Growth Hacks: How To Make The GrowthHackers Community Work For You— Part 1: Building Your Personal Brand

Growth Hacks: How To Make The GrowthHackers Community Work For You— Part 1: Building Your Personal Brand

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How To Make The GrowthHackers Community Work For You— Part 1: Building Your Personal Brand

Build your personal brand in a way that can act as a springboard for greater success.

As someone who’s job it is to watch over the GrowthHackers community, I’ve had an unprecedented view into how our members try to use it.

One thing that’s obvious to me is that some people think of this community as nothing more than a way to syndicate content. While the community can get a lot of eyeballs on your content, this is a super limited view of the benefits it can offer.

In this two part series, I’ll break down how you can leverage the community to:

  1. Build your personal brand, and
  2. Position your submission for greatest distribution

I’ll also include things you should not do.

Disclaimer: None of this guarantees anything. These are simply practices that will raise the odds of good things happening.

Part 1: Building Your Personal Brand

A. The Community’s Reason

To paraphrase Simon Sinek, before getting into the how, you need to understand the why.

First, consider the reason GrowthHackers even exists. In response to an early question on GrowthHackers on how to start and grow communities, Sean Ellis responded, in part, with this:

“I’ve always craved a place where I could engage with other people that share my passion for growing companies. A place where I could share and learn.”

Since this question was asked, the community has grown and it’s clear that, like Sean, people want a place where they can meet others who are doing exceptional growth work.

If you read between the lines of what Sean was saying, he was talking about a desire to get to know other [email protected]$$ marketers & growth practitioners. He wanted GrowthHackers to shine a light on those toiling away in obscurity doing great things.

In other words, the community can become a launch pad for you to show off how great you are to the very people that want to to appreciate you.

So how do you go about raising your profile within the community?

B. You Get What You Give

1. Be You

Before you do anything: have a profile picture!

It’s amazing how many people don’t do this. You’re already ahead of the game if you do this because you’ve given people the easiest way to recognize you. Don’t use company logos. Nobody wants to interact with a faceless business. On a related note, use your real name, not your company name for the exact same reason.

2. Provide Value

Consider the most trafficked community pages*:

* Signup/login pages excluded

I’ll walk through how all of these pages are personal branding opportunities waiting to be mined (other than the Jobs page — that one should be obvious).

It all starts with great content

The Trending page (/posts) is the most popular page on the site. The second page is pretty popular too. No surprise there. You would think that building your reputation by submitting great content would be obvious but that’s not the case. This is because some people try to game the system.

So let’s just get it out there.

Submitting and up-voting crappy content to the trending page does two things:

  • it puts you on the GrowthHacker team’s radar (more on the impact of this in Part II), and
  • it telegraphs to the community that you’re a spammer.

Quick important side note: the site doesn’t surface who’s upvoted content publicly, but we know. So a quick PSA for everyone involved in voting rings that help crappy content get to the trending page: don’t. You’ll end up on our naughty list.

It should go without saying that spammy behavior is the last thing you want to engage in on a site who’s main mission is to espouse responsible and sustainable growth strategies.

I’ll address content again in Part II of this series, but a general guideline on how high the bar is for content, see what show up under our Must Reads.

As someone who submits great content, you’ll see a level of trust established as someone who cares about putting great growth inspiration in front of the community.

Heck, people will start to upvote your content just because you submitted it. And they’ll know its you because they’ll see your familiar profile picture next to your submission. All this will have a positive impact on your reputation on the community, leading to more followers.

If there’s one direction the internet is moving in, its towards more curated, personalized experiences. If you get recognized on a high profile community as someone who understands what quality looks like, that potentially opens up doors with people looking for such expertise.

3. Share your perspectives

High-quality content is great for inspiration but being able to directly hear from those with experience is always going to be more helpful when you’re trying to execute. So of course it’s not surprising that the Questions page is the third most popular page on the site. I’m willing to bet that this page becomes the most popular one over time.

If you go back to the reason Sean started GrowthHackers, his primary motivation was to have a place for we could all share and learn. There is no better way to show your expertise on a topic than to answer questions.

As you answer more questions, you’ll even find yourself being tagged in responses as the person that could best respond. In other words — automatic social proof of expertise.

I think its fair to say that finding people with the right expertise on a topic is one of the biggest challenges in growth currently. I’d wager this problem is going to get even worse moving forward. This is why I also like to think of answering questions as quasi-interview preparation. Contributing to and enhancing ongoing discussions is a window into how you think. This can instill a lot of confidence in those looking to hire people who fit their culture (and know what they’re talking about).

I’ve also had members tell me that answering questions is great way to generate leads from the community. This is also obvious in hindsight. A great answer is likely to lead to others checking out your profile, which leads them to your company URL. Boom!

But what if you’re not an expert in anything?

I was in this boat before I joined GrowthHackers. My workaround was to link to great content already on the site that answered that question. I’d preface this with something like “I think this post helps answer your question fully/in part”.

A by-product of this approach was that I created a mini-library of “go-to” content for the day I got the opportunity to put that material into practice.

4. Add to what already exists

The Discussions section of the community encompasses every comment ever left on GrowthHackers. There’s a reason it has its own dedicated space: the true gold on the community is in the comments that add to and further our understanding of growth.

This means that every submission to the site is an opportunity to add value to other members.

The community dynamic on GrowthHackers mirrors that of many communities. In other words, its the minority that’s responsible for most of what you see on the site. This is a golden opportunity because those that choose to consistently leave helpful commentary will automatically stand out.

Also, a quick pro tip: A comment on a submission on the trending page or any question without a response is the easiest place to start.

If you don’t have practical experience, leave a comment with your big takeaway or aha from the post. Or like with answering questions, point to a related link that adds to or complements the points made in that post. This tells the community that you’ve processed the information and that there’s something of value there for everyone.

If you see an interesting comment and don’t fully understand it, ask that person to clarify it. Or if you disagree with someone, debate it respectfully. In the end, these interactions will increase everyone’s understanding of the topic.

You know that we’re really serious about highlighting commentary because of the discussion feed that shows up on the trending page. This gives you a glimpse into the last 10 comments on the site.

This gives your face a shot at being on the trending page alongside those whose submissions have made it there. And if you’re someone that submits great content, that’s 2x the recognition right there!

Another pro tip for you: Leaving a comment on your (great) submission is a great way to double your odds of being on the trending page, maybe even at the same time.

It should go without saying that the more you stand out, the chances of the benefits on GrowthHackers and externally already mentioned accruing to you also go up.

5. AMA = Associate Me with Awesomeness

While AMAs are a great opportunity to get your burning growth questions answered, there’s another benefit that many don’t take advantage of. It’s probably the easiest way to create a warm introduction for yourself with someone influential.

Think about it. You ask someone a great question, that’s bound to stand out to them. You can then use the link to that interaction to connect with that person on the platform of your choice vs. some random outreach. Its no secret that folks like this will need knowledgeable people to help them out at one point or another. Also not a secret that you can learn a lot by being around them. Shouldn’t you be building authentic relationships with such people? By the way, the same tactic works with non-AMA interactions too.

The bottom line is that consistency matters. Just as you post regularly on social media to stay top of mind, the same dynamic applies here. Half-baked engagement gets you half-baked results. It doesn’t take more than 15–20 minutes a day to find opportunities that can help up your personal brand. The only question is whether its you or someone else that positions themselves to take advantage of what’s in front of them?

In Part II, you’ll learn how you GrowthHackers can turbocharge content distribution.

How To Make The GrowthHackers Community Work For You— Part 1: Building Your Personal Brand was originally published in Growth Hackers on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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