Stand Out With These 5 B2B Personal Branding Tips

by Paul Slack
  |  July 16, 2020  |  
July 16, 2020

5 Reasons to Use LinkedIn for B2B marketing

People do business with PEOPLE, not BRANDS. To ride the next digital wave, your company will need to harness the power of personal branding, and this will involve just about everyone who interacts with customers and prospects. Use these 5 B2B Personal Branding Tips and Tricks to get started and up your social media marketing game. 

Learn How to Stand Out With These 5 B2B Personal Branding Tips and Tricks

Back in the late ‘90s, during the Internet Boom, I was running around advising business leaders that they needed to build a website if they were going to remain relevant and competitive.   

The crazy thing is that many of the CEOs I spoke with disagreed. They would say things like “Paul, I have a sales team. We go to all the industry trade shows. We have brochures. We’re good. Nobody uses the Internet for business anyway.”

Looking back, we can all see how short-sided their perspective was. The Internet has absolutely revolutionized the way that all businesses market their products/services. 

Let’s pause a moment for dramatic effect…

Today, social media is just as important for connecting and engaging with customers and prospects as the Internet and websites were 20+ years ago.

However, there is a big difference. It’s no longer about static websites that are simply online copies of your brochures. It’s about human connection.  Posting content on your LinkedIn or Facebook company page isn’t nearly enough. That’s why personal branding is so critical today.

One of the biggest challenges B2B companies face today is figuring out how to leverage social media channels like LinkedIn to actually produce results. This is because most businesses haven’t figured the importance of personal branding. Companies need to make rockstars out of every customer/prospect-facing employee. 

What is Personal Branding?

Personal branding is a strategic approach to engaging with others via online platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok. The purpose is to establish individuals as authorities, thought leaders, and access points that enable them to deliver unique value to others online. The benefits of personal branding include achieving greater engagement and views of shared content, aiding and influencing buyers during the decision process, and ultimately generating more sales and reducing churn.  

Individual Benefits of Personal Branding

Social media is the most powerful networking opportunity of all time. When implemented correctly, individuals who engage in personal branding via social media, will not only benefit the company they work for but will also: 

  • Be seen as a more strategic and modern business leader
  • Tap into a broader/global peer network
  • Relate better to prospects, customers, co-workers, partners, and leadership 
  • Enhance career opportunities by becoming more digital-savvy
  • Learn and grow from a “hands-on” perspective of why social technologies are disrupting industries

Have your Team Follow These 5 Personal Branding Tips and Tricks to Set Them Apart From The Competition

Personal Branding Tip #1 – Optimize your personal profile/social presence

Your profile is the cornerstone of your online presence. This is the place where strangers will begin to get to know you. Just like meeting someone for the first time, or that initial visit to your website, you have just a few seconds to communicate how you can help them. If you blow it, they’ll be gone forever.

  • Write in 1st person – Pretend your ideal prospect is sitting across the desk from you. How would you explain your story and how your story and the company you work for uniquely qualifies you to help them.
  • Be a problem solver –  Be sure to begin by communicating what types of problems you can help people solve, not the products and services you provide. For example, don’t say “ have aspirin;” rather say, “I help people with headaches make the pain go away.” 
  • Include a call-to-action – Clearly state the steps the customer should take to get help. For example, should they call you, click on a link, register for a webinar to learn more, etc. Always communicate what they should expect or receive when they take the next step. 
  • Add multimedia – LinkedIn, for example, offers options for users to upload just about any type of media, including video, PowerPoint presentations, and PDFs. This is a great place to include company-developed resources for customers.

For more tips, check out our comprehensive blog on tips to optimize your LinkedIn profile.  

Personal Branding Tip #2 – Build Your Audience  

Start thinking of yourself as a personal media company. Just like ABC, NBC, CBS, Netflix, etc. The people you connect with via social media become your audience. Just like any successful media company, you need to grow your audience over time. Follow these steps to build your audience by connecting with others:

  • Build connections with everyone you meet – Anytime you meet someone new, be sure to connect or follow them in social media. The fact you met someone in the real world adds great context for developing a relationship in the online world.
  • Reach out to at least 5 people within targeted accounts, existing clients, vendors, and partners – You can find these contacts by using the search feature on LinkedIn. 
  • Connect with podcast hosts and guests – If you listen to podcasts (BTW you really need to if you aren’t), podcasts hosts and guests are fantastic connections. I listen to podcasts whenever I am working out or driving back and forth to work. I make a point to look up the guests on LinkedIn, mentioning where I heard their interview, and asking them to connect. 

Personal Branding Tips

  • Senior leadership – Check out who is connected to the leaders in your company. The leaders often have many industry and client connections.
  • CRM & eMail Contacts – You can upload a CRM list and email contacts on LinkedIn to expand your connections. 
  • Feel free to connect with me – Send me a connection request and let me know you read this blog and I’ll be happy to connect with you! I have over 11,000 connections, so check them out and let me know if you would like me to make an introduction.

Personal Branding Tip #3 – Engaging with Others

Personal branding happens primarily on social media. The word “social” implies that we are interacting and building relationships with other humans. Here are some basic best practices for nurturing relationships and engaging with others via social media:

  • Send a “thanks for connecting” message – When someone accepts your connection request, take the time to send them a “thank you” for connecting message. Start by visiting their profile and find some common interest to mention in your message. Good choices could be your alma mater, shared groups, or connections. You might send a message like: “Hi Joe; thanks for connecting. I look forward to following your posts. It looks like we are both connected to Phil Smith. Let’s stay in touch. Cheers! Paul
  • Like, share, comment – One of the quickest ways to get the attention of your audience is to engage with their posts. Commenting on a post really helps get more organic reach on LinkedIn because posts with comments trigger the algorithm to show the post more often.  
  • Be active in a LinkedIn Group – Find 1-3 groups that include your prospective customer and become the voice for your industry within that group. Avoid groups that are full of competitors. We would love for you to join our LinkedIn Group, Marketing Rules! There you will find useful information on B2B marketing best practices. 
  • Leverage Direct Messaging – The DM feature in social media is better than email because you have direct access to an inbox that isn’t nearly as full as their email inbox. If you happen to DM someone while they are also online, you have the added advantage of being able to strike up a real-time conversation.
  • Avoided premature presentation – Nobody likes the unsolicited pitch. When you engage in social media, you must be personal and relevant. Automated pitches blasted to prospects will have a negative impact. 
  • Power of the green dot! – LinkedIn will show you who is also online by putting a green dot next to their avatar. This gives you a great chance to engage in a real-time conversion. 
  • Tag in your audience – Tagging your audience in a post is a great way to engage your audience and start a discussion. A simple way to do this would be to share a post and then in the comments tag 3-5 people in and ask for their opinion. 

Personal Branding Tips

Personal Branding Tip #4 – Posting Sharing Content

The secret weapon of personal branding is sharing content. Did you know that less than 1% of LinkedIn users actually post content? With LinkedIn quickly becoming the hottest social platform, this creates a tremendous opportunity. Follow these best practices for creating and sharing content that will get you noticed: 

  • Think of it like a mixed tape – When I was in high school, if you liked someone, you would make them a mixed tape. This required thinking about what kind of music they enjoyed. If they were into Duran Duran, you wouldn’t want to give them a tape full of headbanger songs. I know I am dating myself here and apologize to those who don’t know what a mixed tape is or who Duran Duran is 🙂 The same is true with sharing content on social. Spend time learning what your audience wants and needs to know and build your content plan accordingly.  
  • Tell a story – Stories draw us in. The best social posts will educate and inform your audience while telling them a story.  
  • Drop links in the comments – This is a trick that works well on LinkedIn. Posts with links in the post perform worse than posts where the link is added in the comments.

Personal Branding Tips

  • Leverage Engagement Alliances – Getting engagement on your posts within the first hour is critical for the post to take off and get as many views as possible. One way to accomplish this is to have an alliance of people who work together to engage with each other’s content as soon as it goes out. This can be easily managed through direct messages. Start by creating a DM thread with your trusted friends. When anyone has a new post, they drop a link to the post in the thread so everyone will get notified and can easily get to the post.

Personal Branding Tip #5 – Be Yourself

This last tip is the most important one. We can all “Google it” to stay informed and up-to-date on any topic,  so being yourself and incorporating what makes you “you” into your social channels is the thing that will make you stand out and connect with your audience.. Personal Branding is personal, so follow these tips to be more authentic. Grab a piece of paper or open up a Google Doc and think about all the different aspects of your life. 

  1. What are all your roles? (for example, Dad, Husband, CEO, etc.)
  2. What are the things you love to do? (for example; hiking, mountain biking, running triathlons, backpacking the Appalachian Trail, playing disc golf, chilling by the pool, etc.)
  3. What types of trips do you like to go on? (cruises, beaches, mountains, exotic cultures, etc.)
  4. What are your favorite/least favorite foods? (foods bring people together)
  5. What are your interests/hobbies/passions? (for example; 80’s music, binge-watching a series on Netflix, making homebrew, fishing, etc.)
  6. What are you trying to accomplish/who do you want to become (to motivate others, to buy the New York Jets, start a business, help others start businesses, etc.)
  7. What are your strengths/weaknesses? (bringing people together, making difficult concepts easy to understand, terrible speller, social anxiety, etc.)
  8. What are statements that get you going (seize the day, life’s an adventure, etc.)
  9. What are your pet peeves (mac people, not saying thank you, being late to meetings, not being able to fast forward commercials on Hulu, etc.)
  10. What are your best/worst traits (dependable, integrity, can take things over, passive-aggressive, etc.)
  11. What are your Meyers Briggs, Enneagram, DISC, Strengths Finders, personality types?

Now take 1-2 items on your list and try and integrate it into every post. The key is to connect this item with the value you want to deliver. personal branding tips

Learn how to leverage personal branding and digital marketing to generate more leads for your business.

Vende has developed two online courses that can help your business generate more leads and sales with personal branding and digital marketing. You can learn more about our Social Selling and B2B Lead Funnel Framework Courses here. 

Now is the time to gather the troops and discuss the importance of social networking and personal branding. You don’t want to be like those naive CEOs who thought that the Internet and websites weren’t critical to their businesses back in the late ‘90s.   

There is still time to catch this wave ahead of your competitors. Get started now, and you’ll be glad you did.

Key Takeaways

Get the conversation started with your C-Suite and Sales Team, helping them understand the importance of social networking and personal branding. Show them how to:

  • Leverage personal branding to connect digitally with prospects and customers
  • Establish and grow relationships online and move opportunities into the real world
  • Deliver information that establishes them as subject matter experts
  • Humanize their online engagement, so they come across as humans and not robots

Here is a short video on B2B Personal Branding you can share with your team

How Can We Help?

Do you need help equipping your team to engage in personal branding in a way that will produce real results? We offer strategic planning, training, and execution support for companies wanting to take their Account Based Marketing to the next level leveraging social networking.  If you are interested in learning more, sign up for a complimentary initial consultation/discovery meeting. Schedule yours today, and let’s see if we can help.

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