us and all that does is make us love Tesla and SpaceX more.
Ready to step up your online presence with a social strategy tailored to your personal brand? Let's get started.