Leaders Personal Brands — It’s Only The Beginning

This is my newsletter #6 sent on Feb 3 2016. You can find previous ones here or register to my email list, I send an update every week.

I had a fantastic week meeting with friends behind LinkedIn and Facebook. I also met with a few of the best users of social networks, Robert Scoble and Ben Parr. I asked them for feedback about what I’m building. Here are a few things I learned.

We talked about business and personal brands. It’s clearly only the beginning.

To promote your work in the past you would hire PR agencies and try to get quotes in the press or a story published in a major media. You can still do this, of course, but building your own social media presence is easier and a much better bet long term. You create your own small media. You have a direct connection to your network and only the quality of what you share matters. No need to convince anyone to publish your stories.

Facebook, LinkedIn and Medium replaced blogs

It all started with blogs 15 years ago and then evolved to social networks. There are still many successful personal blogs such as Fred Wilson’s but let’s face it, for most of us Facebook, LinkedIn and Medium have replaced our blogs. It’s just easier to get an audience on those platforms than on your own and it’s really difficult to get people to read your personal blog.

I thought email newsletters would die.

Email has not been replaced as the best way to communicate and I was wrong when I thought social networks would kill newsletters. Fred Wilson gets people to read his blog because he sends the posts as an email newsletter. Robert Scoble has a newsletter too and Ben Parr is about to launch one. I’m impressed by my own experience with nearly 8,000 subscribers (thank you for reading me!) and a 65% average open rate. I’m learning to use it and was doing a few things wrong. I learned that sending it from my gmail account increases spam as it’s actually not coming from gmail but from mailchimp servers. I changed to my own domain and configured the servers as some of you recommended. I am experimenting with links too, it seems links increase this email ending into spam folders. I am trying to include fewer links.

Facebook gets more and more business users to launch their pages

I had an interesting meeting with the team behind Facebook Pages. I had a page a few years ago then switched to public followers activated on my personal profile. Then Facebook launched lists of users and I think removed them so there are like 2/3 ghosts on your public followers. The numbers don’t mean anything. I went from about 270,000 followers to 110,000 likes on my page. No more ghost followers. Facebook made a lot of progress with their pages. The product gives you audience figures, has many apps (MailChimp integration for example) and seems to be a better way to interact with your community. If you have experience with pages do not hesitate to give me feedback and advice on mine! It’s at Facebook.com/loic

Very impressed by LinkedIn’s mobile redesign and traction there

Since LinkedIn redesigned its mobile app, I’m using it every day and comment and interact with many people. If you haven’t tried I highly recommend using it more and also publishing more updates and posts there. What’s unique about LinkedIn is that it tells you exactly who has read your story with the full profile. For example I wrote about how car ownership might be replaced by Uber and direct car rental from the Manufacturer. I used the example of Audi that now has a service that delivers a car directly to you and rents it by day when you need it, pure awesome. LinkedIn showed me which executives from which car manufacturers have read the post. If I wanted to do some business with them I could just contact them. Just from a simple blog post. Very nice audience numbers there too.

Medium is awesome and curious to see where Twitter is going

I’m also getting a good experience on Medium. Definitely the nicest and best web editor and good traffic, especially amongst the silicon valley intelligentsia. Ev and his team have successfully built Medium into a great content source that matters.

Since Jack Dorsey became the Twitter CEO I’m very curious to see what happens. It seems Twitter will also allow longer form posts, same change as LinkedIn did. Will Twitter look like Facebook and LinkedIn? Time will tell. It’s going to be fascinating to watch. I need to check Google’s new redesign of Plus; I haven’t invested much time there.

Building your personal business brand on social networks seems “mature” but it keeps evolving fast and I think it’s only the beginning. I am convinced we will see many new and existing leaders build very successful businesses or additional sources of revenue for themselves. Think as Tim Ferris as a precursor of this wave. It’s only a beginning and helping Leaders succeed turning their online presence into a business is a space my new business should play a role in.

On that note, I just landed in Munich for the DLD conference and from there I will go to the World Economic Forum in Davos. One of the richest weeks of the year is ahead and I will share as much as I can from there.

A few posts I wrote since I last emailed you:

The best visionary women according to my friends

Is Peach a Snapchat for older people?

Owning you car is obsolete: lunch with Salesforce head of Product Alex Dayon

Keep being awesome and thanks for reading me.

As always, just hit reply and comment or tell me anything. I read all your emails.

Thank you,

Loic