| Apr 25, 2018 | | 11 min read

Dennis Yu on Building Personal Brand for Local Business Success

With the recent changes to the Facebook algorithm and the data-privacy saga between U.S. Congress and Mark Zuckerberg we’ve seen a TON of Facebook in the news. Along with this coverage, we’ve seen a lot of Dennis Yu, a Facebook genius who has been involved with reporting on all things Facebook.   
Dennis Yu CNN
You’ve probably seen Dennis in the news, as he was invited to speak on CNN internationally in recent weeks about the Facebook data saga. Dennis has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Fox News, CBS Evening News and is co-author of Facebook Nation – a textbook taught in over 700 colleges and universities.

With Dennis’ wealth of knowledge and experience in the digital marketing industry comes a massive following of loyal Dennis Yu fans. At Vendasta, we are certainly fans of Dennis, but his ability to brand himself has greatly contributed to his success in recent years.

This podcast will not only show you how to build your brand personally, but will examine the impact that personal branding has on business! To get a recap of Dennis’ personal branding insights, keep on reading. To listen to the whole podcast, click below:


How to Build and Leverage Personal Brand for Local Business Success

What is a Personal Brand and How to Build It

Your personal brand is the way that people see you online and relate to you. Personal branding is essentially marketing yourself as if you would a business or a product/service to sell. Ultimately, you are selling yourself—your knowledge, skills, or abilities. Building your own personal image and "brand" as an expert in your niche.

Personal brand is all about human connection, trust, and sharing knowledge.

Get over the “I’m trying to be famous” sort of thing. Your personal brand should not be about yourself and your pursuit for your own exposure; people naturally gravitate towards others who are authentic. When you share content and information online with others be sure to offer something that helps others, or educates.

When you build a personal brand, it’s not about you. It’s not about being famous or being on TV. It’s about you with such a mission that you want to share, you want to help, you want to educate.

Dennis Yu

CEO, Blitzmetrics

Many people who build their personal brands make it all about themselves—which is the wrong way to go about it. The most famous influencers and people who have proven personal branding success are the one’s whose online content is aimed at helping other people, not helping themselves. Men and women like Gary Vaynerchuk (@GaryVee) are constantly sharing stories, tips and tricks online without directly selling themselves.

...sharing AWESOME knowledge; that’s all personal branding is. It’s about sharing things that are of high value, where you’re adding value.

Dennis Yu

CEO, Blitzmetrics

So if your personal branding adventure isn't based on selling yourself, what is it based on (and how do you do it)? We'll cover that below in the why, how, and what steps to building your personal brand.

But first, let's look at why you'd want to build your personal brand, and how it can impact you or your clients' local business.

How Personal Brand Impacts Local Business

Having a strong personal brand is especially effective for small businesses such as the local real estate agent, or the local dentist. You may not think it carries any weight, but personal brand makes a huge impact on local businesses.

You don’t have to try to become the next Simon Sinek or Tony Robbins to care about your personal brand. Your personal brand MATTERS, and can greatly impact the way you do business or the success that your have in your career.

Best Dentists in Saskatoon
Do a quick search of dentists in your area. I searched “Best dentists in Saskatoon” and the first organic search result came from RateMDs which then gave me a list of the best dentists. There is a grand total of 180 BEST dentists in Saskatoon.

You have to stand out amongst the many local providers, and in this case, the local dentists. In order to stand out, you must establish relationships by building a personal brand and sharing knowledge with prospective clients. The dentists that are building client relationships online and promoting their personal brand digitally are the dentists who are winning more clients in today’s world of marketing.

People make decisions based on the heart. People make decisions based on who they trust. They have no way to tell whether that dentist is actually good at being a dentist or not. So people make decisions based on who they like.

Dennis Yu

CEO, Blitzmetrics

It is in our DNA, as humans, to make emotionally-driven, or "heart-based" decisions. Our hearts look to the service providers who resonate with us or who made us feel good. If we saw a dentist post a funny video or even an informational video, our perception of this individual can greatly impact our decision-making process while searching for our next dental check-up or procedure.

When you have a frequency of lightweight touches, who are you going to choose? The one where you can see that they seem like a nice person. Versus, some other random Google search results you pull up. Who are you going to choose?

Dennis Yu

CEO, Blitzmetrics

The answer is simple. A prospective client is going to choose the dentist who has shared and promoted content online that popped up on their news feed. This dentist may have shared a quick video talking about the importance of flossing, but they seem approachable and knowledgeable…and they just won more business.

How to Connect Personal Brand to Conversions

Ultimately, you build your personal brand for a reason. There is always a motive behind building a personal brand and in many cases that is to drive sales or conversions. People buy from people, and by building your personal brand you increase the chance of establishing touchpoints and relationships with prospective customers.

In today’s digital marketing world, a major way to build your brand involves video marketing. Video marketing continues to make information more digestible and easier to understand. With all of the content in a person’s news feed, you should try to STAND OUT. Therefore, it’s time you start building your personal brand with video content.

How to Connect Personal Brand to Conversions
Building your personal brand involves many things, but the easiest way to think of it is breaking it into 3 parts: the why, the how, and the what.

  1. The Why

Why do you do what you do?

People want to know about you, your business, and your story. Telling stories does not have to be complicated, it can be as simple as sharing a childhood experience. The story presented in the why videos is made to humanize your business and set the foundations to build relationships with prospective customers.

People buy because of the why.

Dennis Yu

CEO, Blitzmetrics

The goal is for your story to resonate with prospective clients and customers. When someone can relate to you or your business, they are more likely to do business with you.

People have to know you before they can like you before they can trust you.

Dennis Yu

CEO, Blitzmetrics

Start telling your story.

2. The How

How do you do what you do?

The how videos can differ depending on a person’s knowledge or industry but are all aimed at doing the same thing. A how video looks to share knowledge with other people, and help or educate them.

There are over 3.5 Billion searches on Google every single day, many of which are “how-to” questions directed at the search engine.

how to properly google search
If you’re a dentist, then you probably know how to properly brush your teeth. But guess what? Lots of people either don’t know or are searching to find out if they are brushing their teeth correctly on Google.

How videos to promote a personal brand should be simple tips and tricks that showcase your knowledge.

  • If you’re a dentist, share a 1 minute video on how to brush your teeth!
  • If you’re a personal trainer, take some time to shoot a 1 minute video on how to properly squat.
  • If you’re a makeup artist, consider creating 1 minute tutorials on how to apply different types of makeup.

As mentioned above, lots of people are searching for how to do certain things online. Become a thought leader and knowledge expert by sharing simple how videos with people online.

3. The What

What do you do?

The what videos are your sales pitch. These get right down to what you do for people. You create why videos and how videos because you want to build your following, establish relationships, and become recognized for your knowledge. Now, it is time to sell your expertise—with a what video.

A what video should sell your business, your products, or your services.

The video above is Vendasta's example of a 'What' video, selling what Vendasta does for agencies and local businesses.

Back to our examples from above, if you’re in various industries then your what videos will obviously differ in delivery.

  • If you’re a dentist, your what video could be selling the benefits of the walk-in availability at your clinic for minor dental repairs
  • If you’re a personal trainer, it is time to use the compelling story (why video) and knowledge videos (how videos) to sell the various packages of personal training that you offer.
  • If you’re the makeup artist, then your what video could sell the one-hour makeover packages that you offer.

If you can't get enough Dennis Yu and like digital marketing jokes, check out Dennis' A-grade VendastaCon presentation here!

The Ease of Leveraging Video for Personal Branding

Videos don't have to be difficult. As most businesses would know, there is a lot of time and money that goes into the production of high-quality professional videos.

The beauty of personal branding is that people want you to be authentic and real. There is no more real way of opening up to your audience than putting your cell phone into “selfie mode” and shooting a quick video. People relate to this, and you become recognized for your honest approach as you showcase yourself naturally.

3 Easy Steps to Creating Awesome Personal Branding Video Content:

  1. Be yourself.
  2. Grab a camera.
  3. Shoot a quick video.

For more on the video strategy aspect of personal branding, check out Dennis Yu’s 3x3 video grid strategy.

Stay tuned for more information on how to promote your videos on Facebook with Ad targeting and the strategies behind finding the right targeted audience on Facebook.

For more on personal branding tune into the Conquer Local podcast to hear from Dennis Yu directly!

About the Author

Zach is a former content strategist with Vendasta. He is fascinated by digital marketing, international studies, and exploring the relationship between technology and business.

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