How to Make a Powerful Personal Branding Strategy from Sam Hurley

  • 10
  • April 4, 2017

personal branding strategy

“Personal branding on social media is the most powerful marketing tactic of today.” – Sam Hurley

When it comes to personal branding, things can get a little bit tricky. Too little and you get lost in the crowd. Too much and people feel you’re bragging.

So how do you balance it and grow your personal brand on social media? 

The man with the answer is Sam Hurley.

Sam is no stranger when it comes to a personal branding strategy. He is a digital marketing influencer and a master at personal branding (yup, we’re calling him a master).

Onalytica ranks Sam #8 for the most influential marketing tech expert. Webinale places him #1 after analyzing thousands of Twitter accounts based on MozRank and Klout scores which rank quality and influence.

Most recently, Brand24 monitored over 2 million mentions on Twitter and ranked Sam #38 with over 17,000 mentions and 32 million reach.

And he does all of these without owning a website!

Starting to see why I call him a master?

After our conversation, I’m excited to share how you can rock your personal branding strategy too.

Here are the top five personal branding tips that I learned from speaking with Sam. 

1. Pick three social media networks for personal branding

Pick three platforms to concentrate your efforts on. No more, no less.

The reason you want to do that is you want to establish yourself on those platforms.

One big mistake people make is spreading themselves too thin by trying to be everywhere. They try to be on every social media platform and soon burn out because they can’t keep up. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Sam chose Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook because they have huge audiences and are ideally suited for the demographic that he was targeting.

Once you have mastered three platforms, then you can consider a fourth platform.

2.  Build solid relationships with people

Blasting self-promotional tweets to a complete stranger isn’t going to work.

Remember this rule: It’s not what you know; it’s who you know. 

Start building solid connections with influential people as soon as you can.

Sam says that relationships will get you everywhere if you invest enough time into developing them. 

The key is how you approach people. He recommends being authentic and using your character to your advantage. Don’t try to be anyone but yourself.

He also shared that the best way to connect with influencers is to take a genuine interest in what they do.

  • Let them know how they have helped you 

  • Leave feedback on an article they wrote via social media or in a blog comment (or both!)

When approaching an influencer, follow these 5 basic best practices:

5 Best Practices to Connect with Influencers via @Sam___HurleyClick To Tweet
  • Be polite

  • Be yourself

  • Differentiate yourself

  • Don’t expect something for nothing

  • Don’t just dive in asking for something

3. People want to do business with people, not faceless corporations

Sam points out that today’s market is different. Personal branding is highlighting a real person as a face of your company. People want to do business with people, not corporations.

If you want to beat Google’s algorithms, personal branding is the best approach. How many people in your industry have the same name as you?

He went on to explain that if we want to work with the constant changes in Google and Facebook algorithms, personal branding is one way to do it.

One example he gave was how Facebook algorithm makes it so that individuals’ posts show up more than companies’. Sam recommends having real people in companies to start promoting content themselves through blog posts, social media, and elsewhere.

I agree! A post from a CEO of a company is more powerful than a post from a company profile. We’ve seen this work when Mark Zuckerberg posts something on his Facebook profile. It gets the attention and engagement like no other.

mark zuckerberg personal branding

4. Dedicate yourself to your personal branding strategy

Sam devotes a lot of time and effort into his social media presence. According to an interview that he did at Growth Hacky, 8:00 am to 2:00 pm is spent on social engagement, social content, emails, and learning. He’ll then repeat the same routine at 8:30 pm to 12 am.

If you go to his Twitter profile you can see how much effort he is putting into engaging and connecting with other people. That’s just ONE DAY.

Personal branding strategy from Sam Hurley

Connecting with the right people opens doors and increases mentions. With over 17,000 mentions in just a few months, he’s living proof of the power of his personal branding.

5. Select the right tools

Social media tools can obviously help and are necessary. However, they shouldn’t be the main focus.

Sam compared this to being the same as sports or music. The best athletes and musicians have the best equipment to compete or perform, but they don’t ignore the fact that the best equipment is worthless without the skill and knowledge to use it.

When it comes to social media, tools can aid your personal branding strategy, but they shouldn’t be a replacement for putting in the effort.

He added that you should find what tools work best for YOU and maximize the capacity to grow your presence and personal brand.

Some Sam’s favorite tools are:

Check out @Sam___Hurley's 12 go-to social media tools for #PersonalBranding!Click To Tweet

Wrapping up:

“The amazing opportunity with personal branding is that ANYBODY can learn to brand themselves up effectively,” said Sam.

Personal branding should always be about being authentic. One thing that I picked up from Sam was his dedication, authenticity and most importantly PASSION. He was passionate about connecting with people. He loved every bit of it.

If you’re keen to learn more about implementing a personal branding strategy, I recommend you sign up to Sam’s site here. You will be notified when he launches his personal branding growth course this year.

personal branding strategy pinterest

Author Aaron Lee

Aaron has been writing and sharing social media tips on since 2010. He's also written for websites such as TNW, Success, Social Media Examiner, Mashable & many more. He recently started , a fashion blog for short men.

More posts by Aaron Lee
  • I’m so excited to hear Sam will be doing a course on personal branding. He is truly amazing. I’ve met him on Twitter and conversed on LinkedIn. He really is a genuine influencer and always responds in a timely manner. Thanks Aaron for sharing this about Sam!

  • Love this interview Aaron. Sam is the guy in the industry who can share a lot about personal branding. A genuine and a kind digital marketing influencer.

    • Aaron always does an amazing job, doesn’t he Pavan! :)))

      I always appreciate your support bud. Thanks for being there on this exciting journey together!!


  • Supreme Landscaping

    Hi Aaron, great article. Sam is 100% the real deal. He communicates with a passion and he’s relentless but in a great, totally positive way! What more can I say, Sam’s the epitome of social media.

    • He truly is! Honored to have been able to feature him here! 🙂

    • Absolutely speechless bro!!! 😀 What a lovely reply 😀 Thanks man, it really made me smile 😀

      I’m so glad to be tightly connected with you and the team at @SocialQuant:disqus — I respect you all HEAPS 🙂

      Thanks for continually being ‘human’ in this fast-paced world! <3 You guys make it a better place <3

  • Spending that much time each day on connecting with others is devotion! Sam is so right about the human to human connection, which is a branding strategy that’s working in today’s crowded market.

    • Right on, Meghan! 😀 I mega appreciate my audience and friends :)))

      Ads are becoming old-hat…Relationships are everything and mean so much more!

      P.S. Just followed you on Twitter (Sam___Hurley).

      Speak again soon!
      Sam 😀

  • Sam just do some amazing stuffs on Twitter. He deserves a pat. A good networking is the backbone to any brand. As customers love to know the human behind the brand, so connecting to every individual personally is just the perfect click. Liked every tips Sam. Thanks.

    • Sam truly is a networking master! Glad you found value in the post – cheers!

    • Wowza! Cheers a bunch, Moumita!!! 😀

      I felt that big pat on the back there…Much appreciated! 🙂


  • Sandi Dragoi

    Sam Hurley & Aaron Lee, you ROCK! Great article! Indeed, polite authenticity is irresistible! It shines out from both of you! I’ll use your article for my presentation at the exam I’ll have in July to join the Social Media & Online Marketing Master Program @ College of Communication & PR, Bucharest. Will get back to you, tell you how I did! Once again, thank you! SocialQuant, thank you, too!

  • Sam this is the perfect guidelines to grow in social networking as i personally preferred 4 social networking sites Twitter, linkedin, facebook & instragram. So is it the good idea?

    • Hey Ambalal! 😎

      It’s all down to you as an individual — Your available time, your profession and your audience size…

      If I was trying to handle 4 networks now, I would be struggling. Big time!!! At the beginning, I possibly could have done so. No chance now!

      Balance your present gut feeling with ROI, and possible future benefits. How much time is social demanding from you each day? Think about this. Evolve as you grow. Experiment, refine and repeat! 😎

  • Konstantine Gegeshidze

    Sam is really great example of personal branding and the dedication and the response rate what he has in relationship building is just appreciable and in FACT that what pays off for the long run – Giant Respect SAMY BOY 😀

    • GIANT thanks, Konstantine brooo!!! 🙌

      Relationships are the core of everything we do. Thanks for being a great pal throughout 2017! Here’s to many more years…

      😎 😎 😎 😎 😎

  • Devendra Singh

    Great article.

  • Karin Schroeck-Singh

    Every single tip here is valuable. Thanks Aaron and Sam for some more insights into how personal branding can be done effectively. I would say that “how to approach people” is the one thing that many don’t know how to do…. I can confirm the authenticity and dedication (and so much more) really makes Sam stand out!

    I would love to see schools offering “personal branding strategies” in their curriculums…..
    I would love to see Sam writing a book (or a blog/video series) on the EXPERIENCES he had with all these interactions so far (I mean the good, the bad and the ugly) 🙂
    I would love to read an interview with Sam every day while having my breakfast ….

    • Watch this space, Karin! [I have tonnes planned!] 😎

      So glad you enjoyed it … Your comments here really made me smile!!! 🙂

      Communication is a fine art — Many forget the importance of each word and gesture! 🙌