Personal branding was accidental for me. It was years after I got public that I realised what I’ve done all along is personal brand myself. In the early days when I’ve started my account on Facebook to share my newly married life in Australia, I thought that was what social media is about – sharing (or showing) what you have. I was expecting people to like me, or love me, or made me famous.
Ten years ago, I started an account on Facebook just to share my family blog stories and pictures of my children. I was attracting mainly mothers, who went on to support my small home based business selling Bebebows. That went on to 15,000 fans on Bebebows’ Facebook page, and the years after, I started many others business and even my own fan page. This went to a total of 200,000 followers on social media although my businesses are not even global yet. It was just the local people, who supported my business and more importantly, following my journey as a mompreneur who clearly is obsessed with building businesses. As of today, I’ve shut down both my personal Instagram and Facebook page.
The real price of publicity.
Attracting people can mean two consequences – either people will love you or they will hate you. Their emotions have nothing to do with you but the way they naturally are, and god knows as to why they harbour liking or disliking to whatever it is you do. But the price still comes in two tags – where the positive crowd who genuinely wants to support you, share your content, say good things about you and let you into their circle of influence to inspire them each day. And the negative crowd, who will be trolling your wall, defame your name, and even worse – create trouble in your actual business through devious means.
This is coming from my real experience. I’ve dealt with haters who cannot resist to defame, I’ve seen people spending time to create hate pages of me, or fake accounts to imposter as me, actively spread rumours over months just so other people would find me less appealing. Then I’ve dealt with even more questionable behaviours with haters trying to break my investments, or hacked my company servers, negatively influenced my employees, contact my clients and cause trouble enough to retract my sponsorships.
The problem with people who do not like you.
It’s simple to say, that if you don’t like someone – why would you want to be around them. Physically, that won’t happen but when it comes to online, it bothers the people who don’t like you. They will not go away, but instead troll your wall and builds up further resentment, hate and jealousy that takes them to the next level – revenge – for course of action. Revenge for how you made them feel. So the problem is when people do not like you, nowadays, they refused to leave you alone.
I spent years trying to figure out what went wrong – when it backfires bad.
Maybe sharing too much of my personal happiness is not a great thing. Maybe my openness and honesty, being vulnerable to share my struggles and hardships is not appreciated. Maybe it’s the pictures I took of my children, or the nice home I lived in that bothers another person. Or sharing my achievements and success that really hit a nail with someone who is failing. I can’t exactly pinpoint what it is. People do not seem to react negatively to a company, more than to an individual. The company is one with no emotions, so to haters, it always makes more sense to break the emotion of the person driving that company.
Don’t be disappointed as yet – Most of the crowd are amazing people.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not in anyway ranting about haters because I grown to understand why they feel the way they do. There are still far many good people, who are supportive and encouraging. It’s undeniable for all of us, the attention from these supporters is a motivator pill that cure our depression handling tough days. It’s almost like a therapy we get from the attention we are given – also why people are investing more time and energy building a personal brand online.
Here is what I’ve learnt from my sour experiences when it comes to being a public figure.
Careful with the content you put out. You have every rights to share any kind of content you deem fit, for your social media wall. And though you feel the content rightfully belongs to you – in the world of social media, when a content is put out publicly, it becomes the public’s leverage to copy, disseminate, or abuse the content. Meaning to say, people can freely use your content back against you. So when it comes to views, especially anything controversial or political – I try to avoid sharing my thoughts of it. When it comes to anything personal, be wary of what can provoke jealousy or depict arrogance from your end.
Don’t be defensive. When defamatory remarks sparked about me, I do not participate to validate my standing or provide reasons to the allegations. Believe me, nothing you do can convince the mind of someone who already set his perception of you. And while you invest effort to defend the allegation, it opens up for more allegations to pour at you which I’ve learnt does not benefit me in anyway. Time investment always has to reap returns sooner or later – either monetary, good feelings or contribution that truly change real things. And responding to defamation or negative remarks is not worth a time investment. So when someone feels they have a thought about you and took liberty to even create negativity surrounding your online presence – leave it. Let it go. Keep focusing on what you do.
The problem is not you. Putting yourself out there, especially writing so well about it through your content can hit off the wrong note with some people. They may react negatively to you, and it’s not because you truly offended them. They are often, unhappy in their personal situation possibly miserable with their achievements (or lack of)- that your success becomes painful to watch. I used to be disappointed with the behaviour of people, but eventually when I tried to imagine the situation they are probably in, I became more sensible to their emotions. I became more tolerant, and I eventually let them be. Trust me, people who are doing better than you, have no time to make your life difficult.
Make personal branding work for you.
Since I’ve started LinkedIn in January 2017, it has been amazing for me. I felt my experience on Facebook truly taught me lessons the hard way on how to win the right people as my followers, and how to seek opportunities after I won them over. Giving time to personal brand comes with both the time investment (possibly monetary injection) and definitely, the provocation of negative reactiveness from people you never knew. That is what happens, when you share to a pool of infinite number of people from all over the world – considering they all come from different backgrounds, gone through different experiences and raised in a different upbringing.
Know exactly who you are trying to attract. I often share stories of my business development, and my personal life (to a reasonable limit) – so people know what I do and what kind of person I really am. I wanted to build trusting relationships with business people, who would benefit from my business trading their support to grow it. I am not here to seek sympathy for my trouble or woes, defame or condemn someone else, or create commotions over small petty matters. Once you’ve truly worked out your target audience, you will plan strategic postings knowing exactly what content to showcase.
Ban negativity on your wall. You cannot control what people want to say, but within the confinement of your social media wall which is 100% in your control – you should. A policy I’ve implemented for my page on LinkedIn is that I am open for criticisms and feedback, or opposing views from the public as long as it was conveyed to me in a polite and constructive manner. And if this reasonable benchmark of proper etiquette is not met, I simply pay not attention negative and banned someone from the pleasure to continue to be negative on my wall.
How to effectively invest time to personal brand?
Create an asset library full of images, content write ups about event you’ve been or organised, people you’ve met and even your selfie in your work or personal environment. (used when sharing your personal story or thoughts).
Fully maximise the wording space of 160 words on LinkedIn, the more content is better so if you are promoting an event or a business, tell more stuff about it. When you get people’s attention to read what you write, you want to be convey them the full picture of what you are promoting.
Use relevant hashtags, some of which is related to common searches such as #business #entrepreneurship and some unique to you. So when someone has resonated with your post, and needs to come back to read it for inspiration, they can track back your old posts through your hashtag. The ability to allow them to easily find your past content, will keep them coming back to re-find what they need.
Monitor the speed of reactiveness of your followers, When posting – check the number of reach within the first 24 hours, 3 days and 7 days. If they react more on weekdays or weekends, you will need to work out the most reactive period to know when you can expect the best results from your posts.
Targeting the right audience. Knowing what kind of people you want to attract, put up content that these people can relate to. i.e. I wanted to attract shareholders so I wrote a lot about entrepreneurship and how I’ve learnt and matured from it, not just achievements also struggles.
Acknowledge every comment as far as possible. Each time you reply a comment, it re-boosted your post to reappear on newsfeed of your connections hence giving you more exposure of reach.
Participate on other people’s post – make it a habit to comment of at least 3 postings of other people daily. Preferably on posts currently having high levels of engagement, leave a positive or encouraging remark and their network of followers will start to be drawn to you.
Give value regularly- You come from a wealth of experiences. Talk about those unique experiences of some things that you learnt, people who’ve impacted you, story of your hardship, or personal views as a mother etc.
Make yourself approachable. Ask people questions for their thoughts at the end of the post. Give out your email address to allow people to reach you. Encourage people to private message you. You do not have to reply to everyone, just those you feel worth your time to. Being friendly allows more leads through the door.
Associate yourself with people of higher publicity – taking photo with them and publishing it, allows you to tag them and hence, their network will follow you. You can keep posting the same photo or content, every other month and continue to tap.
☁ My story? My name is Leza Parker, a mother of 3 and running several global companies operating in more than 17 countries. I’ve raised investments, collaborate with global partners, hire my best employees, and increase my brand awareness through social media alone. On LinkedIn, since January 2017, I’ve gathered a total of 40,000+ connections all of whom sent me a connection requests, with another 9,000 on waiting list for acceptance. My reach extends to 1 million people monthly, consistently for the last 8 months. 100% organic reach. Zero monetary investment.
So if you are wondering if personal branding is one of the ways to win business – let me tell you, for me, it’s the best way. And if you have yet to get started with being known for what you do or what you are made of – online, then I am afraid it might be too late.
I offer mentorship (2 months) to aspiring entrepreneurs, business owners and corporate professionals who believe the importance of creating an impactful personal brand online. Get connected with me by filling up your details here, to find out more.