Personal Branding for Executives: Elevate Your Business with SmartBug’s Social Media Management Services
February 2, 2024
By Kira Renee
In the last 4 years, LinkedIn and Twitter have pivoted to give greater visibility to individuals as opposed to corporate pages. The result? Outsized benefits for both the individual's personal brand and their company's bottom line. Consumer behavior has validated this; 84 percent of consumers believe that a company's reputation is influenced by its employees’ personal brands.
This phenomenon hasn’t happened by chance. Over time, social media has become more niche-oriented and community-focused, allowing for the emergence of virality within these communities. B2B companies are capitalizing on this personal engagement by shifting focus from brand-centric marketing and encouraging executives and company leaders to showcase their expertise on social media. This approach aims to cultivate trust and foster a sense of community. It is not only a strategy for brand recognition but also a means of generating high-quality leads.
Our team at SmartBug has responded to the shift in B2B social media marketing by creating and testing a new service: managed social media for executives. This solution is perfect for companies aiming to stand out in their industry and generate revenue through social media. In this article, we will explore our strategy for executive social media management and provide examples of the value it can bring.
Why an Executive Should Invest in Personal Branding
Previously, some brands viewed employees’ personal branding as a business threat. In reality, your executives serve as brand ambassadors. When a CEO or CMO, for example, shares advice or thoughts on a specific topic with their audience, they showcase expertise and establish themselves as a trustworthy thought leader.
But above all, personal branding is another revenue generation tool, supporting your pipeline with qualified leads. According to widely accepted research from IBM, leads driven by employee social marketing convert seven times more frequently than other leads! That’s not by mistake. When thought leaders in your company gain trust with your audience, they develop a personal connection to your brand and are better aligned with your values from the start—bringing in high-quality leads that are more likely to convert.
How long does it take to start seeing ROI? This largely depends on the size of your follower base and the amount of engagement you currently get. If you're starting from scratch, expect this to take at least six months. If you’re already connected to thousands of individuals and consistently see engagement on your posts, you might expect to see results in as few as 1-3 months.
Examples of Executives Leveraging Personal Branding Successfully
We know personal branding can be a strong lead generation engine. How do we know that? We’ve seen the results! Here are some executives who have already been adopting this strategy flawlessly:
Yamini Rangan, CEO of HubSpot
Yamini shines on LinkedIn, cultivating a network of CEOs and business leaders nationwide. Her posts may not pop up daily, but when they do, you can bet they're genuine and purposeful. Her authenticity nurtures trust and loyalty among her followers. Here's a prime example of how she sparks dialogue around gen AI within her community:
Isn't it great how this post draws you in with its genuine take on AI? It not only captures your attention but also puts her thought leadership on display, all while reflecting a growth mindset. She's constantly looking for ways to better her business, which is right in line with what HubSpot stands for. And the way she wraps it up with a conversation starter? Brilliant! Inviting everyone to share their thoughts helps build a sense of community.
Even without the pressing need for brand awareness felt by smaller companies, HubSpot effectively uses personal branding. It's a way to let you know the company is always on the ball, tackling problems head-on and hunting for top-notch business solutions. This strategy is all about building that trust in HubSpot’s brand and products.
Peter Caputa, CEO of Databox
Peter is a LinkedIn standout among CEOs. In a single post, he often cleverly stirs up insightful, authentic discussions while also spotlighting his product. Here is a prime example in a recent post addressing companies with large amounts of educational content on their websites:
Using his product, Databox, Peter discovered a compelling story within his data. He took the opportunity to share his findings on LinkedIn, showcasing valuable insights derived from genuine data. Simultaneously, he subtly highlights the capabilities of his platform, providing a prime example of the value it offers.
Jen Spencer, CEO of SmartBug Media
Jen Spencer is SmartBug’s LinkedIn star! She understands the immense value of positioning herself as a thought leader for other business executives so she can support them along their journeys and help them find growth opportunities. Here’s an example of a great post from the last year:
Jen's post invites a conversation about a company's tech stack and custom integrations. She naturally includes our partners HubSpot and Klaviyo in the dialogue, expanding the reach on LinkedIn. Leveraging her thought leadership, Jen shares specific knowledge on custom integrations within tech stacks and even presents a client success story to illustrate the message. The power of this post lies in its authenticity and personal touch, inspiring readers while showcasing SmartBug's expertise with a real-life client example to help the audience visualize their own brand achieving similar successes.
SmartBug’s Managed Social Media for Executives
By now, you see the value social media offers for executives. But however attractive and effective a personal branding strategy might be, we know not everyone has the time to execute it correctly. That’s where we step in!
If you’re interested in taking this social media journey but can’t do it alone, discover how SmartBug can support you.
You will hear us say time and time again that there is no “one size fits all” for any business or marketing strategy. That’s why at SmartBug, we connect our clients with dedicated teams who have relevant industry knowledge to help you truly dig into your business and map out a custom strategy that fits you and your audience.
Our social media support goes beyond a personalized approach; it's sculpted for maximum efficiency and effectiveness. How, you ask? Well, for starters, we vet new technology and AI tools to learn what really works—and what will work best for you. We use AI, for example, to determine optimal posting times and conduct topic research.
We're about more than just managing your social media. We're aiming higher and thinking long-term. Let's be real: Hiring an agency to simply write posts isn't going to move mountains for your business. But teaming up with experts to cook up a lead generation strategy that's built to last? That's an investment worth making!
The initial days of your partnership with us are focused on laying the foundation.
We start with a deep dive into your business. This involves gaining a comprehensive understanding of your revenue and sales targets, identifying the requirements for your sales pipeline, and pinpointing your unique selling points. This knowledge allows us to tailor our service to meet your specific needs and goals. We will also take this time to perform an audit of your social channels and optimize them for best practices and brand alignment.
Following business discovery, we engage in detailed audience research. This crucial step helps us understand what matters most to your audience. We identify the key topics that engage them, the platforms they frequent (virtual “water coolers”), and the types of content that resonate most with them. By understanding your audience's interests and preferences, we can ensure that our content strategy aligns with their expectations.
The final stage of our initial work together is the creative discovery process. Here, we strive to understand the voice and tone of the executive for whom we will be crafting posts and messages on social media. This understanding allows us to create content that not only reflects your unique style but also resonates with your audience.
In essence, our partnership kick-off is a thorough, multi-step process designed to give us a deep understanding of your business, your audience, and your voice.
We're not just any service provider; we're your strategic partners, working diligently in the background while you focus on the bigger picture.
SmartBug’s support ranges from managing your monthly content calendar to crafting engaging social media copy and designs. We're also adept at publishing and channel management, ensuring your content gets the spotlight it deserves.
But we don't stop there. Every month, we provide comprehensive reports detailing our activities and their impact on your business. This transparency allows you to see exactly what we've been working on and how our efforts are driving results.
Let us handle the nitty-gritty details while you focus on steering your business toward its objectives.🤝 Let’s connect!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will it take for me to start seeing results?
The outcome of social media efforts is influenced by various factors, including your business industry, your goals, how active you are currently on social media, and the size and engagement level of your current audience. However, it's common to start seeing results within the initial 3-6 months of our collaboration with a consistent return on investment generally materializing after six months.
Can I provide my own content?
Of course! You can supply content to your SmartBug team, and we’ll work to incorporate it into your overall social media strategy. To maintain a consistent posting schedule and enhance our collaborative efforts, we'll jointly use a social media posting calendar. This will help align the timing of your content with other scheduled messages.
How exactly does AI play a role?
SmartBug sees AI as a tool and assistant, and our focus is on the human touch. That’s why we will have a dedicated writer focusing on capturing your specific voice. We also want to be mindful of avoiding copyright issues that can be associated with AI-generated content. Instead, we will lean on AI for routine tasks such as scheduling based on optimal times of the week with the goal of increasing engagement. We may also use AI to aid us in topic research, allowing us to efficiently stay on top of the latest trends and conversations and gather insights to inform your calendar.
About the author
Kira Renee Kira is our Product Marketing Manager at SmartBug. She believes in a people-first and data-driven marketing approach. Previously working with many reputable brands, building their online brand presence and teaching companies how to enhance their marketing strategy to be customer-centric. When she's not creating a stellar marketing strategy, you can find her enjoying a crisp sour beer surrounded by her hundreds of plants and receiving cuddles from her Labradoodle. Read more articles by Kira Renee.