How Your Personal Accounts Influence Your Startup’s Succes [And How To Become An Influcener]

Published on:

Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi, says that he doesn’t use his personal brand for Raspberry Pi’s success and that he believes their website is their strongest weapon. What else he thinks? Read on and find out.

Recently I undertook an assignment to find professionals that influence the brand market in the UK and Scotland, how they became influencers, what makes them influencers and how does their influence affects their business success. I also want to see if there are similarities in the way those influencers use social media.

I started out by searching online, trying to find out who the most influential people are when it comes to branding in the UK. I had no luck so I’ve decided to use a different approach and developed a questionnaire in addition to calling people. Many hours later I finally managed to get to talk on the phone with Louise Graham, co-founder of The Think Collective.

I figured that spending time on the phone wasn’t giving me the results I needed so after talking to Louise I’ve created a very short questionnaire using Google Forms and I’ve forwarded it to a number of people. I had very few responses. Four responses to be exact. I needed to find a different way of thinking probably. So I’ve decided to use a tool called Hashtagify – Hashtagify helped me identify the top 14 influencers in the world using #branding.

I wanted to focus on people who are not very famous because I want to give a realistic goal to you, something that you can also achieve in the foreseeable future. I know that 14 people don’t give me a huge sample but they have many things in common, which helps me understand what someone should do if they want to achieve an influencer status. I would like to note that I will continue sending the questionnaire after I publish this post; I hope I’ll get more significant traction over time.

So, here’s the list of people who replied to my questionnaire, talking about their company, brand and how they developed their brand. I will also write a summary of my understandings from analyzing the activities of the 10 top influencers based on the #branding hashtag, and suggestions for building your brand at the end of the post, so keep reading!

Eben Upton

Eben Upton is the CEO of Raspberry Pi, an award-winning credit card sized computer. He’s using his personal Twitter profile to share information about education and the Raspberry Pi usage by different people. Eben doesn’t think that his personal status has influenced the success of Raspberry Pi.

On Becoming An Influencer

Eben doesn’t think of himself as an influencer. Similarly to Sugru (see below), Raspberry Pi has a strong sense of community and someone can understand that their focus is education and their community just by visiting their website.

On Awards

Over the years Raspberry Pi has won various awards. For Eben, the most notable is the INDEX design award awarded in Denmark. From this one can see, that Eben’s and Raspberry Pi’s mission is more focused on educating and improving lives instead of just running a successful business.

On Best Channels To Reach An Audience

According to Eben, the most effective medium for Raspberry Pi is their website. People probably find the plethora of information on the website very useful. The numerous communities for the product should be playing a role, though.

Louise Graham

Louise Graham is one of the co-founders of The Think Collective. The aim is to create a community in which young people can be educated and create new inventions using technology such as virtual reality. The Collective wants to encourage people to solve problems creatively as opposed to technically.

Louise considers herself to be somewhat influential in the areas of marketing and creative industries. To achieve a level of influence during her 12 and a half years running ThinkFrog Marketing she won a number of competitions such as the “Construction Marketing Awards” in London and the “E-commerce Scotland Awards”. Louise and her team were recognized for their creative approaches to marketing challenges.

On Becoming An Influencer

Louise says that she’s still in the process of becoming a real influencer. Besides the awards, she sees strong results from activities such as:

  • Working with creative people – after a good collaboration they talk about her and her job with other creative people
  • Running Mastermind Events – People attending the events will listen to Louise talking and sharing her experiences.
  • Getting listed in publications and on related blogs (such as this one) – This year she’s also planning to launch an online mastermind and Q&A webinar to reach more people globally.

On Awards

To get awarded Louise simply entered her company in the competitions. If you are looking for a starting point, competitions that accept applications could be a start for you.

On Best Channels To Reach An Audience

To expand her circle, Louise is sharing useful information on entrepreneurial Facebook groups and attending as many networking events as possible.

Ekaterina Matveeva

Ekaterina is not particularly active on Twitter but she’s more active on Facebook. She’s the founder of Amolingua, a language teaching startup.

She is one of the most hard-working entrepreneurs I know and her personal brand helps her business thrive. I personally like the idea of having a personal brand because a business might close down or you might move on, but your brand will remain with you forever.

On Becoming An Influencer

To develop her personal brand and influence Ekaterina has done a lot of things, some of them are listed below:

  • Through academia
  • Constant learning
  • Writing scientific articles
  • Writing popular articles for magazines
  • Speaking on TV & Radio
  • Delivering a TEDx talk
  • Publishing books in the area of her influence

As you can see, Ekaterina has followed a logical process, and because of the nature of her activities, she doesn’t need to focus on social media exposure as much as delivering a strong presentation on TV or at TEDx.

On Awards

Besides delivering presentations and having interviews, Ekaterina has won over 18 awards. Some of the awards are:

  • UK Business Woman 2015 – theGradFacto
  • TOP 20 world’s start-ups of 2015 – CNBC
  • TOP 50 world’s start-ups of 2015 – GEW50
  • Winner of SpeedPitching Competition – HHH at Google Campus, London

You can see a list of most of Ekaterina’s awards on her LinkedIn page.

Jane ni Dhulchaointigh

Jane is the inventor of Sugru (moldable glue) – a unique material that feels and looks like play dough when taken out of the pack but sticks to most things, turning into a strong flexible rubber overnight. There are now 1mln people using it in over 170 countries to fix and improve their stuff.

Jane does not consider herself an influencer, though she has managed to create a strong brand for Sugru. Sometimes is easier or even better to develop a brand for your product as people become emotionally attached to brands they love, think of Apple Computers for example.

On Becoming An Influencer

Jane had a very clear vision of what Sugru would be from day one: colorful, a pleasure to use, versatile and it would feel like magic. Creating the technology to actually do that was a big challenge but once they nailed it, they made just enough samples to launch to some key tech bloggers. Following a 5 star review from Harry Wallop things just took off. Social media has played a huge part in building a community of Sugru users who constantly share their DIY projects, helping to build awareness around the world. Moving into retail is also a key way for Sugru to achieve their mission of getting more people fixing and making things again.

To break it down:

  • Clear vision – People can relay to Jane’s vision
  • Blogger reviews, especially important was Harry Wallop’s one
  • Developed a sense of community by encouraging people to share their DIY project using Sugru
  • People buy products that friends and family buy without asking many questions
  • After awareness was created, retailers took it in and it helped the brand to grow further

On Awards

Sugru has received recognition from TIME Magazine as one of ‘The 50 Best Inventions of 2010’ and has been dubbed the “21st-century duct tape” by Forbes.

In 2012, Sugru won the inaugural London Design Festival Design Entrepreneur award, whilst Observer listed Sugru as one of Britain’s New Radicals: a UK business changing the world for the better.

In 2015 Sugru was named ‘Best DIY Product’ by the British Hardware Federation and ‘DIY Product of the Year’ by a panel of judges at the annual DIY Week Awards ceremony who agreed Sugru is a ‘truly innovative and exciting product.’

On Best Channels To Reach An Audience

Because Sugru’s community is developing a lot of content, the team is recreating their community’s content and share it on their platforms such as:

  • Facebook (78k+ likes)
  • Twitter (20k+ followers)
  • Instagram (8k+ followers)
  • YouTube (32k+ subscribers)
  • Pinterest

Sharing images and videos is proven to be very effective, and having a product like Sugru helps you to create entertaining content, people like entertaining content. Here as 37 visual content marketing statistics so you can understand the reasons better

Charles Friedo Frize

Charles is the founder Frize Media, a digital marketing company. According to Charles, his brand was developed by providing informative and interesting content from the norms.

On Becoming An Influencer

The most defining moment for the development of his brand success was when a minimum of 10,000 daily visitors read and shared his pages. He sees himself as an influencer and he thinks that his personal status as an influencer impacts the success of his business. His influence is heavily relying on content generation so he needs to be consistent with his audience.

On Awards

Charles is the only person on this list that hasn’t won any awards, neither himself or his business.

On Best Channels To Reach An Audience

Charles says that the most effective mediums for him are his website and Social Media Platforms, mainly Twitter where he has more than 14k followers.

How To Become An Influcencer Yourself

Besides the founders & CEO on this list, I spent lots of time analyzing the top branding accounts on Twitter, based on their reach. To help me find these top accounts for the topic #branding I’ve used a tool called Hashtagify, as I mentioned in the beginning.

Here is the list of accounts I focused on:

  1. @exponetusa
  2. @j_heich
  3. @youbrandinc
  4. @vittorpia
  5. @charlesfrize (see above)
  6. @emceeslim
  7. @juntaedelane
  8. @googleexpertuk
  9. @ibusinesstrends
  10. @igornaming

Most of the accounts above share some key characteristics. Let me elaborate:

Common Characteristics Of Top Influencer Accounts

  1. Lots of content in their websites and blogs
  2. Active on Twitter, posting multiple times every day – mostly original content
  3. Most of them host events, keynotes, and presentations where a lot of attendees can hear them talking at once
  4. Most of them make sure to have publications such as magazines, blogs, newspapers to write about them

What Steps Should You Take?

Based on our analysis, you have to:

  • Have a clear vision and focus your energy on a specific area of influence
  • Create original content on your area of expertise and publish one blog post at least once a month
  • Get reviews from established publications for your work or product
  • Create events such as meet-ups, keynotes, training sessions – try to collaborate with other people, try to talk to tens and hundreds of people at once
  • Apply for awards – if you want to become an influencer you probably feel confident about your skills and work, try to win awards, you’ll get lots of free PR
  • Choose 3-6 channels/mediums for the distribution of your content
  • Create colorful and entertaining content (images and video)
  • Build a community with your clients




Sharing is caring!