Sarah Abhoulhosn
October 27, 2019

Personal Branding On Social Media for CEOs & Executives

Growing your personal brand on social media can lift your company's profile in an authentic way. Find out how to promote your biggest personalities.

As a CEO or executive, you live and breathe your company. It’s easy to hide behind the corporate brand of your business, but establishing your own brand can have an amazingly positive impact on your company and yourself as a professional.
Whether you’re a CEO, entrepreneur, or are an executive within an organization, establishing a personal brand can help you stand out among a sea of people in your industry.
Even if you're used to using your brand to represent your business, showing that there’s a real human being behind your business will build more customer loyalty than a faceless organization.
People like Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Marie Forleo, have used their personal brands to grow their businesses and even form new companies around their thought leadership.

Why build a personal brand?

People are attracted to human connection. Building a personal brand isn’t about becoming internet famous or gaining a ton of followers. It’s about establishing yourself as a leader and an expert in your industry. When you make a name for yourself, by extension, you become a more trustworthy ambassador for your company.
According to Sprout Social’s 2019 Index, forty-five percent of consumers said that they were more likely to consider using a product or service if someone relatable, like an employee or company representative posted about it as opposed to it being shared on a business account.
Image via Sprout Social 2019 Index

How to build your personal brand

Growing and maintaining your own brand is so much more than self-promotion. It takes a focused and consistent effort to add value to an audience that goes beyond your personal business endeavours. Your brand relies on your ability to relate to people on a personal level and provide your audience with valuable insight that they’re not getting elsewhere.
Three fool-proof strategies to building a personal brand include maintaining an active social media presence, creating thought-provoking content, and being authentic and vulnerable with your audience.

Stay active on social media

Social media is the most straightforward way to build an audience and get your story out there. Using social media to grow your personal brand requires a different approach than leveraging it to grow your business. Depending on your industry, various social platforms will serve different purposes.
Just look at Janine Allis, founder of Boost Juice. Janine never set out to become one of the most recognized faces in Australian business. She understood from the start of her career that the most successful companies have CEOs who are willing to put themselves out there and be a public-facing figure within their company. She posts regular updates across all of her social media accounts, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
She recognized that most of her audience is on Instagram and uses that profile as a hub to promote her content, features, and podcast episodes.
Janine put in a lot of effort into building a personal brand that went beyond her work for Boost Juice and made a name for herself as an expert. Her branding efforts have led to paid speaking events, and she even has a recurring role as a ‘shark’ and Australia’s Shark Tank.
Co-founder and co-CEO of the software company Atlassian, Scott Farquhar, is another example of someone using social media to grow their personal brand. Scott uses Twitter to engage with his audience to promote his organization Pledge1%, as well as other initiatives he’s running that goes beyond his work at Atlassian.
We're proud to welcome @eatrightrice to the #Pledge1 movement! Read how they are donating 1% of equity to @nokidhungry as part of their #RightMission to end childhood hunger:
— Scott Farquhar (@scottfarkas) 6 June 2019
When you start brand building, experiment with different platforms to see where you get the most traction, and to see where you’re most comfortable creating content.

Create or curate thought-provoking content

So much of personal branding is about what you are contributing to the overall conversation. Whether you write, create graphics or make videos, be sure that you’re giving your own personal take and angle on the topic you’re talking about.
If you can’t create content at the pace you’d hoped, don’t be afraid to curate content created by others. You can share things you’re reading and listening to, take your audience behind the scenes of what you’re working on, or even just give quick updates to let people who how you’re doing. If you curate content, always make sure to give the original creator credit, and offer a unique take on the subject.
Melanie Perkins, Australian technology entrepreneur and CEO and co-founder of Canva, has nailed the content curation game on LinkedIn. Her commitment to updating her audience and sharing her journey as an entrepreneur landed her No.3 spot on Business Insider's 2016 list of the coolest tech people in Australia. She’s a pro at sharing content that she thinks would be useful for her audience and uses LinkedIn to start conversations with her followers around hot topics in her industry.
She used LinkedIn so well that LinkedIn dubbed her profile a 2018 LinkedIn Power Profile for her ability to engage her followers and make an impact. This accolade gave her personal brand even more visibility on the platform and is allowing her to make a name for herself that goes beyond her role in founding Canva.
When it comes to branding and content creation, Neil Patel is another excellent example of someone who used their knowledge from growing a million-dollar agency to create content around marketing and entrepreneurship. He quickly built up his personal brand by providing useful and tactical marketing advice to fellow entrepreneurs who appreciate his no-nonsense and honest style of content. With a meta twist, he even creates content about how to build your own personal brand. 

Be authentic and vulnerable

People love to follow real people that they can relate to. Letting your guard down and being vulnerable with your followers will build trust and establish a deeper connection with your audience. Social media tends to put a filter over the realities of challenging situations. Influencers and entrepreneurs who prioritize personal branding show up through the good and the bad and share their struggles and failures in addition to their wins. Sharing hard times will show your audience that you are a real person and contribute to your authenticity in a space where there is a lot of superficialities.
RedBalloon co-founder Naomi Simson uses all of the tools in her content toolbelt to update her audience and build her brand authentically. Naomi creates original content on her blog and YouTube and routinely uses social media to let her followers know about the content she’s created. On her blog, she’s not afraid to get personal and share stories about her marriage and life in addition to her regular anecdotes about business and entrepreneurship.
If you’re not intentional about maintaining an authentic personal brand, your audience can tell.

Monetising your brand

When the time is right, you can begin turning your brand into a business itself. If you’ve done a successful job of establishing yourself as an expert in your industry, your audience may be willing to pay for that expertise in the form of consulting, online courses, or public speaking. Having a notable personal brand can be a great way to enter another business model and help others the way you’ve helped your own company grow.
Naomi Simson leveraged her brand and launched online courses to her audience, teaching others how to become successful entrepreneurs. As her personal brand grew, she also made a name for herself as an accomplished public speaker and uses her reputation to charge a premium for speaking engagements.
Building a personal brand can help raise awareness around your skills as a professional. When people know more about who you are and what you do, you’ll be able to attract others wanting to network with you and potentially form new partnerships.
Throughout your brand building journey, stay focused on finding your voice and what style makes you feel most comfortable with sharing. Finding your brand voice will take some time and practice, but once you do, sticking to your brand voice will make your content more authentic.
You don’t need to be a celebrity to have a personal brand. There are hundreds of CEOs and industry experts killing it online, and making a name for themselves among their peers and in their niche.

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