Founders can’t hide, and nor should they want to. The more prevalent your personal brand, the more influence you have without paying for clicks. The more you grow your company with the right kind of customers. One of the most powerful marketing strategies your business can deploy is the prevalence and personability of its founder or CEO. Get it right, and never buy another ad, because organic reach will see you through. Even though this is proving to be the case, so many people are still hiding behind SEO and pay per click.
Lara Acosta grew her LinkedIn from zero to 55,000 followers in just under a year by studying LinkedIn every day and sharing what she learned. Not only is she an advocate for daily learning and application, but she’s convinced you don’t need to be an expert, just an enthusiast. Her agency, LA Digital, works with entrepreneurs and business leaders, helping them to find their voice, hone their message, and build a community of fans, not just followers. Her work helps business owners break out of their outdated marketing ways, using innovative marketing, sales and copywriting techniques and sharing personal stories that connect.
I interviewed Acosta for her top tried-and-tested LinkedIn strategies, that anyone can follow.
1. Master the art of high-quality writing
“Writing is a universal skill that everyone should learn,” said Acosta, who calls her LinkedIn activity a practice and was surprised when she realised she had to relearn what she was taught about writing at school and university. “Especially in my masters degree, we are taught to use complex words, fancy business jargon, and write in long form. But social media marketing requires the exact opposite.”
Acosta explained that keeping your words simple makes your content more accessible, and advised that you, “focus on psychology and persuasion, less on grammar.” After that, spend the most time coming up with simple hooks that make people feel compelled to read further. “You have 3 seconds to grab a reader, so your hook has to be brilliant.” The goal of every one of Acosta’s updates is, as a minimum, “Solve a problem for my ideal audience, deliver on the hooks I promise, have excellent formatting, and be clear and concise.” Run this checklist for all your drafts, and don’t publish until they check every box.
2. Show up every single day
“Consistency and obsession beat talent every single time,” said Acosta, who believes her story, “isn’t special or unique.” Instead, she decided to commit her time to LinkedIn. She woke up feeling inspired, “networked, learned, wrote,” and it grew as a result of this consistency across the board.
To turn your followers into a community, and have that community grow, follow the same pattern of consistency. Acosta recommends you, “post at the same time each time you post, schedule time in your calendar to engage with your network, and never skip a day.” Not skipping a day is a big part of Acosta’s platform growth, and that of her clients. “It’s become a routine and a main attributor to my recognition as a creator. Every weekday, people expect me to drop some value and that’s how to turn followers into a community.”
3. Define your content pillars
Contrary to popular belief, “building a successful personal brand is not about oversharing.” You don’t need to tell your audience anything you’re not comfortable with them knowing. This isn’t a reality television show, it’s a documentary. “Building content pillars is how you prevent going too far,” said Acosta, who writes posts based on her content pillars every day, no deviations, and very clear boundaries.
“Build your posts based on the six main components of content marketing: inspire, entertain, educate, promote, empower and validate.” Think about the topics you already know about, then match them up to three of the six content marketing themes based on how those topics can make your audience feel. For example, Acosta has selected the pillars: educate, empower, inspire. She educates by talking about personal branding, copywriting, and marketing strategy. She empowers by talking about entrepreneurship and looks to inspire by sharing personal stories and her university experience.
4. Study creators with large audiences
“People ahead of you already did the work figuring out what works and what doesn’t,” said Acosta, “so use their profiles as a thesis.” She regularly studies big creators on all platforms to see which hooks are working, what style of writing is working, what topics are generating hype, what type of post structure is appealing, and so on. “I apply all my learnings into my writing, and the work I do for my clients, and reap the benefits for all of us.”
Acosta’s tip is to, “make a swipe file, where you store posts you like.” She suggested this could be on Notion, in your notes app, or in a word document. Even an album in your photos app. “The goal is easy access, so you can draw inspiration when you’re creating your own content.” Don’t let the blank page intimidate you. Instead, imitate those a few steps ahead.
5. Interact and network with other creators
“Community is a big part of winning social media,” Acosta explained. “It’s not always about bottom of funnel marketing and lead generation. You have to nurture your audience.” She believes that having a personal brand is about having a community of fans and people alike, and to do that, you have to be regularly seen and known. You have to build familiarity in the right circles. You get discovered through association.
“Comment every single day on other people’s posts. Have calls with people in your network. Share support for others in your own content.” Keep doing this and see the metrics soar. “Twelve months ago I had zero followers and zero writing skills. All I did was commit to a writing habit, and an hour a day of networking on LinkedIn.”
While you used to have to leave your house to go networking, now you can do it in your pyjamas. Not only that, but every conversation you have can effectively be eavesdropped, bringing the chance for new people to discover your work. With anything worthwhile, results require consistency and effort, but mastering the art of writing, defining your content pillars, studying big accounts and finding other creators within whom to share the journey is the way to make them happen.