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My question for you today is: What is more important, a personal or business brand? A lot of people are struggling with this because everybody wants to promote their business, but it’s getting harder and harder to do. That’s because social media platforms, and really the internet in general, is a lot more focused on making money off of business while inviting people from a personal level to join in. There are new platforms coming up every day, but even the most basic ones that we’re pretty much all used to — which I call the top six: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, and Instagram — those are the six most important ones in my business. I actually teach boot camps on this. I’ve got one coming up this week, as a matter of fact.

Business Or Personal?

The question becomes: Should you focus your time online trying to build a personal brand or a business brand? My answer to that question is both, but not necessarily with equal volume. Here’s why: One of the most basic principles that I try to get across when I’m giving presentations is that businesses do not do business with other businesses. People do business with people. Think about that. Businesses do not do business with other businesses; people do business with people.

There’s never been a business in the history of the world that’s ever put a credit card through, written a check, or hired somebody. It takes a personal relationship to make that happen.

Careful What You Post

 

Now, you don’t necessarily have to be your business brand 100% of the time. Let’s face it: there is a lot going on in the world and you have to be careful with your personal brand in order to express who you are. You can’t change your age. You can’t change your upbringing. You can’t change your gender. Sometimes you can’t change your own mind and your own heart. I can tell you one thing for a fact: you can argue online all you want. You can post things on politics, religion, sex — by which I mean gender — any of those kind of things, hot button topics that are out there right now.

 

The problem is, when you do that, even including religion, you can generally alienate 50% of your audience. You’ve got to be careful about what you post. You have to make it generic. You have to make it fun. You have to make it entertaining. That’s one of the reasons I do a quote of the day every single morning and a caption contest at night.

The quote of the day ends up being something that people either like, comment, or share. The caption contest, I did one the other night which got close to 100 people commenting on and liking and sharing. It’s meant to be fun. It’s meant to be entertainment.

Personal Brand

But part of that is the brand, which is you. Now, being a personal brand means that you have to be human. We all feel things. When tragedy strikes, you feel something. People like my wife, who are not running their own business and are working for somebody else, can just lose it sometimes. But if you do something that your business owner or the corporation you work for finds offensive, they can do a lot of different things. They can suspend you. They can fire you. They can reprimand you. They can do all kinds of things. You have to be a little bit careful in that realm.

When it comes to owning your own business or being a solopreneur, again, it’s the same thing. You can try to have some kind of opinion, but if you get too controversial, chances are people are going to start arguing with you and alienating you and not paying attention to your own brand.

Building a strong personal brand is one of the hardest things to do. Believe me. I’ve posted things and then I’ve had to take them down. I’ve gotten into arguments with people because I feel a certain way. You’ve got to be really careful when you’re posting things. Make sure that your personal brand, the images that you put up, the comments that you make, are ones that are generic enough to say that you’re a human being but not so controversial that you’re going to cause some kind of discourse.

Business Brands

From the business brand side of things, business is a lot harder to be human. Because you’re really talking about a product or service and the value that you bring to customers. It’s really about promoting in a way that is educational. I like to call it infotainment, where you’re educating somebody or you’re entertaining them or you’re informing them. That’s the way I use my podcast, my blog, and other content that I post. A lot of it is posted directly to my business page first.

Now I have quite a few likes on my B2b Interactive Marketing page and on my Bacon Podcast page, and the places where I post all these things. But herein lies the rub. Facebook is not showing that in the newsfeed. Why is that? It’s because what they’re trying to do is get you to pay to boost it, or pay to advertise. Ultimately, my goal is to get people to listen to the podcast. How are they going to do that? They’re either going to go to iTunes and find it and subscribe to it, or they’re going to go to my website. I can measure the traffic on the website. I can measure what’s happening in iTunes with my Blueberry podcast app. That allows me to see how many hits I’m getting, and I’m getting close to 10,000 downloads a month, which is fantastic. Now I’m not in the realm of some of the most popular people out there that get 100,000 or a million, but you know what? That’s okay. You guys are my audience. You’re my peeps. You’re the ones that are listening to my podcast and reading my blog.

Share To Personal

The key here is, in order to get that message out, what I have to do is share it to my personal wall. That means the vast majority of the interaction with my business brand is actually an extension of my personal brand. Think about that for a second. How can you extend your business brand with your personal brand without coming off of as somebody’s who’s constantly trying to sell something? Because there are people that do just that. They’re spending all of their time on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus promoting rather than engaging, rather than being human and feeling something.

Final Thoughts

In order to get people to engage with your business brand, you first have to create a great personal brand. That is going to be the platform where you create the relationships that can grow your business, that can help you promote the things that you’re trying to promote. If you do it right, you don’t come across as Salesy McSalesperson. You come across as you. Remember, businesses do not do businesses with other businesses. People do business with people.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this subject. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions on building your perfectly updated brand. Have you or your business evolved and are ready for a change? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?