Kevin Limbombe

Law Student
As we all know building an amazing product isn't enough to get significant early adoption of your product.

There are clear cases of people online building a brand via twitter. You name it; we've seen indie hacker after indie hacker building a brand via twitter. But I consistently see people with amazing startups that are not having any luck in the personal brand-building phase. I've worked in tech for a couple of years and I don't think the "nerd/geek/loner" stereotype is a fair representation of the majority of devs. So I don't think the introverted excuse is a legitimate reason for lack of results in brand building. Therefore, I have a couple of questions for the grad school community:

  1. What have been your most effective methods for building your brand?
  2. Are other social media platforms more effective in building your personal brand? (I'm starting to think that a platform like Quora could be even more effective than Twitter for a multitude of reasons ie. reputation building)
This is something I'm working on personally as well so I'll just echo some of the advice that I've come across.

Build credibility
people follow you to be entertained, or informed. unless you're starting a meme account, you need to establish some credibility in the domain you want build a brand in (e.g. data literacy for lawyers).

don't tell people you're credible, show them. Reply to tweets or questions using you expertise and drive value with your responses. Write longform content about the big issues your target market faces

Narrow down what you talk about
The quickest way to establish yourself as a brand is to create content about one issue specifically. You want to be known as the *insert domain* person/company. It's okay to talk about other things, but try to be primarily known for one.

Give, give, give
always be giving away value to the people who are in your target market. Whether that's resources, new ways of thinking of problems, added context to another idea, etc...

Some tips I've found on creating content: 

What's obvious to you is not obvious to everyone
Even though you might think of something as trivial or common knowledge, there are people out there who aren't aware of it. Tweet it anyways.

Not everything you write needs to be pulitzer prize quality
People sometimes think every tweet needs to have paradigm shifting, awe-inspiring, value. It doesn't. This is a huge barrier to writing content. You should be tweeting 10-13 times a day in the early stages, make the barrier as low as possible.

Advanced search is a superpower
Tweeting a lot is hard when you have nothing valuable to tweet to. If you want to find good tweets to reply to, use advanced search for a specific idea and send out 4-5 replies on the results.

Build in public
This is kind of the craze right now. The general idea is that as you're building something, you're sharing your journey. Product updates, struggles, successes. You're already doing the work, you may as well share it.

Here are some good resources that I've found:


People to follow:

Nice answers already. My 2 cents.

1. Are other social media platforms more effective in building your personal brand? (I'm starting to think that a platform like Quora could be even more effective than Twitter for a multitude of reasons ie. reputation building)

  • LinkedIn. There are people who frown upon being/posting on LinkedIn, but I've seen some really good results. One of the other proofs that LinkedIn works (and now is a good time) is - a big-time twitter influencer @shl has also started posting on LinkedIn.

2. What have been your most effective methods for building your brand?

I've accumulated 27k+ followers and 3M+ views on my LinkedIn content. My 0 (or negligible) to first 20k+ followers was a short-journey of only a couple months - fast-paced growth if you know what to post.

It's also said that (especially on Twitter) that LinkedIn is full of spammy content, which is not true. In fact, that's something I believed about Twitter until I knew who to follow. Same with LinkedIn.

The reason to try LinkedIn -

  • Really good reach (like, really). The highest my reach has gone is 300k views on a single post. Which was literally my 4-5th post on LinkedIn and had less than a few thousand followers (which proves LinkedIn doesn't only favor the rich). Got me investment, job, partnership offers - so many that I could just imagine replying to. My previous job at FinTech School came from this post.

  • This is something I just concluded (hence not a very strong one) - but you don't need to be HIGHLY consistent. Posting twice a week is good enough to keep you in people's eyes plus to give you an edge (by the algorithm) of being a regular content creator.

  • It's easy to go viral. If you're coming up with a new launch or something special that you really need to get it out there - there's a better chance you'll get more eyeballs on it on LinkedIn than any other platform. 

    Not 100% sure on the number but I'd bet that at least 1/4th of my organic posts (not shares) have hit a 50k views.

    It may sound that the "views" are a vanity metric, but they've also got meaning conversions.

    For example, a post I wrote & posted in 10 minutes, about the launch of my side-project - got me 200 pre-subscribers and interest to contribute from an ex-CMO of a huge company that every one of us knows about.

Did I oversell? Sorry 😁

I think Ishaan Shakunt  here has also seen success with LinkedIn. That's where I met him.

Brent has a great answer to this but great question Kevin Limbombe! I don't think anyone in the community has built a big time personal brand and interestingly there are very few people in the startup world that have either. At least to average folk. Seems like they all have either built super small niche audiences on Twitter like you mentioned or they either built their personal brand and have mainstream awareness by building a massive company (i.e. Zuckerberg, Thiel, Elon etc) or have been in media or produced content for years (i.e. Jason Calacanis, Josh Constine etc). 

Then there's someone like Chamath Palihapitiya who hasn't produced a whole lot of content and he hasn't really built anything although he did work for FB and associated himself similarly to how the media guys do. He also ran a VC firm whose biggest hit was Slack which is great, but nothing spectacular in the bubble of Silicon Valley. Yet when he speaks he's very opinionated and outspoken so while he doesn't produce a lot of content, when he does it usually gets distribution. I think having an opinion that a lot of people don't necessarily agree with is super important to building a personal brand without it being an all consuming effort - i.e. GaryVee, Jason Calacanis. 

To address your question, Quora is great for reputation building! Jason Lemkin of SaaStr has built his entire brand off of answering thousands of Quora posts! 
Hi GradSchool,

My name is Kevin and I'm a "soon-to-be-former" Technical Implementation Manager (Last day is this Friday) for a Consumer - Tech company in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I'll be starting Law School in August, but after being apart of a fairly successful acquisition this Winter I'm looking to possibly start something while in Law School. If anyone has any resources involving customer discovery or initial product research it would be greatly appreciated.
Hey Kevin congrats on the acquisition! 🎉. Are you going to be attending law school in Toronto? You check out this thread on customer interview and finding product/market fit: but I think you may be asking if anyone has resources for helping you discover what you should start while in law school? Or how to narrow down which of your ideas to work on?
Kevin Limbombe replied
  ·  1 reply
Hello, Kevin.

Welcome to GradSchool :)

Just read the Pr piece about the acquistion, that's awesome - congrats. Must be an interesting time, yes? 😀

As you'll be going to Law-school, you may also want to explore something in legal-tech, what do you think? For example, BlueJLegal (who are also based in Toronto, I believe).
Kevin Limbombe replied
  ·  2 replies