Building a Personal Brand on LinkedIn

Building a Personal Brand on LinkedIn

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Video Overview

Building a personal brand can be a daunting, scary, seemingly unachievable task.

But if you manage it, you can both progress your career while contributing towards your KPIs.

Don’t believe it? Just ask Daniel Disney.

He built a personal brand on LinkedIn that helped him achieve his sales targets, progress his career, found his own company, and become a best selling author!

In this episode of the B2B Rebellion he shares his tips for how to get started, including:

  • Why authenticity and honesty is key
  • Why you shouldn’t just regurgitate your company’s account
  • How anyone can add value, even if you’re not an “expert”
  • How often you should post when getting started

Speakers

Andy Culligan

Andy Culligan
CMO of Leadfeeder

Daniel Disney

Daniel Disney
Founder of The Daily Sales



Interview Transcript

Andy Culligan: Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of B2B Rebellion. Really happy to have Dan on today. So, Daniel Disney, many people would probably know, I mean, it's a pretty famous second name as well that actually, we've never really got into that. But in any case, Dan is very, very well known in the world of LinkedIn.

So if you're on LinkedIn and you're in sales and you've been watching influencers within LinkedIn and Sales, you'll definitely have come across Dan and stuff that he's been doing. He's a famous author as well of The Million-Pound LinkedIn Message, which you'll see behind his shoulder there. So Dan set up a group as well, or a company on LinkedIn called The Daily Sales, it's got 600 thousand plus members right now Dan, right?

Daniel Disney: That's right.

AC: And growing. So I really like the stuff that Dan pushes out from a content perspective, it's very fresh, it's very like... It means something to everybody I think, he uses a lot of memes and things like that as well. You can see above his right shoulder there, things that resonate with people. It's taken away the sort of stuffiness of old school sales training and different things, and really put a new twist to it, and made it a lot fresher in my opinion.

And I think as well, the good thing about Dan is he's been in the position as well, himself, so you come across a lot of sales coaches and people that don't wanna coach you how to do sales and have never really been at the front line themselves, never really been at the coalface, you know, this is the best way to do it based out of something that they read in a book, I've come across a lot of coaches like that, and the difference between Dan and these guys is that he's actually done it himself.

So, Dan, I think I've done you a fair bit of justice there in the intro, but if there's anything more you wanna add I'll let you take it away mate.

DD: Andy, I think that was a spot on intro, you've covered the key bits, I'm passionate about sales and social selling. I cut my teeth knocking doors and making cold calls, and over the last years have invested a lot in mastering LinkedIn, and social selling.

So yeah, my passion is helping salespeople learn how to use LinkedIn to its full potential, and then you're right, the other half of me runs The Daily Sales, which just shares entertaining, motivational, educational content for salespeople on a daily basis. Because it is tough working in sales, anyone who's out there actually selling, it's tough, it's a roller coaster, and sometimes you need a meme to make you laugh, to help you get on to that next cold call.

Sometimes you need a quote to motivate you to push through some of the objection, sometimes you want tips and advice to help you get through some of the challenges and get those deals closed, so yeah, that was me. But great intro Andy, thank you.

AC: Thanks, yeah I think you did hit the nail on the head there, sales is a tough job. It's a really tough job. I've been speaking with... I've been looking at it from many different angles at the moment as well, also I've been speaking with people around mental health and sales at the moment. Generally, that's a problem salespeople too, "Ah, I'm fine, everything's great. We're gonna reach quota," now people probably will struggle to reach quota and things like that.

It's interesting to look at it at a number of different angles over the past couple of weeks since we started doing this series, plus the webinars and whatnot. It's interesting to speak with different mindsets and different people on it. From your perspective now, Dan, what are you telling people? What are the tips that you're giving your customers for LinkedIn, for example, what are you telling people? What should they be doing?

DD: Yeah, I think the biggest tip and aligning to what you were just talking about, is authenticity. Just be genuine, be real, be truthful. There's a big thing in social media where people will post how everything's perfect, they'll take perfect photos, they'll write these perfect stories about how great they're doing, but very few people actually get real and share real insights about their struggles, their challenges.

Now, there's a fine balance between complaining and saying how negative things are, and always being positive. But it's finding that sweet spot in the middle where you can sort of talk about your challenges, but talk about how you're overcoming them or how you're trying to overcome them, but just be real. It was the advice I gave when COVID really started to come out.

A lot of people were just pumping out the same generic bland content, and it was falling on deaf ears essentially, and actually the people that were getting engagement were the ones that were talking about what was happening right now and what they were doing, what their customers were doing, their colleagues, peers, etcetera.

So yeah, I think the biggest advice I'm giving to people, and it's gonna be relevant probably for at least the rest of this year, is just be real... Use this as a chance to show people, you let people into your world, show them your journey, that's what people are buying into right now, and you have people buy from people. So it's gonna help lead into relationships that you can then grow into opportunities and customers, but the key bit is just be a human being, don't be a robot, don't be a sales machine, just be a human individual, it will do you a lot more good than... What a lot of people do is they put their sales person's hat on and it's just regurgitating sales content, and it's just not the time for that.

AC: Is it a bit of a faux pas nowadays, I don't know if it's such an obvious one, but sharing your company's content on LinkedIn, just pressing the share button. For me, personally, I see that on LinkedIn, I'm like, "What are people doing? Why are they... Do they not know that that's not a good thing to do?" But it's obviously... People don't get it, a lot of salespeople see, "Oh, okay, LinkedIn. The company shared something, okay, I better press share," and it's like, is it... My question, is that doing anything? Is it doing anything for the brand? In my opinion, it's actually probably doing something worse for the brand.

DD: Yeah massively, and it's interesting hearing you say that Andy, obviously your role as CMO, admittedly some of the companies out there that is instructed by the marketing department that is a marketing strategy, which is, again, as you know and I'm glad you know, it doesn't achieve anything and it probably does more harm than good. And I see it probably at least 80% of the companies that I get hired to go and train on LinkedIn and social selling, that's their strategy, most of their sales teams, that's all they're doing. And I'll look through most of them, all they're doing is re-sharing the company blogs, the company updates, which are generally pretty bland and very much self-focused.

They're not valuable to their prospects, their customers, their audience, and the moment you flip that around, you just open up so many opportunities like. You're leading this by example Andy, you're creating tons of content that's valuable to your audience, to your customers, to your prospects. It's valuable to them. It's not just promoting your product and talking about how great it is and sharing your latest testimonials. It's value and value attracts.

AC: Yeah, I think it comes back to the old adage that, "The best pitch is no pitch at all." I think if people really defined you as a salesperson or let's say somebody who's in sales, if you as a salesperson are offering some value, right, and offering some value to a prospect, and regardless if it's a problem that can be solved by your tech or if it's something that you can personally solve. You're adding value to that person's day, right, and that won't be forgotten.

So they may not be in a buying cycle right now, but they might be in a buying cycle in three months from now. It really bothers me when I see companies going in very product-heavy into their marketing messaging and different things, and also in social. It doesn't make any sense, it's lazy.

DD: It's the whole give to get mentality, I know you were saying you were just speaking to Alex Olley from Reachdesk, and obviously their thing is sending physical gifts, which is an amazing opportunity. I use Reachdesk and it's fantastic. But it doesn't have to be a physical gift, it could be content, it could be a blog, it could be a meme that makes them laugh, that entertains them. But they'll remember the meme, they may share the meme.

They'll remember who shared that meme, they'll remember your name, or as you say, if they're in a buying cycle right now, it may drive them to look at your profile, to see what it is you do, pop you a message and say, "Hello Dan, love that meme you've shared. Actually, I got a quick look at your profile, I can see that you do LinkedIn training. Would love to learn more." Maybe it's not the right time, in which case, they're gonna appreciate that. They're gonna look for your content more now because they've taken value from that.

They'll probably consume more of your content, engage in more of it, and when they are ready, you're gonna be there in the back of their mind as one of the first people, if not the only person that they come to. So give to get is a far better strategy than just asking all the time, just trying to take, "Can I have a meeting?" "Can I have a demo?" "Can I have your number?" "Can I call you?" "Can I email you?" Yeah, it's always so focused and... Yeah, give to get is a far better strategy in my experience.

AC: I agree. The thing is, with this new wave of social media, I've seen a lot of people building their own personal brand on LinkedIn and I'd be one of those people as well. I think it's important to build your own personal brand, and a lot of people though in more traditional spaces, like more traditional businesses, would maybe see that and see their salespeople doing that and be like, "Hey, look at him or her building their personal brand. What's that doing for our organization?" That's a type of thing like... How often do you come across that when you're going in and helping people with their social selling strategies?

DD: A lot. It's what I experienced when I started doing it. So when I first started doing it, what, seven, eight years ago, I was laughed at, I was made fun of from everyone all the way up to the top of the company. It was just, no one else was doing it in the business in any department, let alone in sales, and so I really sympathize with it 'cause I had to push against that challenge.

Yeah, it's not nice, but I think when you see results when you see potential when you see opportunity, you kinda need that to push through those challenges. But there's so much resistance from variety, from colleagues, other salespeople to sales managers, sales leaders, directors, all the way to the top. The key is to either prove it yourself or find others that have proven it to help push away some of that negativity or that concern. A lot of it... We don't know what we don't know, and new things often scare people.

So it's like some of the older people when you talk about the internet or social media or... Remember the first time I gave my nan an iPad and teaching her how to use it, it was a really strange thing and for a long time, it was, "No, I'm not... I don't need it. I don't need to change. What would I need that for?" And once you get them past and start to open their eyes to it and you show them all the great things they can do with it and how much it can help them in their lives, then they embrace it, accept it, and before you know it, they're then starting to have an appetite to learn more and get involved in it.

It's exactly the same for a lot of businesses, for salespeople, for sales leaders, they see the challenge, they see their own fear. "No, why do I need a personal brand? We're doing fine as it is. We don't need it." Once you open their eyes to it before you know it, you've got the leaders starting to post actively, you've got the leaders encouraging their teams to do it. So yeah, it's just opening the eyes type piece. Once they see the bigger picture, then they buy into it.

AC: Is there enough space on LinkedIn for so many personal brands?

DD: There is, there is...

AC: This is a very rhetorical question I know but...

DD: Yeah, it's a good question because everyone's kinda concerned, "Oh, maybe it's too late for LinkedIn, I've missed the boat." I did this, what, seven, eight years ago, but there are people coming on to LinkedIn now, building huge personal brands. If anything, it's easier and quicker to build a personal brand now than it was... Certainly, when I started, it was a much more uphill push.

Now I see people doing it and part of that is because, obviously, there's a lot of people like me out there trying to help show them the way to do it, which again, didn't exist before, but it's... Yeah, it's obviously not easier, but whilst there are more people talking, there are more people listening. So it kind of counter-balances that, and I think we've got... I reckon we've got at least two to three years of riding the LinkedIn wave.

Like Facebook at the moment, that wave is long past, unless you've got tons of money to chuck in it, you're never gonna be a common influencer on Facebook. Was it TikTok's now added ads and they're gonna quickly go down that route. I think LinkedIn's got a few more years where now is a great time, best time if ever, to start using it and build that personal brand before they start to really crank down on the paid stuff and the sponsors, etcetera.

AC: Yeah, sure. That makes sense. I mean, I fully agree with you on the speed at which you can build your own personal brand. So I just spoke with Alex there a couple of minutes ago and Alex Olley from Reachdesk as you were saying and he'd said to me, "Andy, you managed to build your own personal brand very quickly." So, I actually consciously said around Christmas time, said I'm gonna start trying to build something here, just to see, you know? I hadn't been that active on LinkedIn in the past.

Like, I'd posted stuff every now and again; the reason was, 'cause I was working in a space where I was a VP in marketing but for B2B2C. So I was marketing to B2C marketers. So my customer was a B2C marketer, but I'm a B2B marketer. So I've learned my trade solely in B2B, and then I'm supposed to be preaching a message to... B2B, sorry, I've solely learned in B2B and then I'm supposed to be preaching a message to B2C marketers, and that's very... Like, I can't resonate, you know, like it's, who am I to be able to do that?

And then when I started in the B2B space with Leadfeeder, I said, "Okay, you know what, I know this space really well. I've built myself. I know what needs to be doing, I think I can add value. And this is the add value part." So I just started, slowly but surely started, started, started. And it's gone really quick. Alex said to me, "Jesus, it's been really quick, Andy." I was like, "Yeah, actually, I was actually quite surprised at how quick it went." But actually, when you just said that there, it was like, "Ah, that makes 100% sense," 'cause, yeah, I resonate with that.

DD: You made a good point though, and this is something I get as a challenge a lot of the times. You mentioned coming in, realizing you had tons of experience and knowledge about B2B, so that kind of gave you the confidence to build a personal brand.

I get a lot of SDRs and new-to-sales people come to me and say, "We haven't worked in sales at all, we haven't worked in this industry, we're not experts, so how can we build personal brands?" And this is what, again, is exciting me a lot at the moment, is the rise of the SDR influencer. I'm seeing it in so many companies, it's amazing. These people that are new to roles, new to companies, new to industries, and they're building these great personal brands by sharing their journey. They're not going out there proclaiming to be experts. They're not going out there telling people what to do.

They're just sharing what they are doing, what's working for them, what's not working for them. And people buy from people, they buy into that journey, they buy into that sharing because it is valuable. Either people want to help them, or people want to follow for their own benefits. 'Cause they're not the only SDRs out there, SDRs are everywhere, and they're helping them. And it's helping them then infiltrate into the companies and gain huge influence.

Some of these SDRs are getting way more content engagement than the company's getting, than the marketing department's getting. Yeah, it's one of those things that, yes, if you do have tons of experience, then, of course, that's the pathway you choose within your personal brand.

If you don't, then there are so many other pathways that people can choose to build personal brands in, but can gain equal, if not sometimes more, success than the other pathway. So personal branding is a real open book. Anyone can do it.

There's nothing that limits you from it, you just need to know who you are and be you. If the SDR was suddenly pretending to be an expert, they'd struggle to build a personal brand. If they were an SDR preaching and trying to tell people what to do, that is unlikely to result in a successful engagement strategy. But by being authentic and honest, then you're starting to go down the right path.

AC: So I'll just finish on one last piece, 'cause this is typical what people ask if they're new to the game. How often should people be posting on LinkedIn? I know it's a bit of a how long is a piece of string question, but what advice would you give to complete beginners?

DD: Yeah, so I've seen a few people post a variety of responses to this. Again, in doing this consistently for six, seven years now, my honest advice is Monday to Friday, once per day, is your ultimate sort of goal in terms of posting consistently. Monday to Friday, once a day is a very good amount. If you're just starting, try two or three posts a week, just to get you started, 'cause I know it's not easy to think of ideas and get used to writing or taking photos or whatever it may be. The two to three times per week at the start is fine, for the first month or two, just to get you warmed up and get you used to it, get you comfortable doing it. But the ultimate long-term goal, once per week. You can do Saturdays and Sundays, and actually, I'm seeing some really good engagement on weekends as well, but that's a personal choice.

Obviously, the company can't make you work seven days a week, so can't be an expectation, but for those that want to do it, there is very good engagement available at the weekends as well. I would never advise posting more than once a day; that's where the algorithm and LinkedIn will start to work against you, can have some really negative effects.

The only time I would ever, ever post twice a day is if there is a really good reason to do so; of which case, yeah, okay, maybe it's justifiable. Think I did one recently... It was actually the other day, I did my usual post in the morning/daytime, but then in the evening, The Daily Sales hit 600,000 followers, which was quite a momentous kind of occasion, so I posted that as well. Again, because it was such a big thing, the engagement was just as strong, but if I were just posting anything out blandly, it would really struggle. So once a day is your kind of optimum amount, two or three times a week to start. Do that consistently, you'd be surprised at the results you'll generate just from that.

AC: It's funny, you start to get a feeling for it almost. It's a bit like cooking, you know? 'Cause as I said, like for me, I only sort of started it six months ago in terms of creating my own brand a little bit. But the things you just mentioned are like, I had a feeling that that's the case, just by testing and trying different things. But you just confirmed a lot of points around the algorithm, for example.

I wouldn't be constantly checking what's happening from the sale... The LinkedIn algorithm, but you get a feeling for it, you know? "Okay, this time during the day works well because I've gotten that amount of responses, and I shouldn't do it twice a day 'cause I tried that before, it didn't work." You start to get this little bit of... You add a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and you know that that's gonna taste good, you know? It's interesting. It's really interesting. Dan, I won't keep you too much longer, but where can people find you, and how can they avail of your services?

DD: Well, I'm probably most easy to access on LinkedIn, obviously. Yeah, please feel free to follow me on LinkedIn. I have a website, DanielDisney.online, and feel free to check out The Daily Sales. I'm posting, obviously, every single day. And yeah, if anyone has any questions, my genuine passion is to help salespeople. So if you have questions, pop me a message, pop me an e-mail through the website, and I tend to get back to everyone within a couple of days.

So, keen to help, especially in social selling, anyone has any concerns or questions, just let me know. It's not easy, but once you get it, it is easy, it doesn't take tons of time, it doesn't take tons of complicated procedures and strategies. Like sales, it's doing the basics right, consistently. Do that in sales, you'll be successful; do that in social selling, you'll be successful.

So yeah, I'm there to help for anyone that needs it, but I hope there was some good advice and tips that came from this recording. And make sure you keep following Leadfeeder. Andy, what you're doing with webinars is inspirational. You are bringing... I mean that webinar that you and I did with Kevin last week was insane. It was probably the best webinar I think I've ever been a part of. And that's me saying it, but everyone in the audience was saying it as well. So yeah, I recommend following Leadfeeder's content, but especially the webinars 'cause you are... Yeah, really stepping it up with the quality.

AC: I appreciate that, Dan. Yeah, that was a crazy one. The comments afterwards, during, people were sharing it on LinkedIn, like it blew up. That thing grew wings.

DD: Yeah. Oh, I'm still getting messages from people saying, "Loved that webinar, just catching up on the recording, watching it for the second time." I like to put out really good webinars, tend to get really good responses, but that really blew it out the water. So, yeah, you've stepped up the webinar game, and yeah I'm gonna be keeping an eye on your future webinars, I know you've got some good guests lined up already.

AC: To be honest with you, it was you and KD that did all the hard work, I just take all the credit for it, mate.

DD: No, I'm joking. But seriously, I appreciate it and I appreciate your time today, mate. And, look, all the best. Thanks a million.

AC: Talk soon.


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