How to Influence People and Build A Successful Digital Brand

12/11/2016 12:43 pm ET Updated Mar 18, 2017

In today’s world, branding and marketing experts who help companies build an identifiable brand, increase their social media presence, and expand their digital footprint are invaluable. 

Cynthia Johnson is a remarkable branding and marketing professional.  She shares tips on branding and business growth.  I confess, the tips aren’t all about marketing, but they offer great insight into how following one’s truth leads to success, bliss and more than 1 million Twitter followers.

MK:  Who is Cynthia Johnson?

CJ:   I’m an adventurer and a helper. I am always looking for new people to meet and projects to work on. I have learned from some of the best minds in our industry, and I give back as much as I can.

MK:  How did you become a branding and digital marketing expert?

CJ:  I’d been working in the social media field. My boss told me that if I learned SEO, I would be at the forefront of digital marketing. I took his advice, started speaking, doing webinars, and blogging.  Since October 2014, I have spoken at nearly 70 events nationwide. My success is a mix of mentorship, opportunity, and passion.

MK:  What inspired you to go into this line of work?

CJ:  When I was 25 years old, I sold everything I owned, to backpack around the world with my best friend, Tonje. While traveling, we started trading marketing, digital media and branding in exchange for food, lodging, and money. I realized everyone needed help with storytelling, marketing, and reaching a bigger audience. A country’s economic stability depends on its ability to create jobs, and jobs are created through businesses. Once I realized the potential, I was in.

MK:  What are challenges you faced?

CJ:  I used to think that “experts” were doing things the right way and that was the only way - not true. Marketing and entrepreneurship are a science and an art. There are many ways to accomplish your goals, and while it is important to know of the traditional ways, it is also good to experiment. I also felt like I had to accept every opportunity.  I learned that saying “no” was just as valuable as saying “yes”.

MK:  What’s in the future for you?

CJ:  I want to build a technology company, write a book, get an MBA, and start a global fund for women’s education, travel, and work training. I know the future can hold surprises, so I take everything one day at a time, stay happy, humble and kind. Everything else is up to the Universe.

MK:  What are 15 tips to building, sustaining and growing a brand?

CJ: I’d love to share!

  • Believe in your brand. It’s hard to convince other people of something you don’t believe in or understand.
  • Pursue your passion. Branding starts with pursuing and doing what you love.
  • Know How to Tell Your Story. Once you have the first two components, focus on storytelling and convincing an audience.
  • Focus on Your Most Important Audience First. Your most important audience is your employees. Too many brands focus on customers and lose sight of their greatest asset - their people.
  • Create Conversation. Interact with your followers and be a valuable resource for information.
  • Assume that everyone can help you. Always respond to people, have an opinion, ask questions and follow people back.
  • Intern First. In order to become an influencer, you have to prove yourself.  Attend Twitter chats, do webinars, join communities, speak, write, blog, make yourself known.
  • Know Your Competitors. Know who your competitors are…and engage their fans.
  • Amplify Your Success. Social media has little to do with what we say about ourselves, and everything to do with what people say about us.
  • Create Targeted Content.  Target and influence your network and they will share you with their network.
  • Stick out.  Differentiate yourself.  Don’t try to fit in.
  • Don’t sacrifice your integrity. There will always be another deal.
  • Ask questions. Ask questions and learn to say “no”.
  • Have fun. If we aren’t having fun, then we might as well get a day job.
  • Treat everyone like they matter, because they do.

Learn more about Cynthia at http://www.cynthialive.com/ or follow her on Twitter @cynthiaLIVE! Cynthia Johnson is an entrepreneur, marketing professional, author and keynote speaker. She is Co-Founder at Ipseity Media, a personal brand development and management agency in Los Angeles. Previously, she was Partner & Director of Marketing for RankLab, a digital marketing agency listed in Inc. Magazine's Fastest Growing Private Companies in 2015. In July of 2015 RankLab was acquired by American Addiction Centers where she worked as their Director of Brand Development. She is an advisor to a social good company, DIVONA, as well as nGage.social, an influencer advertising startup. Cynthia is on the Forbes Agency Council, and a member of the Young Entrepreneurs Council. Cynthia was listed as top social media people to follow by Inc. Magazine, top 50 marketers on SnapChat by Mashable, top 12 Female Entrepreneurs that Inspire by Darling Magazine, and top 20 people in SEO by Guardian. She has been interviewed in Forbes, Huffington Post, and Chicago Planner Magazine. She is also a social media influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Until next time, live bliss, pursue your passion and manifest magic! Much love, Bliss Boss, Maimah.

Follow Maimah Karmo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/maimah.

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