I recently gave a keynote around personal branding. Because there was such a good response from the audience I decided to break it down in a quick read. Not a 25-minute talk. Personal branding—what is it and why is it important? Whenever I am asked what a personal brand is, this is the easiest way to explain it. It is your reputation—online or offline, it is the way others perceive you. While it's important for several reasons, there are two reasons that I like to refer too. There is an old saying "it's not what you know, it's who you know." Now while this statement holds a lot of truth, in the age of technology and massive disruption, "it's not so much who you know, as much as it is who knows you."
The second reason is that your audience wants authenticity. They want something that is vulnerable and real—this is why influencer marketing has become such a powerful tool to large brands. MuseFind shows that 92% of consumers trust an influencer more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement. Although hiring big influencers can get expensive for entrepreneurs and small startups there is still a way to connect with your audience on a very real level.
Build a personal brand. It is important to have your brand diversified across all platforms but LinkedIn is a genius place to start. For years, LinkedIn has been known as a "professional non-content" platform. I have had numerous people reach and ask what the heck I am doing creating videos on this platform. The answer is always the same; according to Statista there are well over 2 billion active users on Facebook, over 1 billion active users on Instagram, and 1.8 billion active users on YouTube. Having a strong presence in these platforms is extremely smart but if you are just starting out—go where you have the greatest reach.
In less than a year, I have received over 1 million views on my content all through organic reach on LinkedIn. I'd say that is a smart choice. Building a personal brand takes work, there is no question in that. There will be days that you simply don't feel like creating, there will be days that make you question your approach, and there will be haters. Because of this—knowing how to build a solid foundation is so very important. There are 3 lessons that I make sure every new client understands when we start building their brand.
"The clouds—the high-end philosophy of what you believe—and the dirt—the low-down subject matter expertise that allows you to execute against it. Forget about everything else."
I get this on so many levels, I am a blue-collar worker in a white-collar world. Most who know me, know I had an adopted father who wasn't exactly a good person. Years after my mom left him, she re-married a 'good-ole' country boy. He would wake me up as a 15-year-kid at 5 AM to go' clear the land, or build a porch.' "Blue-collar" work. From that point on, every summer. I worked. Hard, back-breaking, work. I respect work and I love it. However, when you're a dreamer surrounded by status quo, you receive opposition.
I believe you become an UnderDog for two simple reasons:
While the world of entrepreneurship is small in the grand scheme of 7 billion people in the world. It is strong and it is supportive. When you are chasing something bigger than you, you will have haters and while I love the process of helping others. Some days are hard, some are lonely, and a lot of them are long. On those days—I want you to know you are not alone. You are a part of something bigger and you are making a difference.
I have a free Facebook group (sorry LinkedIn) just for the UnderDogs. There is no selling (that is rule number one), only support. But there are amazing people and if you want to be a part of that community, let me know and I will send you the link. If you are wanting to build a personal brand, you can schedule a free 15-minute consultation call with me to chat more about it.
Always remember, you are not alone, and you are worth everything!
With love and hope, Jacob.
Jacob is a Branding Strategist, Keynote Speaker and Founder of UnderDog Social. He believes the greatest achievements are done by those that were told they couldn't. He focuses on helping entrepreneurs, founders, and 'side-hustler's' sell through the story by building a personal brand and marketing their company brand through the art of storytelling. Having a rough upbringing taught him the importance of taking responsibility, building solid relationships, and valuing a fun work environment. His content has been viewed over a million times. His hope is to empower a community of people to be better and do more than anyone thought possible.