Hollie Hoadley_Discover Digital Marketing Interview Series with Kristi Allen

Discover Digital Marketing Interview Series Featuring Hollie Hoadley

Posted on Posted in Discover Digital Marketing Interview Series

When I first created my New Year’s resolution to focus more on my personal health and yes, lose weight, I didn’t realize then that not only would I achieve a 30 pound weight loss, I would also gain a new connection through conversations on Twitter about the temptations of pizza rolls and the real-life struggle of weight loss. That’s where my relationship with Hollie Hoadley began and it’s turned into a like-minded connection through our mutual passion for digital marketing.

Meet Hollie (@CSCheadquarters)

I’m featuring Hollie today with a big smile on my face, welcome friend! Hollie is an entrepreneur in Toronto, Ontario. In 2014, she founded Creative Solutions, where she works to empower others in the digital space. Hollie is a bit nerdy when it comes to marketing and digital and she aims to help people and businesses see their full potential.

My interview with Hollie focuses on the importance of a personal brand, strategies to make sure your personal brand is on point, using analytics to know if your personal brand is gaining traction, and recommended tools to use to measure your personal brand on social media platforms.

Note: In this article, all of the words below in italics are attributed to Hollie Hoadley.

Personal Branding Transformation

There’s a growing trend around branding at the personal level and Hollie said it perfectly by stating that “people are realizing that marketing is definitely not just for big companies. It’s for every single person, product, and business – no matter how big or small.”

Having a virtual home online is getting more and more important. Whether it’s owning your own domain name, staking your ground with a blog that communicates your opinions, or having a personal account on multiple social media platforms.

“Having a strong personal brand can help you personally and professionally. Personal branding is a networking tool, a client-facing tool, a job hunting tool, and even a friend making tool. It really opens up a lot of doors for you.”

Personal branding is a trend and a necessity as we see a transformation in technology and how it’s used to discover new topics, new people, new opportunities, new products, and more. I asked Hollie her thoughts on why having a personal brand has gained so much popularity, here’s what she had to say: “I think the change has been the rise of social media in the professional world. It started out as a place to rant about your feelings, post selfies and food pictures, and share cat videos but now people use it to host discussions, share information, reach out for advice, and educate others. Social has become such a powerful tool for the average person and people have learned to use it to their advantage.”

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3 Strategies to Get Your Personal Brand on Point

It’s no longer a viable option to overlook your personal brand because it will exist on its own – the problem is, it may not be the view you want people to have of you. Wouldn’t it be nice to be a guide to your personal brand instead of your brand taking on a life of its own? Hollie Hoadley talks about her personal brand strategy and gives you three strategies to get your personal brand on the right path.

1. Showcase Your True Self

“When crafting my personal brand, I wrote down what tone I wanted to have, what key adjectives I wanted to portray, and I created a strategy much like I do any other brand. What articles do I share? Who do I interact with? What images do I like? Every small detail is important.

Be authentic and real, first and foremost. People can sense when you’re putting on a show on social media the minute they meet you in person and the two images don’t add up, so you can’t hide anything.

Think about it:  If you are the owner of a clothing store, posting gorgeous pictures of new clothes and trends yet your social media is full of pictures of your cat and your food, will people take you seriously?”

2. Promote Your Personal Brand to Advance

If you’re not using your personal brand to advance your career or business, then you’re missing a huge opportunity. For people who are career driven, or even entrepreneurs and business professionals, personal brand is so integral to advancing both your career and business. Think about social selling for sales professionals, or networking for marketing professionals, there’s so much that goes into personal branding that can really help you in the long run. I think companies are using personal brands more and more to their advantage, which is interesting. I know many start-ups and big companies alike are bringing in LinkedIn experts to teach their sales team how to use social media to sell.

3. Balance Your Personal Brand Across Platforms

“If your energy on social is funny and cheerful, but on video you are serious and stiff, people will really catch onto that. When you’re thinking about your personal brand and building out your strategy, you should consider each platform and tailor your approach for each one so that when something comes up, you’re not taken by surprise. Practice everything too!”

Find Out if Your Personal Brand is Gaining Traction

I often get asked the question, “how often should I look at my website analytics,” and my immediate response is “so often that you should carry it around in your pocket.” And with that, I mean, you should download the free version of Google Analytics and use the app on your phone to understand your daily recaps of how your website and content are performing. Hollie reviews her Google Analytics to “check bounce rates as well as goal conversions and which channels the visits are coming from. I also check the user flow to ensure my website is optimized for my ideal target audience/persona.”

Website metrics can be overwhelming in the beginning, so take a minute and learn the basic website metrics you need to be aware of.  In my Website Metrics 101 post, I describe the specific terms used in Google Analytics to make it easier for you to make the connection and take action on your own.

Hollie clearly understands the value of analytics and she says “I look at my analytics constantly because metrics are key to everything, from personal branding, to a massive marketing campaign.” She uses analytics to gather insights that help her determine which branded content is working and which content should be retired, what time of day to post on social media, which interactions to focus on, and more. Hollie believes that “analytics provide so many different learnings and are an invaluable resource to success.”

When it comes to measuring your personal brand on social media, Hollie has a great analogy that gives an overview of what it takes to get the content just right – “It’s interesting to see what social links get clicks and what don’t. There’s so many factors involved, such as the length of the post, the image that goes with it, the time of day, the hashtags, the content, etc. I love analyzing those small pieces and trying to tailor it. It’s a lot like baking! You have to get all the ingredients just right to see the cake rise, and social is sort of like that.”

3 Tools to Help You Measure Your Personal Brand on Social Media Platforms

Hollie Hoadley likes to use the following tools as they can help give clarity on performance across social media platforms. I’ve written a brief overview of top features from each platform to help you decide if one or all of these tools is a match for you.

1. Crowdfire

Crowdfire is social media management tool for Twitter and Instagram that can publish content, give insights about your following and competitors. Here’s a list of features that make Crowdfire stand out from the rest (and even better, this is for a free account):
– Quickly find relevant people to follow using a neat feature called “Copy Followers” which is currently only available for Twitter. This allows you to pinpoint a competitor or someone in your field and you can gain access to the people that are following them. This is useful because it’s a great way to locate people that are interested in similar topics as you and will likely be interested in the content you’re sharing because they’re already following someone in a similar niche as you.

– Track people who follow you. This is how connections are made. When you see someone follow you, reach out and connect by asking them a question.

– You can find people that don’t regularly use their account so you can stop following them because it’s not likely they’re going to interact with your content.

– Create an automatic direct message. I use this feature to welcome all the new people who follow me and I ask them a question in hopes of sparking a conversation.

– You can see who unfollows you. Some people just aren’t that into you. Sometimes you’ll get someone who follows you for a while and then they decide they’re not interested in your content after all, so they unfollow you. Use this feature to determine if you’re sharing the right content with your audience by confirming that your followers are staying with you.

2. Onlypult

Onlypult is social media management tool for only Instagram. It’s a paid platform that ranges from $12/month – $65/month that helps you push content regularly by hosting a feature that allows you to schedule Instagram posts in advance, all while keeping track of your account growth and other analytics. Here’s a list of features that make Onlypult stand out from the rest:

– Upload your photos and videos from your desktop to Instagram versus using your phone app. If you try to log into Instagram on your computer and try to upload images, you won’t have much luck. It’s a mobile first platform and it intends to stay that way.

– Watch the growth of your followers, the most popular hashtags, and the best times to post content.

– If you have a big team or have many clients, you can choose a plan that allows you to have up to 40 Instagram accounts connected to a single account in Onlypult to help with managing content.

3. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media management dashboard (over 10 million users registered) used to manage Facebook, Facebook Business Pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, and WordPress. Here’s a list of top features in the free plan:

– Create custom streams to track hashtags, people, and more to see relevant conversations.

– Automate your posts to your social accounts and post the same content to multiple social media accounts at the same time.

– Built in analytics. Grab a premade template that’s right in the tool, and use it to analyze your account. The top free templates are the Twitter Profile Overview (follower growth and most popular links) and Ow.ly Click Summary (gives you an idea which posts are getting the most engagement).

When you first begin to promote your personal brand, don’t get discouraged by your analytics, it takes a little time to build momentum and awareness. Hollie Hoadley recommends having at least 3 months’ worth of data in order to make decisions. Sometimes it shows you the best times to post per platform, what content works best on each platform, who to focus on when looking for online strategic partners, and which platforms to focus on.”

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Now it’s your turn. Tell us how you manage your personal brand by leaving a comment below.

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