July 05, 2016

[INTERVIEW] Doing What You Love & Building Up Your Brand


Recognized as a branding expert and featured in the Wall Street Journal, BBC, Mashable, CNBC, SmartMoney, and more, Jeremy Goldman is the founder and CEO of Firebrand Group, an award-winning firm focused on building powerful brands through innovative digital marketing and social media strategies.

With clients that range from big names like Colgate, Amtrak, and Inc., it's clear that Jeremy and his team are pros at what they do. Their services fall under the digital marketing umbrella and brands can get their help on mobile marketing, social amplification, and digital positioning, all crucial aspects of getting your brand out there in our digital age. In addition to his work managing Firebrand Group, Jeremy is columnist for Inc.com and recently released his second book in May 2016, Getting to Like: How to Boost Your Personal and Professional Brand to Expand Opportunities, Grow Your Business, and Achieve Financial Success (with co-author Ali B. Zagat).

Jeremy shared his insights with us on the art of using social media to market yourself and your business, what his preference is for a social media platform for networking and why you would want to build up and market your personal brand in the first place.

Contactually Influencer Interview...

Interview with Jeremy Goldman:

Contactually: Founder of Firebrand Group, author of Getting to Like and Going Social, and a frequent keynote speaker, you've got a lot on your plate. How do you maintain your network while continuing to engage with everything else?

Jeremy: It's not easy! I think the trick for me is to really love what I'm doing. It lets me spend relatively insane hours trying to get everything done. I never feel like I get everything done, to be honest, but at least I make a bigger dent in my projects by being willing to give up a decent chunk of my personal life. But again, when you love what you do, it's no sacrifice at all.

Contactually: What role has networking and relationship building played in your career?

Jeremy: Networking is huge. Building strong relationships is incredibly important. I think there was a time where I naively felt that you could just do a great job and you'd get recognized for being a rising star, but the reality is that there are a few billion people out there. Doing a great job is a prerequisite for success; building strong relationships is the tie-breaker that you need to be a star.

Contactually: You've got an impressive number of followers and engagement on social media - specifically Twitter - how did you build that following and how have you leveraged it for your business and personal brand?

Jeremy: I think the fact that I got onto Twitter early on certainly helps. It's the same principle on Instagram and Snapchat; the folks who have significant followings have tended to jump on platforms early on, which allowed them to test what works and what doesn't. For me, Twitter is a mix of quality of relationships and quantity; I don't look at followers as followers. Those are actual human beings with feelings and opinions and if I make a real attempt to connect with them on a personal level, something great might come out of it.

Contactually: You recently released your latest book Getting to Like, all about creating a personal brand for future professional opportunities. What would you say is the biggest takeaway from the book for those looking to create their personal brand?

Jeremy: For me, the biggest takeaway is that today's economic conditions - not to mention globalization - threaten to commoditize all of us in a way we've never seen before. If you don't want to be looked at as an easily replaceable cog, you have to invest in brand-building.

Contactually: Is there a particular social platform you prefer over others for your networking and brand building?

Jeremy: The best way to build your brand is through digital platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. Of course, there might be some folks who would be better served by Pinterest, or Instagram, or even Snapchat. But part of the book actually deals with trying to figure out what works best for your brand, and committing to doing a few things really well, as opposed to just engaging on all platforms but at a mediocre level.

Contactually: How do you continue to maintain your relationships and network at such a large scale?

Jeremy: Spending a good deal of time at it, and using automation and tools like Contactually strategically. You can't pretend like tools can do everything and the human touch doesn't matter; to win, you need a combination of the two.

Contactually: Any tips or tricks for sending an email that always gets a response?

Jeremy: You know, I don't think I've figured that out perfectly yet, to be honest. But I would say the top secret to getting responses is to let people know that it's a genuine email coming from a genuine person. If you sacrifice the personal touch, you give up on the vast majority of potential responses.

Contactually: What's your top advice or quick tip for someone looking to build up their personal brand?

Jeremy: Be willing to spend a good deal of time testing out what works for you and what doesn't. Understand that it's a long-term commitment, and if you're looking for "get rich quick"-style hacks to become a well-respected in your professional community, you're going to be disappointed. It's hard work, but it's worth it.

Start building your brand...

Personality and genuine interactions are what Jeremy stresses when it comes to building up your brand. Plus, some automation here and there...but don't overdo it. Whether you're just getting started in the workforce or looking to expand a new business, Jeremy's advice is useful for anyone, especially as we all need to expand our reach and footprint online. Be sure to check out Jeremy's Twitter for more branding and digital marketing wisdom