In March, I made the commitment to build a personal brand for myself on social media.
It’s been fun, challenging, and has generated growth for my business.
I’m about 5 months into my journey. This week, I am giving you a behind the scenes look at the operation.
Steal my ideas. Copy my processes. Take what you need and leave the rest.
Let’s do this.
Everything Starts with my Blog
Good writing is the cornerstone of everything I do. Over time, my blog will get more and more organic traffic. Eventually, my site will be the most valuable asset I have.
My weekly essays create the framework for all my social media content. It helps me create a plan and to develop a system that keeps me organized and consistent with my messaging.
It’s never been effective for me to create social media content on the whim. It makes me doubt myself and it makes me second guess what I’m saying.
You don’t have to write 2500 word essays each week like I do. But if you’re serious about building a social media empire, I highly recommend you take 30 minutes each week and create a strategy.
A simple spreadsheet or weekly brainstorm session will work fine.
My weekly essays keeps me focused, they keeps me sharp, they keeps me organized, and they force me to stay relevant.
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Twitter and LinkedIn
I’m starting with these two platforms because this has been where the majority of my growth has come from. I use a software called Hypefury which allows me to quickly schedule content on both LinkedIn and Twitter.
Out of all social media platforms, Twitter is the one which I’ve always enjoyed the most.
When I made the decision to grow my social media following, I purposefully started with Twitter because it was where I felt most comfortable. However, interacting on the platforms and intentionally growing your brand are two different things.
I’ve become extremally discipline on the platform. I don’t rage tweet about politics. I don’t argue with bots. I focus on publishing content that will serve others.
In March, I made the choice the also grow my LinkedIn.
One note I’ll make on LinkedIn is that I have been pleasantly surprised with the community. Before making this choice, I hated LinkedIn. The constant connection requests and spam DM’s on the platform infuriated me. I still find that aspect to be very annoying.
However, once I made the commitment to focus on PUBLISHING my content, I’ve discovered that the engagement and the feedback have been great.
My viewpoint in LinkedIn has totally changed over the last 6 months and I am very happy with it.
My Growth Strategy
As I said, Twitter and LinkedIn and grouped together for me, since I publish the same content on both platforms. Here’s how I do it.
1. Morning routine – Every morning, the posts are scheduled on Hypefury. To say again, the posts are almost always inspired by the essay that I published on the previous Friday.
2. Posting frequency – Volume is the name of the game. I post at least 3 times a day and I try to remember to post one video, one picture, or one workout video a week. I do find that people enjoy seeing the videos so they can see that I am a real person.
3. Weekly threads – Almost all the virality from Twitter and LinkedIn comes from the threads. My threads are basically compacted versions of my essays. Sometimes, my entire thread will be word for word copy and paste excerpts from the essay itself.
4. What to write about? – This part took some practice, and ultimately the trick is not to think too hard about it. My rule is this … “I have no advice to give, only experience to share.” I have no interest in being a guru or telling people what they should do. Rather, I share my own experience because there is no right or wrong. It takes the pressure off.
Twitter and LinkedIn have been great. The communities in these platforms are by far the most enjoyable to me and when I do sign onto social media for personal use, I almost always sign on Twitter.
If you’re reading this and you’re thinking about growing your social media following, my advice would be to start with Twitter and LinkedIn.
Post three times a day for 6 months and see what happens. Once you build some momentum, it will be easier to move onto other platforms.
I’ve only started regularly posting content on YouTube in July. I would publish my podcast on YouTube and sometimes record a video, but I never took it very seriously.
Since July, I’ve gained 121 subscribers. I think out of all the platforms, YouTube is still the most exciting to me.
Because fundamentally, YouTube is a search engine. Over time, as I SEO my videos, I will generate a huge following in the same way I am growing my blog.
In addition, YouTube shorts are very exciting and I think the growth of YouTube shorts will eventually rival TikTok and Instagram.
My Growth Strategy
1. Weekly videos – Each Monday, I revisit the essay that I published on Friday. I then jot down some bullet points and I record a long form video that breaks down the article into a video format. Once again, my weekly essays lay the foundation for everything. In addition, this video always goes in the 6th spot of my weekly newsletter. You can see an example below.
2. Daily YouTube shorts – This section will overlap with TikTok and Instagram, because I use the same videos for all three platforms. But I post one video every day as a short. The views from these videos have the potential to go viral. These have been very effective.
3. What to make videos about? – I find the long form videos to be pretty easy, but the shorts are hard because it’s difficult to think of so many topics. My strategy is to keep a notepad in my phone and when I think of ideas, I simply list it in my notepad. This has been a game changer, now I have more ideas than I know what to do with.
4. Staying out of my own head – Every time I sit down to record a batch of short videos, I take a deep breathe and I say to myself “don’t take yourself too seriously.” What’s important is the frequency. I post something every day no matter what. I don’t have to be perfect in every video. If I stay out of my head, the process is very easy.
5. Editing – The editing is critical. I think you need the captions because many people will watch the videos with the sound off. I work with a very talented editor in Europe who formats the videos, ads the subtitles, and also ads the CTA at the end of the video.
6. Scheduling – For me, this is the most important part. My editor also schedules the videos for me which is critical, because I have a social media restriction and believe it or not, I purposefully avoid social media. So paying him to schedule and publish the content for me is a must.
I think YouTube will be one of my biggest platforms. More and more, people are consuming podcasts on YouTube, especially in their living rooms.
Once our baby is born, I plan for build a more professional studio and bring back the Tim Stodz podcast so I can reincorporate those videos as well.
Instagram and TikTok
I started posting on these platforms in July. It’s hard to generate a lot of data in that short amount of time. However, I have made some observations.
All the growth from Instagram comes from reels and from other people republishing your content on their stories. I’ve discovered that there are networks of people who work together to promote each other’s posts through their stories.
Soon, I will hire someone to do outreach for me or even join a growth network. Think of this as the Instagram version of a retweet. If someone re-shares your post on their story, that’s how you leverage other people’s audiences.
My problem is that I don’t have Instagram on my phone, and I refuse to do it, so it’s challenging for me to spend time here. But in the next few months, I will start to get more involved in this and start to be intentional about networking and having other people re-share my content.
I still don’t know what to make of TikTok.
I’m not going to spend too much time here because it’s not yet a priority for me.
With that said, I post once a day on TikTok. Over the last two months, I’ve gotten about 30 followers, but the videos are getting views.
My Growth Strategy
1. I have so much room to grow on Instagram – I will definitely dedicate some resources to posting on Instagram stories and also networking with other people so that I can convince them to repost my content on their stories.
2. Frequency – I post one video a day.
These are my acquisition numbers since Jan 1. However, these numbers are incredibly skewed because it’s only been since June that I started posting videos on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.
As is the case in all things I life, I suspect it will be a year or so before those platforms start generating meaningful results for me
These are the specific acquisition numbers via the platform. (P.S. – I don’t even post on Facebook but after seeing this I think I will start.)
In addition, since starting my social media journey my newsletter has exploded.
Before, I would rely only on my blog and search traffic to grow my newsletter. Social media has been like throwing gasoline on the fire. I have almost 8000 subscribers and now I am getting requests every day for newsletter sponsors.
Which brings me to my final point.
How Much Money am I Making?!
Most of you know how I feel about this.
Doing anything without getting a reward from it is stupid. I’m not a “creator”, I’m an entrepreneur. I view social media strictly as a marketing channel that I use to grow my income.
So let’s take a look.
I’ve been getting numerous requests from other publications to sponsor my newsletter. My goal was to get 10,000 subscribers before I sold any sponsorships, but last week I was convinced to go for it.
So, as of writing this article, I am selling sponsorships for $250 an issue or $900 for the entire month.
I’m already booked out into the future, which is awesome.
As my subscriber base grows, I will increase my prices. But as of right now, It’s safe to assume that I will generate an extra $10,000 this year from my newsletter sponsorships. I feel great about this and I expect my newsletter to be a major income stream for me well into the future.
Everyone that signs up for my newsletter is put into a sales automation. The automation sells my membership product.
As of right now, it’s very inexpensive. We charge $99 a year.
But within the last few months, we’ve already gotten 139 members.
If you combine the course sales with the memberships sales, we made $1381 in the month of July. (I haven’t done the numbers yet for June as I do my accounting one month behind to account for and refunds or cancellations).
Corey and I split this money 50/50, which means that I paid myself $750 for the profits generated from The Bootstrapper.
Assuming our growth rate stays the same, I imagine I’ll generate an extra $30,000 – $40,000 this year from The Bootstrapper.
I have the same vision now that I had when I made the commitment to do this.
I am creating a personal media company. Tim Stodz Media is going to be a separate entity that organizes, manages, edits and controls my content and distributes it across many different platforms.
Although I hope to grow my subscriber base within the social media platforms themselves, my focus is on growing my email signups. That’s all I really care about.
By the end of the year, my goal is to have 15,000 newsletter subscribers.
By the end of next year, I want 100,000 subscribers.
At that point, my media company will be an extremally profitable and will probably need staffing and structure.
I have absolute confidence in achieving my goal because I know I am willing to do the work and delay gratification. Most people quit because they don’t get the results they are looking for in a short time frame. But I am perfectly willing to get 3 Instagram followers a week and keep posting.
That’s how I’ll win. If you’re willing to do it, that’s how you’ll win too.