3 easy steps to becoming a social media rock star

I used to be a very, very minor rock star. Despite my distinct lack of talent as a drummer, our band, Myopic Son, had the opportunity to play Summerfest, the Hard Rock Café, dozens of colleges, and hundreds of other gigs around the Midwest.

At almost every show we played, people would come up and say, “You guys are great. I listen to your album all the time.” I’d reply, “Really? Until you just told me, I had no idea.” Isn’t that funny? Not until the right opportunity (being in the same room with us after a show where we performed) would people tell us how much they enjoyed what we did.

This same phenomenon happens today, too, and you don’t need to be a proper rock star to experience it. Social media is the greatest mechanism ever invented for you to become known to your target market, and if you use social media the way I describe below, you’ll be receiving accolades in real life from your fans, too.

Like anything else worth pursuing, this is going to take some work. If you invest one hour per business day (three 20-minute chunks each), following the formula I’m giving you here, your personal brand will start to explode on social media. Think of it as your Personal Branding Power Hour.

I personally do this first thing each morning and move through the three 20-minute sections consecutively. You may prefer to do them all at night, or disperse the chunks throughout the day. Regardless, do what’s best for you and start building momentum. You’ll eventually form a habit, and very quickly be off to the races.

Here's how the three sections break down:

  • First 20 minutes — Write
  • Second 20 minutes — Use social media effectively
  • Third 20 minutes — Learn by doing research on your industry

Here are the steps in more detail, but before you start a quick mechanical component:

Be very, very strict about the 20-minute limit on each activity. Set a timer and when it goes off, you're done. Why is this important? The 20-minute increments (especially the second one) can easily expand to a half hour or more. We need you to associate, in your mind, this Personal Branding Power Hour as exactly that — an hour you invest in yourself. No more, no less.

If you're a big productivity dork like me, you get bonus points if you spend this hour on a treadmill desk or some equivalent form of exercise. Imagine, before breakfast each day — at a 3 mph pace on a walking treadmill — you’ll already have walked 6,000 steps AND invested an hour in your personal brand. Remember, the asset that is your personal brand will only get more valuable over time.

First 20 minutes — Write

At 5:15 central each business day, I receive an email from Help A Reporter Out (HARO), a free service that matches a writer from a publication with a source. It’s what I’ve used to earn features/quotes in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc., Money Magazine, Costco Connection, and dozens of others. I also credit it with giving me the necessary chops to earn a column with both In Business and The Huffington Post.

Aside from the obvious publicity/PR aspect, there’s a tremendous advantage to the free service — a writer is sharing the news with you before it happens. Why is this important?

What’s the hardest thing about writing? Staring at a blank screen thinking, “What should I write?”

With HARO, a writer is cueing you with a question you simply need to answer. After answering 240-plus queries, I’ve found it to be — by far — the best way to know what to write. Start using HARO and start writing for 20 minutes each business day, and you’ll start your Personal Branding Power Hour with a bang.

Second 20 minutes — Use social media effectively

Grasping this concept alone will make the time you’ve invested reading this article worth it. How can YOU use social media effectively? Two keys:

  1. Have a strategy
  2. Have a list of priorities listed in descending order

Here’s the strategy I use that you can consider using too: social media is the greatest means ever invented to have meaningful conversations at scale, and you should maximize the time you spend having meaningful conversations.

What does this mean?

It means that due to the asynchronous nature of social media you can batch your communications together when it’s convenient for you. Also, because the vast majority of social media communications are in the public eye, those not directly involved in the conversation can observe what’s happening.

Here’s how that breaks down priorities-wise, then:

  1. Acknowledge those that have mentioned you or shared something of yours.
  2. Share the thing you’ve written in the first 20-minute Personal Branding Power Hour session.
  3. Help other people look good using your social media channels.



Here are the individual priorities in more detail.

Priority 1 — Acknowledge

Depending on how active you are on social media, this could be very quick or rather involved. If you’ve just started with the Personal Branding Power Hour, it’s possible you have no mentions. Don’t fret, though. As you step up priorities Nos. 2 and 3, you’ll have more and more people acknowledging you.


When people use their social media platforms to say something nice about you or share something of yours, it’s really, really good etiquette to thank them.

The most popular post I’ve ever written on LinkedIn has been shared 116 times by people with whom I’m connected, and over 800 times by people I don’t know. For those I know — and therefore could see the share — I individually thanked every single person. Why wouldn’t I? They’re helping tell their connections about something I created.

Speaking of what you create:

Priority 2 — Share what you’ve created

In your first 20-minute session, you entered rarified air. You became part of the 1% of people online who actually create content.

By becoming part of this 1%, you by default become a voice of your industry. Ever wonder, “What should I share on social media?” Here’s a hint: share the stuff you’ve actually created. See why the first 20-minute increment of your Personal Branding Power Hour is so important?

Priority 3 — Help other people look good

Why should you spend your time doing this? Because social media is the best means ever invented to say nice things about other people in public. When you spend your time helping other people look good, they’ll grow to appreciate you more than you’ll ever expect. It also makes you feel good. Why? You need to adopt a grateful mindset to do it.

Trust me on this one. You’ll never regret spending the latter part of this 20-minute increment on gratitude.

Third 20 minutes — Educate yourself on your industry

How much time does the average person spend learning more about their job? Tough question, right? Here's a good indicator, though:

If over half of Americans read less than five books per year, how valuable will you become if you simply spend 20 minutes each day reading?

What kind of books should you be reading?

Here’s a simple thought — ask your customers what books they’re reading and start with those. This works great for two reasons:

  1. The concepts you learn and verbiage you start using will match that of your customers. The next time someone talks about his or her Hedgehog Concept, you both understand what he or she is saying and are able to add to the conversation.
  2. After a customer gives you a book recommendation, they’ll love that you actually read it. Why? People love giving advice, but people really love when others actually ACT on their advice.

Tomorrow, then, when you spend your first 20-minute increment of your Personal Branding Power Hour writing, you’ll have a larger base of knowledge from which to draw.

Just imagine if you spend one hour per day — five total hours per week — working on your personal brand through using social media. After spending almost two years of personal trial and error, I’m sharing with you the easiest, most logical way I’ve found to spend your valuable time on these highly strategic activities.

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