529: Marketing on LinkedIn: Break These 5 Rules for Viral Success w/ Michaela Alexis

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we hear from Michaela Alexis, President of Grade A Digital.

Are you struggling to come up withoriginal content weekend and week out? Start a podcast, interview your ideal clients, let them talk about what they care about most, and never run outof content ideas again. Learn more at sweetfish MEDIACOM. You're listening to theBAB growth show, a podcast dedicated to helping betb executives achieve explosive growth.Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come tothe right place. I'm James Carberry and I'm Jonathan Green. Let's get intothe show. Welcome back to the BB growth show. We are here todaywith Mikaela Alexis. She is the president of great a digital and and sheis pretty linkedin famous as well. Michaela, how are you doing today? I'mdoing fantastic. Thank you for having me on so I have. I'vebeen following you from afar for a while now, Micaela, and and reallyexcited to chat with you today. We're going to be talking about five businessrules that you have broken on Linkedin specifically that led to viral marketing success.But before we get into that, I'd love for you to give a littlebit of background on yourself and great a digital and what you and your teamare up to over there. Yeah, so I run a social media managementagency out of to Wad, Canada, and what we do is we workwith professionals and businesses and we help get their marketing, their social media marketing, up to speed, for one. But a big portion of what wedo is educating people, because I find that a lot of professionals they reallyneed something beyond just a strategy, and a big portion of what we dois helping professionals kind of fix up their personal brand, understand what great socialmedia marketing actually looks like and empower them to also take the reins of theirown business. So everything that we do is really more of a partnership.There's no here or x amount of post...

...per month and here's your report.We really want to empower people to understand how fun and exciting social media actuallycan be. I Love It, and so MCA and I. We werejust talking offline about your story and how your personal brand has has really shapedand directed your career. Could you you said that your first viral post was, I think, March of two thousand and sixteen. Could you kind oftake us back to that most and tell us how that post is really transformedthe way that you think about social yeah, definitely, you know, and what'sfunny is that it's kind of embarrassing to say it, but when Istarted building my personal brand I didn't even know what a personal brand was.I just knew that, you know, as a job speaker, there hadto be a better way of doing things and being a marketer for such along time, we kind of get into this mobile we're creating all this greatcontent for the companies that we work for, but when it comes for ourselves wedon't have that same mentality. So I thought in my head, youknow, I'm creating all of this content for businesses that I'm working for tokind of warm up the audience and draw people, and why am I notdoing that as a person, as a professional? And that's where I gotthe idea to start writing every day on Linkedin, really working on how tocommunicate effectively as a human not necessarily as a corporate brand. And my firstarticle went viral in March of two thousand and sixteen. It was called howI landed my dream job in two weeks on Linkedin, and that was justincredible. And that was like a lightbulb moment for me because, you know, as a marketer, the first thing that you want to do is figureout exactly how that happened right, because you don't want to just be somesort of accident that you can't replicate. And what I notice is that itwas just it was relatable. That was pretty much it. I it wasrelatable. I had the right intentions, you know, I went into ittrying to help other job speakers look for careers as well. So there wasno cell as as part of the whole...

...article, and that's when I juststarted to focus a little bit more about is sharing my experiences growing in mycareer, what failure looked like, just talking about things that people weren't necessarilytalking about in the business world. Yeah, and you said that was was thata like a published post, or was that a status update? Whatwas the format of that post that went viral? So I have a littlebit of an interesting formula. I don't have this as part of my notes, but I actually do both, because I think that people learn information indifferent ways, so I like to give people options. So with that articlein particular, the article went viral, but the update also went viral.So normally people will publish an article on Linkedin then leave it at that.Well, I like to take that article and create kind of like a summaryof what's included in the article and why people should care about it, andthat includes some sort of photo that kind of tells more of a story andgives it more context. So that was the first time that I did thatand realize pretty quickly that that was definitely the way to go, because thenyou're kind of doubling up and you're giving people multiple options to learn your story. I love it. I love it, and so I want to dive intothese five business rules that you've broken on Linkedin, Michaela. This firstone that we talked about offline is this idea of embracing rejection and failure.Can you talk to us about this one? Sure, yeah, so a reallyweird thing happened when I started building an audience. So I love gettingrejected. Now let me explay. So for some people to thought of criticismis horrendous, like I know there's some people that don't even want to startwriting online or cringe or cringing when I just even mentioned personal branding. AndTrust me, when I started putting myself out there. It was tough.I took it personally, but over time my perspective is definitely changed dramatically.So when I put out an update or an article, I love getting negativecomments. There's a couple reasons why. Number One, I had this amazingopportunity to show off my values. I've...

...gotten so many Kudos just for handlingthem negativity that it's really a shame that there's no sort of award for fightinginternectuals, because I would be top of that list. I already have mywinning speech prepared. But no. Seriously, I met so many new people thathave connected with me just because of how I've handled a negative situation andwanted to learn how they could also do as well, because that you know, there are internectuals, but there's also real life roles as well, sothat's a great skill to just learn. So you actually you you go headon and engage. You love that. Okay, yeah, so is thereever a troll that you won't engage with? Definitely, I always think of mycommunity in mind and you know, if someone saying something that's just incrediblyoffensive, and not just towards me but towards other people that could be inthe thread. I kind of like try to put my followers first, butif I do that see that there's an opportunity to engage in a conversation,then I think that's really important. It's also important to show that negative feedbackis not going to kill you. That's okay, but you what will killyou you is regret and not putting anything out there to begin with. Yeah, I've recently started getting trolls, as I've been doing that for the lasttwo or three months now, and and so I've taken a similar approach toyou. There some comments that I just don't feel like are worthy of engagingwith and I'll either delete the comment or just kind of leave it alone.But for the most part I feel like there's always a way to engage itand start a conversation out of it. So I love that idea of you'realmost looking forward to it. It's so weird. We're most but there's someother reasons to why they're really helpful, just from a business perspective. Sonumber two is that I want to reach a help as many people as possibleand comments, whether they're positive or negative, help me to do that. Sowhen somebody use a negative comment, my update or my article is goingto reach that person's entire network. So...

I'm grateful for the opportunity to reachthe entire new audience that I wouldn't have otherwise. I love it. Ilove okay, so that's kind of the the embracing rejection and fail your sectionof this. Now I want to talk about this common, I guess,linkedin etiquette to not bring your personal problems to work. You have brought yourpersonal problems to work and it's come out to a lot of success or it'sresulted in a lot of success on the platform. Talk to us about that. Yeah, so when I first started writing on Linkedin, I went tosay rout, which I thought it was how you're supposed to write. Youyou write about what you do for a living, and people do that ratherthan talking about who they actually are. So I had to really shift myperspective from the writer to the reader and think about what I actually want toread about boat. You know, we're so used seeing the highlight reels ofother people's lives that we assume that that's what we're supposed to showcase as well, and what happens when we do. We end up in this game ofwho has the greatest life and it becomes exhaust I think that's for a lotof people become turned off of social media in general, because we get thisalmost like a comparison fatigue. At least I know I did. So,instead of trying to compete with my audience, I chose to try and relate tothem. So I started talking about the real stuff I was going through, the struggles and maintaining confidence through the job search, the stigma of unemployment, the shame of being laid off. And despite the common notion and businessthat personal roblems have no place in the business world, the response for myarticles was saying otherwise. So since then I've continued sharing my experiences and evenas a boss now I'm openly sharing my challenges and actively working to do romanticizemanagement. I want people to feel like I'm just like them and you know, if I can do what I'm doing right now, they can as well. Has that come to any has there been any negative or any downside tothat approach that you found up to this point? Probably with the people thatI don't necessarily want to be connected to...

...and that's what it really comes downto. It. You know, what types of people are you trying toreach and what kind of relationships do you want to have with those people?I'm not looking for, you know, these surface level kind of let metalk about my opinion and you talk about your opinion. I really want totalk about things that I think are important. Got It. And how do youfind yourself coming up with what problem do I want to talk about?Is it? Is it just kind of doing a bit of soul searching ona regular basis and saying, Hey, what like? What we're really difficultmoments and of along my journey, be at professional or personal, and thenand then you just bubble those those up to the surface. I think inthe beginning it took a little bit more searching because I was trying to figureout what people were interested in hearing about and what experiences they want to knowmore about. But as time has gone on, you know, my audiencestold me what they want me to talk about. I get messages, hundredsof messages on a daily basis, of people telling me exactly what they wantme to write about or what they're dealing with, and so I just takethat information and it really allows me to give back value because I'm talking abouthow I've overcome those same challenges. I love it this. This third businessrule that you have broken on Linkedin is alienating people on purpose. What?Talk to me about what this one looks like for you. So what?I started building an audience on Linkedin. A friend, flash mentor of mine, told me he's like, you're trying too hard to be everything to everybody, to tail, and eventually you're going to get to a point where you'regonna have to take a stand, you're gonna have to share your values andyou're going to have to zoom in on your niche and you're going to alienatepeople in the process. And I'm not going to lie, I thought thathe was crazy at the time. I would. I really just wanted tobe like that. I thought that that was possible, but I was attractingthe wrong demographic in the process. I was attracting, you know, oldermen that had zero interest and what I had to say. They just wantedto get their MAC on. I was attracting the hate followers of the peoplethat were following me just to get upset...

...about anything that I posted, andI was attracting, you know, the open networkers, the people that justcared about increasing their networks and they were really interested in actually building relationships orlearning. So slowly had to get to weed them out. So the waythat I did that was sharing articles about, you know, things like being awoman in the workplace and being an awkward Biracial Kid, and I removepeople that were tagging me just increase her visibility. And then about a weekago, I created this video post where I encourage people to unfollow me andI basically said that if they didn't stand for community and self improvement and kindness, etc. That I think it's time that we start following other people.And I was PAT sureified when I posted it and I watched, you know, like my heart was pounding as, like the I saw the follower numberkind of decreased within the hour, but I knew that it was really timeto align myself with the people that truly wanted to be there and we're goingto support me as I grew this business and I grew my career. AndI think yet video actually ended up surpassing a hundred fiftyzero views the last timeI checked it, so it's doing okay, it's a good call. Overall.Did you notice a dip in follower numbers or did you end up kindof that the did you gain what you lost? So I dipped about fiftyfollowers and gained about three thousand. So so yeah, and what's a greatthing is that, you know, you have people that are reaffirming that theywant to be there, that their values are aligned with with yours, andthat was really nice to see. And then gaining the new people that wantedto be there as well and we're going to read my things and interact withmy content. Yeah, I love it. I love it. So this fourthbusiness rule, Michaela, is ignoring the hierarchy. What does that looklike? Yeah, so when I graduated, I was basically told what I neededto do so to succeed was, you know, work hard, keepmy head down, pay my dues and...

...respect management. And I did thatand it didn't get me very far. And here's one of the reasons why. I did not know how to effectively communicate the value of the skills andknowledge that I had, and that's really key. That is a missing piecefor a lot of people out there. So linkedin was an incredible opportunity forme to basically skip the line and show off what I knew. I startedsharing articles daily showing my writing skills and basically showed off the fact that Iknew how to effectively market myself. So this is a mega opportunity for,you know, evening the playing field for professionals and it's really allowed me toreach people at the top within a click of a button. For it's beenreally cool for me is watching, you know, from a very beginning whenI was looking for work, to me putting out all these articles, establishinga Mug museum where I ask people to send in mugs and I would sharetheir company mugs online. Some of those mugs are the the early followers arenow great a digital clients, which is more of a happy accident, butit's just incredible to see that that was what actually ended up happening over time. And so so your advice to someone just starting out their career would beto really hone in on whatever skill set it is that you're bringing in tothe market figuring out how to communicate that beyond just hoping that someone sees it. Yeah, absolutely. You know, I'm definitely not the best writer outthere. There are lots of things that I'm not great at, but Iknew that I had, you know, a bubbly personality and I have asense of humor and obviously I'm not very shy of being in friend the camera. So I took all those things and I really zoomed in on those skills. And in terms of like businesses, what you can do with this isyou can start sharing your message directly with whoever you're trying to reach within anorganization, just by tailoring the message for them. There's no gatekeeper and socialmedia it's very different than, you know,...

...the whole cold calling approach where you'recalling and hoping to talk to somebody. You have the opportunity to reach thedecisionmaker right off the bat just by creating customized content that they really can'tignore because it's so good. I love it. I love it this.This last business rule that we're going to be talking about, Michaela, isthat you you chose the purple stationary. We did not talk about this offline, so I have no clue it's about to come here, but I'm reallyexcited for you to explain what what that means. Okay, cool, allright, so when I was in elementary school, I remember that the kidsthat use the colored paper for book reports were docked points because it wasn't thepaper that there were supposed to use and you got to have a boring waypaper, right. And I want to be a good student, so Idid everything that teachers told me to and I always said away from doing anythingthat was really outside the box. School, and I know I'm probably not theonly one, really shook the creativity out of me, but the realityis in the real world, if you keep doing the things that you're supposedto do, you're not going to get very far, and I definitely probablywouldn't be talking to you today, James. You really have to learn how tosprinkle your personality and whatever you do if you want to stand out.Yeah, so whatever I post on Linkedin, it has my imprint on it.So I started using coffee mugs and photos and instantly became the girl that'sobsessive coffee. You know, I started using the signature love and coffee andhave followers that actually will use that signature when they send me messages. Inever use a normal resume. When I was looking for work, I turnedit into a Willie Wonka style chocolate bar. I shared selfies on Linkedin which wereconsidered like a cardinal sin on the platform not long ago and I gota lot of flap for doing it, but I wanted people to see mygoofie face and be able to connect with me on a different level and itfelt right and I even chose a profile photos that every linkedin expert out therewould they're absolutely terrible, like my curt...

...photo, you know, half myface is covered by a coffee mug. But again, it just feels right. And you know, is my profile perfect by linkedin standards? Absolutely not, but it's me and my articles are not the best that you'd find outthere, but they feel like me as well. Yeah, I recently sawsomeone do kind of a linkedin profile critique, I guess, on your profile andand noticed a couple days after they did it that you had implemented somechanges and I thought to myself, man, that's for someone like yourself who's clearlykilling it on Linkedin. You're doing a lot of things right. Foryou to have the humility to take other people's feedback and actually implemented into andmaking changes a kind of just I think, shows a lot of what you valueand that you're always trying to learn and get better and taking feedback frompeople, while also kind of knowing, at being selfaware enough to know youknow what you're doing right, that you need to keep doing right, andso I think there's a really cool balance that you're modeling for folks out therethat are following you. If there was one piece of advice, Michaela,that you would give to somebody who maybe they're they're hesitant to start sharing moreon Linkedin, they haven't kind of taken that step to putting out content ona regular basis. I know you and I are doing it daily. Alot of people, many aren't even doing it weekly. What's that? Whatwould be your encouragement to that person who's listening to this? Yeah, well, I think that there's so many businesses and people that are stuck on thetactics of gaining trash and with their marketing, but the missing pieces are usually notabout the how, it's about the WHO and the why. I knowfor myself I really had to take a lot of time and figure out whatare my unique skills? What can I bring to the table that nobody elsecan bring? What can people not applicate? That's completely, a hundred percent,Mikhaela, and really hone in on that and exploit as much as possible. So once you create that framework,...

...it's shockingly easy how creative you canactually be when you have that solid foundation that. I love it. Michael, this has been fantastic. If somebody it's listening to this once to stayconnected with you or they want to learn more about great a digital, what'sthe best way for them to go about doing that? Well, I'm usuallyrefreshing my Linkedin v every fan and all honesty, so that would probably bethe best place to start. I'm also on instagram. I do live instagramvideos every week where I talk about the lessons that I'm learning as I'm growinggreat a digital and I'm also on facebook and all the other places online.I love it. And then is it? Is it great a digitalcom? Greata digitalcom you got it. Wonderful. The KAYLA. Thank you so muchfor your time. This has been fantastic. I really appreciate it.It's been a pleasure. James, if you're a BB marketer, we wantto feature you on sites like the Huffington Post, social media examiner and chiefmarketer. Every week we send out a question related to be to be marketing. We use the responses to those questions to feel the content we write forreally popular websites. So head over to sweet fish Mediacom slash questions and signup today. Thank you so much for listening. Until next done.

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