Digital branding is something that everyone needs, but so few get right. Despite this, today’s entrepreneur must dive into the murky Internet marketplace… or sink their own ship. These are the techniques I used to build a following of over 8 MILLION people — then, in turn — blow up my business…
The term “digital branding,” sounds broad and complicated. While it does cover a spectrum of activities, it is not as confusing as people make it out to be…
Once you nail down the fundamentals of this branded content marketing technique, you just have to be consistent to win.
However, some of you — especially veteran business owners — are resistant to investing time into this effort.
Trust me, I felt the same way.
But waiting to implement digital branding was the biggest mistake I made in my business…
AND IT ALMOST COST ME EVERYTHING!
I’ll tell you that story in just a moment. For now, let me make the argument as to why you must establish your online presence as soon as possible…
Why You Need Digital Branding
The fact of the matter is that everyone needs digital branding — whether they own a company or not. This is because how far you go in life depends on being known.
That is why the old saying, “It’s who you know,” isn’t quite right…
IT IS HOW MANY PEOPLE KNOW YOU!
An effective digital marketing strategy helps you reach your target audience and the entire world. In other words, your business’s expansion and revenue become limitless.
That’s the upside of great online brand positioning.
But it would be negligent of me to not tell you the danger you’ll be in by failing to take this seriously.
Better yet, let me show you how obscurity and getting comfortable almost caused my downfall…
How I Got Into Social Media… At 50!
Unlike most of you, I did not grow up with the internet or social media. To be honest, I didn’t put too much stock in it. It wasn’t until disaster struck that I had to give digital branding a second look…
I WAS 50 YEARS OLD AT THE TIME BY THE WAY.
Middle age is not the ideal time to start learning new tricks, but I had no choice.
You see, I had achieved a moderate level of success with a niche customer base. Specifically, I did live sales seminars for car dealerships across the country. Simultaneously, I had some real estate investments working in the background.
The only problem was that I was a big fish in a small pond — and I didn’t realize it. I worked hard and did better than most. Both of those factors gave me a false sense of security…
UNTIL THE ECONOMIC CRASH OF 2007 SWEPT THAT ALL AWAY IN ONE FELL SWOOP.
My customers were paralyzed with fear, so they weren’t buying…
The banks had frozen all of my real estate assets, so I had no cash flow…
On top of that, my wife Elena was pregnant with our first daughter.
I thought this meant we were going to die, but my wife snapped me out of it and told me I had to figure it out.
After some time sulking in my office, I realized the huge mistakes I had made:
- I was reliant on one industry.
- Not enough people knew me.
Then, a colleague told me about a place online where I could get my message out to millions of people for free…
It was called YouTube — and I was allowed to “post” my message as much as I wanted.
From there, I made it my number one priority to have a massive social media presence. And, that is what turned everything around.
The rest, as they say, is history.
That being said, I didn’t go viral immediately. I started the same way everyone else does — with zero followers.
The difference between me and everyone else is that I had the mindset to persist for digital branding to work.
And, that is what you need to do for this strategy to work for you as well…
Mindset for Digital Branding Success
Like I mentioned earlier, I went all-in on self-promotion because I was in do-or-die circumstances.
As a result, I had a much different outlook than the majority of social media users out there. See, most of you think that if there aren’t a lot of likes, comments, etc., your post is a failure…
IN CONTRAST, I SAW — AND STILL SEE — ALL ENGAGEMENT, IN ANY AMOUNT, ON ANY PLATFORM AS A SCORE.
The reality is that digital branding is a long game. It takes frequency and consistency over extended periods before you get traction.
With this in mind, you must count everything as a win — especially in the beginning. Otherwise, you won’t keep up the momentum.
Nevertheless, there is another aspect to this mindset that is crucial for you to adopt…
You gotta shake this idea that you are hitting these channels too much or too often.
This is the opposite of what social media gurus and influencers will advise you. However, this practice is the only way to break through the noise in the marketplace.
Now that you’ve got a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset, we can get to the specifics of developing your brand…
Find & Define Your Identity FIRST
Before digging into digital marketing strategies, you must be crystal clear about who you are…
AS AN INDIVIDUAL AND AS A BUSINESS.
Digital branding is an extension of yourself. So you need certainty about your message and core values first.
Whether you have established both or haven’t even thought about it, you should revisit and refine them often. After all, your brand should grow with you and your business.
Take the time to nail down your brand voice, values, and story.
Often those come from your experiences. Which, in turn, makes you attractive to like-minded people — AKA potential customers.
With that in mind, let’s talk about finding a great audience in the digital world…
Who Are You Trying to Reach?
Any kind of brand awareness campaign is reliant on knowing who your target customers are.
If you’ve clarified your brand’s mission right, this action should be fairly easy. That’s because there are clues within brand messaging on how to communicate to your target audience.
SO, START LOOKING AT THINGS FROM THIS POTENTIAL BUYER’S VIEWPOINT.
- What problems do they have?
- The ads/posts they would be interested in.
- The types of objections they may have.
You gotta know who you’re talking to if you’re ever going to close the deal — in person or online. That being said, it is also important to understand the ins and outs of each digital platform…
What Do You Want from EACH Platform?
It is not enough to be able to resonate with future clients. You also need to predict how they interact with social media. Now, you might be wondering what that looks like exactly…
THIS IS THE POINT WHERE YOU COMBINE THE DATA FROM THE SECTIONS ABOVE WITH THE PURPOSE OF THE VARIOUS PLATFORMS.
See, Joe Customer is going to present himself differently on LinkedIn than he will on his Instagram…
Or his Facebook…
And, I can guarantee he will be unrecognizable on his TikTok…
But, you have to be able to sell to Joe in whatever digital space he runs into you on. For that reason, research the “personalities” of these social media outlets and adjust your posts to fit.
Doing this will already put you leagues over the competition. Still, you don’t want to compete…
You want to dominate.
The best way to do that is to determine who else can you get your products in front of.
How Can You Expand Your Audience?
Customer loyalty is great — until it ain’t. Like in my story earlier, relying on a specific customer base is like relying on one type of income stream…
IT’S STUPID AND PUTS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY AT RISK.
There are over 8 billion people in the world. I promise you won’t ever run out of people to market to and who could benefit from your offers.
You may have to repackage, adjust, or rewrite the messaging, but there is no shortage of customers. In short, you must be creative. And that creativity will become easier, the more committed you are.
On that note, I’ll show you how to build out branded content that engages new and old customers alike…
Creating Strong Digital Branding Content
Now, we are at the part you’ve all been waiting for — creating the posts that will make a mark on the digital space.
This is where all the work you put into the previous exercises begins to pay off. Why?
BECAUSE PEOPLE WON’T ALWAYS SPEND ON WHAT THEY NEED. BUT THEY WILL ALWAYS FIND MONEY FOR WHAT THEY WANT.
For that reason, understanding your prospective buyers’ point of view will guide your content.
We will discuss every type of social media post you can create. But, all of them are going to do three things:
- Provide value
- Create goodwill
- Make an offer
For example, let’s say you own a health food store.
You could educate on social about the benefits of nutritional supplements or superfoods — value.
Then, speak on how you have staff that can help guide customers to the right product based on their specific needs — goodwill.
And after, the post will wrap up with a call to action for them to visit your store or order online — making an offer.
Are you getting the idea? Great.
Next, I’ll walk you through the nuts and bolts of getting this valuable content online.
What Kind of Content
As we just discussed, everything you put on the web is going to do the following…
INFORM, BUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR AUDIENCE, AND HAVE A CTA.
There are a variety of mediums that your messaging can be delivered to establish your digital branding.
For instance, platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook allow you to go live.
This form of content is great because you can interact with viewers in real-time. It gives you the ability to talk at length and address questions.
Better yet, lives can stay up as permanent video posts — which is the next type of content on our list.
In my opinion, videos are the best type of content for social media.
Video strengthens digital branding because people can really get a sense of your personality.
LONG STORY SHORT, IT SHOWS A HUMAN IS BEHIND THE BUSINESS.
Depending on where you upload, these vids can be as short as 15 seconds or as long as several hours.
And pro tip: cut up longer videos for Reels, TikToks, etc. It allows you to repurpose and maximize results for videos on social media.
Keep this timing in mind as you are filming because I’ll touch on it more in the future.
People love pictures — namely, graphics.
Graphics are a powerful asset on social media. However, they have to be done a certain way to work.
SO, EDITED PHOTOS OR CRAZY EFFECTS AREN’T THE WAY TO GO HERE.
Think back to the three pillars of every post…
Value, goodwill, and an offer.
Consider creating infographics that provide tips and information related to your industry. Another perk of these posts is that they are very shareable.
THAT MEANS YOUR FOLLOWING WILL REPOST THEM FOR OTHERS TO SEE, GROWING YOUR ORGANIC REACH.
Don’t worry about being tech-savvy. Tons of apps can assist you in creating graphics. Additionally, you can often find freelance graphic designers that are reasonably priced.
Nevertheless, we cannot forget the OG of social media posts…
Yes, there are still those who prefer to READ to get information.
Consumers believe what they see, not what they hear. With that in mind, don’t underestimate an old-fashioned text post…
After all, text-based content like longer Facebook posts or blogs proves to your audience that:
- You are an industry authority.
- You can express yourself clearly.
- And, you can be trusted.
At the end of the day, those are the ultimate goals of any brand.
I know that I have given you a lot of information to chew on. It can feel overwhelming, so feel free to revisit all these individual sections as needed.
Still, there is much more ground to cover with your digital branding strategy…
Which Platform to Publish it On
When begin this journey, you will be tempted to make every detail perfect before it goes out. Again, I am going to give you some advice that will make you uncomfortable…
LET GO OF PERFECTIONISM.
Just like everyone begins with no following, no one starts with great content. At the end of the day, amazing content does nothing for you if you don’t distribute it!
As long as the asset you create has great information, forms a relationship with your audience, and has a CTA…
HIT THE POST BUTTON AND PUBLISH IT ON EVERY SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM.
After all, every single piece of content you make can be resized, edited, or reposted over and over. This is the repurposing I touched on previously.
Long-form videos can be chopped into Reels and TikToks…
Infographics can be transformed into listicle articles or Instagram posts…
Also, don’t think people will complain that they “saw that post already.” Social media moves a mile a minute.
Even someone who follows you everywhere will miss posts you make. Remember, your target audience isn’t just following you.
Put a pin in that concept as we go over the next piece of social media marketing…
When to Post it and How Often
Building upon the last topic, you are going to post everywhere, all the time…
BUT YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A METHOD TO YOUR DIGITAL BRANDING MADNESS.
You will have a schedule for these assets to go up on social media at regular intervals, around the clock…
365 days a year…
Even while you’re sleeping.
Why you will do this should be apparent by now…
Because you want your message to be received by people outside your normal customer base and location!
However, don’t worry about waking up in the middle of the night to distribute your content. Some of these platforms have the option for you to schedule your posts ahead of time.
There is also supplemental software designed for this purpose as well. Regardless of how make sure to allow potential customers a chance to get to know you online.
The Money is in the Relationship
Believe it or not, the number one thing your customer will pay for is not the quality of your product…
This is the reason influencer marketing is so effective these days.
People like the influencer’s personality. They trust them. And more importantly, they don’t feel like they’re being sold to.
The difference here is that I want YOU to become the celebrity spokesperson for your company. After all, no one will promote your business harder or more effectively than you.
This is the theory behind any branding campaign — it makes sense it is fundamental in the digital sphere as well. Now that you have the basics, I will reveal facts about social media marketing that no one else will admit…
What NO ONE Tells You About Internet Marketing
As I mentioned before, I currently have over 8 million followers across all my platforms. I was even named Top Marketing Influencer to Watch in 2017. I am not telling you these stats to brag, by the way…
THE REASON I BRING THEM UP IS BECAUSE I ACCOMPLISHED THOSE THINGS DESPITE MAKING TONS OF MISTAKES!
And, I guarantee that I would be ten times more recognizable and WEALTHY had I known the following facts.
So without further ado, these are the secrets to cracking the social media code…
Collaboration is King
A regret I have in terms of my digital branding strategy is this…
I SPENT TOO MUCH TIME TRYING TO DO EVERYTHING ON MY OWN.
Just like you are trying to connect with your audience, you need partnerships with people better at the game than you.
Collaboration and cross-promotion are some of the few actual shortcuts to blowing up your follower count. There is no reason to wait to start reaching out for these efforts either.
If your message and product are solid, others will work with you.
CTAs Are NOT Always For a Sale
This article already covered the three pillars of every post — value, goodwill, and a call to action. However, you are not always going to ask for them to swipe their card…
When establishing an online presence, brand awareness is more important than transactions.
With that in mind, other types of CTAs to ask for include:
You may have noticed that all of these non-monetary calls to action have something in common.
They are all types of engagement — which may be the most important social media metric of all…
All Engagement is Good Engagement
So, here’s the deal…
No matter how great your content is, someone is going to have something negative to say about it. And you know what?
LET THEM. IT BENEFITS YOU.
See, the funny thing about these social media channels is that they register all engagement the same way…
Even hate indicates to them that a post is good, so it shows it to even more people! It’s pretty wild. For this reason, take negative feedback with a grain of salt.
It would be far worse if you were getting no interaction at all.
One Post Can’t Kill Your Brand
This is the perfect time to hammer in the point that you don’t need to be perfect on these platforms.
With the prevalence of cancel culture, it makes people nervous that they could accidentally say the wrong thing. But, understand this…
You are human and the purpose of online marketing is to showcase the humanity behind your business.
The masses forgive and forget on a daily basis. (We’re looking at you, Elon.) Don’t let fear keep you from putting yourself out there and getting some skin in the game.
The Algorithm Can and WILL Change
In ancient times of social media — the early 2000s — your number of followers indicated how many people saw your content.
UNLUCKY FOR US, THAT IS NO LONGER THE CASE.
The programming that sorts through and prioritizes posts has changed throughout the years.
This programming — called the algorithm — is always evolving to keep users on their sites longer. Even social media experts are not completely sure how the algorithm works.
However, you need to be informed about what is known and be ready to adapt as things change.
I can already hear you saying, “Grant, this is way too much work.” I promise this stuff pays off.
To prove my point, I’ll tell you how digital branding helped me land one of my biggest deals ever…
Strong Digital Branding Opens Doors
The story I’m about to tell you shows the power of an online presence.
It happened several years ago in Houston, Texas. I was on a business trip there to look for great multifamily real estate deals.
AFTER WALKING ABOUT 15 LACKLUSTER PROPERTIES, I FOUND THE ONE.
Immediately, I did some research and found out who the owner was to make him an offer. Turns out that the owner was in the top three apartment owners in the country.
When I called this guy up, his first response was that he “didn’t know me.” But, I was determined and told him I was going to fly out for a meeting.
Right before the appointment, I contacted him again to confirm that this big shot would see me. And, you’ll never believe what he told me….
“GRANT, NO NEED TO FLY OUT. MY 19-YEAR-OLD SON FOLLOWS YOU AND LOVES YOUR MATERIAL.”
Needless to say, I closed the deal and it made me approximately $20 million.
Those are the opportunities digital branding can allow you — if you stick with it…
Further Fine-Tune Your Digital Branding
I hope that after you’ve finished reading this, you have been equipped with a strong arsenal of digital marketing tools.
Also, I hope you see that social media platforms are a gift that can make your business a global name…
There is a lot to unpack here, so it is understandable if you still need some guidance. In that case, I recommend my Marketing Essentials Workshop.
The Workshop can be attended either virtually or in person. And there, my team walks you through everything we do to feed the social media beast. You can get more information here.
But remember what I told you, it’s better to be seen and be bad at it than not seen at all.
So, get out there and be great.
— Grant Cardone
Disclaimer: This content is intended to be used for educational and informational purposes only. Individual results may vary. You should perform your own due diligence and seek the advice from a professional to verify any information on our website or materials that you are relying upon if you choose to make an investment or business decision. Investment, real estate, and business involve great risk and there is no guarantee of performance or results.We are not attorneys, investment advisers, accountants, tax professionals or financial advisers and any of the content presented should not be taken as professional advice. We recommend seeking the advice of a financial professional before you invest, and we accept no liability whatsoever for any loss or damage you may incur.