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How you can use social media to emerge as the market leader- in conversation with Ashley Dudarenok

Ashley Dudarenok shares everything you need to before planning your social media strategy


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CoFoundersTown
3 months ago | 7 min read
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Why do you need to be active on social media? Which social media platforms do you need to be active on?

What kind of content should you be posting on social media? How to calculate the ROI?

How should you start working on your personal brand?

Ashley Dudarenok, a renowned marketing expert, entrepreneur, bestselling author, and vlogger, shares everything you need to before planning your social media and personal branding strategy. She was recognized as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Marketing in 2019 and chosen as an Asia-Pacific Top 25 Innovator by the Holmes Report.

Ashley Dudarenok
Ashley Dudarenok


Q. What are the benefits for a brand to be active on social media?

In 2020, you are what you publish. You publish good stuff, you look good. You publish bad stuff, you look bad. You publish nothing, then you are nothing. You get the idea.

There’s simply no way to avoid doing this. The sooner you begin being active on B2C aspects, your B2B business will step better. After all, it’s your channel - the way to help you tell your story. No-one can tell your story better than you.

Social media is also a valuable sharing tool. But don’t put yourself in the centre when you are doing social media. Put your customers in the centre - educate them, entertain them, or give them value. 

Q. With a limited budget, how should a brand decide which social media platforms to start with?

Keep in mind that you always want to add value to your customers. You don’t need money for that, all it takes is just great content, dedication and time.

It’s also important to choose your platform wisely, e.g. Facebook and Instagram would be a nightmare if you are looking for organic (ad-free) growth and engagement, but platforms such as LinkedIn are great for that.

Also, remember to be patient. You will not see results in 2 months of daily posts, you are likely to see results after doing 6-9 months of daily value-driven posts. Yes, it’s a full-time job, but it’s worth it. :)

Q. What kind of content should a brand be posting on social media? What should be the thought process behind coming up with a content strategy

Valuable, fun and relevant. Content is king, but context is god.

Remember to always always always ask yourself - why would/should your audience care? If I publish this - how will this add value to my audience? Would they be interested? Is it gonna help them, is it gonna entertain them, or is it gonna make them feel better?

There’s no “perfect” one size fits all content mix. You need to make decisions based on your brand, your audience, your solutions (and the problems you are solving). These things differ among brands, but one thing that never changes is WHY shall people care.

Ask yourself this question, keep answering it every single day and you will soon find the truth that works for you and your audience.

Q. Is it OK to post the same content on each platform every day? Or should different posts be updated on different sites?

It truly depends. If your anchor is on one platform, then it’s ok to focus on that one and repost on others (after editing / repurposing your content).

But if you want to be successful on YouTube or Twitter or LinkedIn - all 3 of these need to have their own angles, formats, and TONS of off-site optimisation. If you are serious about the platforms, do it right, and spend time creating and optimising content for that unique platform.

Q. What’s the right frequency if people keep missing the stuffs posted on social media?

This depends on the platforms. Usually, posting once a day is good enough for Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.

I, however, publish 1-3 times per day on Linkedin because I work with people in different time zones. I post my content depending on the time of the day when people want different content formats (e.g. featured report, news, light videos, key insights, etc).

Q. Is Paid Social Media Advertising a Good Idea?

For some platforms like Facebook and Instagram, there’s just no escape.

The platforms’ algorithm naturally inhibits your organic growth. I have started my LinkedIn and Facebook at the same time. Over the course of 2 years, I have 56k followers (and growing) on LinkedIn and my Facebook is at 1.2k fans. Both platforms with 0 ad dollars spent.

Choose your battles wisely.  If Facebook is your top platform, you have to invest in ads. For me, it’s LinkedIn. I know I can grow better organically, so I do that.

Q. How to measure ROI in Social Media?

There are so many ways to measure ROI depending on where you are on the business maturity scale, what your business outcomes are, how good your product is and whether customers know about you.

You can measure sales, clicks, likes, etc. You can also measure fans and the “brand love index”.

The bottom line for each campaign you run on social media is that you want to determine whether this campaign is a

1) sales campaign

2) awareness campaign

3) a database / CRM building campaign.

All 3 have different measures of success.

If you are talking about content / regular posting, you want to determine early on what’s the indicator of success for you.

For instance, on my YouTube channel, I measure success by the number of subscribers I have and the views for each video. On LinkedIn, I care about the number of followers and the number of enquiries for our services I receive each week, On Facebook, I care about engagement, likes, reshares, etc.

Q. Why is this the right time to think about making a personal brand?

I think that one thing we all need to realise and understand and finally be comfortable with is the fact that this decade is a decade of thought leaders and personal branding. If you don’t like those words, just call it reputation.

If you are not going to speak up or talk about yourself, you are going to disappear once a lot of people hop on that train. Personal branding is no longer optional.

Even if you work for a company, you need to be a thought leader. You need to start sharing your knowledge, you need to put it out there. AI is coming and a lot of jobs are going to change significantly. People who don’t have a voice or not doing thought leadership are most likely going to be the ones AI gets rid of. That’s even more so if you are in business or an entrepreneur.

If you don’t have the voice or reputation, nobody will work with you, simply because people work with people they know, like and trust. 

Q. How could personal branding help an individual in getting their brand recognized through social media?

People don't want to follow brands, people like to follow other people. People do business with those they know, like and trust.

On social media, you have the opportunity to 1) reach others (be known), 2) to show who you are (present your style and be liked by similar people like you) and 3) trusted (because you show up every single day, they know you are reliable and will not disappear tomorrow.)

Q. What’s the first step towards establishing one’s personal brand?

Put yourself out there. Do it every single day and make it a habit. I would say give it a minimum of 4 months. There’s no lift to success, you'll have to take the stairs and do it daily. It’s all 100% of psychology. 

Q. Why should employees’ work on their personal brand even if they are not actively looking for a job change, and how can businesses be benefitted from the personal brand of their employees?

No matter what you do in life, a personal brand is something no one can take away from you. Invest in it early. A personal brand is just your “reputation” in other words. For the first few years, you need to work hard on building your reputation, and for the rest of your life, your reputation will work for you.

As a business owner, you want to encourage your employees to build their own brands. You want to lift others up, true leaders create other leaders.

Q. What are some of the most common mistakes individuals make while establishing their personal brand, and how to avoid committing them?

They outsource it and let someone else do it for them. It just doesn't work. You need to have a voice. That voice should be yours, it needs to be authentic for it to work.

The second mistake, giving up too quickly. If you are thinking you tried hard enough and it doesn’t work for you just after 3 months, you are giving up too early.

The last mistake is to ask everybody for the advice. I’m very much against it. Ask people for advice from only the people that you trust. Those that are currently at where you want to be in 10 years. Ask someone who has done the work and succeeded at it, not the random “general public”.


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Ashley Dudarenok is a renowned China marketing expert, entrepreneur, bestselling author, professional speaker, and vlogger. She was recognized as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Marketing in 2019 and chosen as an Asia-Pacific Top 25 Innovator by the Holmes Report.

She is the founder of a China-focused social media agency Alarice and China insights and training company ChoZan. Ashley runs the world’s #1 YouTube business vlog about the China market, consumers and social media at Ashley Talks. She is an author of 3 Amazon bestsellers on China. Ashley is an active supporter of women in leadership and is the creator of the self-development program FIRE. She’s a regular contributor to the SCMP, Technode, the Next Web, China Daily and is often featured in other media such as Forbes, BBC, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, WIRED, etc.

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