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That’s exactly what we asked these eight social media stars and advisors in The Oracles. Here’s what they said.
1. Be yourself.
This is tricky, and still an issue for me. Anyone who has ever posted a cute photo with a good filter and caption that earned some likes is now calling themselves a social media manager or influencer. My advice: Never lose your own voice, and work with someone who understands data and metrics. Every single photo and caption I post is in my own voice. Don’t be who you’re not.
—Bethenny Frankel, entrepreneur and philanthropist; founder of the Skinnygirl lifestyle brand and the charity Bstrong; New York Times bestselling author; Shark on “Shark Tank"; follow Bethenny on Twitter and Instagram.
2. Don’t worry about what others think.
Talk about what you know, be yourself, and don’t water down your personality.
Being a personal brand for the sake of it is the quickest way to fail. Your brand is about how someone feels when they interact with you. It’s your reputation and the foundation of your career.
So prioritize the long game over short-term sales. Be patient and create an experience rather than worrying about the numbers or trying to convert customers on the first interaction.
Talk about what you know, be yourself, and don’t water down your personality. When you’re uniquely yourself, you’re different than everybody else.
To get heard on social media, you have to produce a lot of content — much more than most people have time to plan and polish to perfection. So just document the journey. Create helpful, educational, entertaining content and buy ads to distribute it.
—Gary Vaynerchuk, founder and CEO of VaynerX; five-time New York Times bestselling author of "Crushing It!"
3. Offer edutainment.
Nobody wants to be bored, so you need to be interesting and fun. People aren’t on social media to learn; they want to be entertained. If they learn something, that’s just a bonus. So first and foremost, make your content entertaining, funny, or shocking — whatever you need to do to grab attention.
To hold that attention, you must go beyond entertainment and give value. There are so many entertainment options out there that your followers won’t stick with you for long unless you provide some kind of education that will improve their lives. Teach them something or offer them new ideas to consider. I call this strategy “edutainment” because it’s a combination of entertainment and education. You need both to grow a following and be successful online.
—Grant Cardone, sales expert, who has built a $750 million real estate empire, and New York Times bestselling author; follow Grant on Facebook, Instagram, or Youtube.
4. Focus on your followers, not yourself.
Most entrepreneurs spend too much time on the “what” and not enough on the “who.” They fall in love with what they do, or sell, instead of who they’re doing it for. But to be successful, your focus can’t be solely on you and your job; it has to be on what your followers want and need. Besides, what you do can change. What if you want to focus on something else?
People buy from people. You want followers to buy into who you are — then they’ll buy anything from you. My career changed entirely when I shifted my focus from what I do to who I am and what I can give others. Come to understand your followers’ emotions and stand out by telling stories about them, not you.
—Dan Lok, Chinese Canadian serial entrepreneur, global educator, and international bestselling author of “Unlock It!"; two-time TEDx opening speaker and founder of Closers.com, which connects companies to closers; follow Dan on YouTube, Facebiij, and Instagram.
5. Consistently post quality content, then optimize.
The secret is consistency, quality content, and optimization. You must consistently share new content, which is what Google and social media algorithms prioritize. The more you post, the more you grow. That’s why the majority of my YouTube views are referrals from my other videos. Quality content comes down to knowing what you’re talking about. If you’re telling people the best things to do in Barcelona, you better know Barcelona well.
To optimize your content, use the exact keywords people are searching — “best things to do in Barcelona,” for example. Longer content typically wins, so your videos should be at least 10 minutes. YouTube organizes information based on the video file names, so yours should match the formal video title. Then use keywords in a solid 300-word description of your video, and design a catchy thumbnail image using graphics and a screenshot from the video.
—Marcello Arrambide, founder of Day Trading Academy and co-founder of SpeedUp Trader, a funding company for aspiring day traders; connect with Marcello on LinkedIn.
6. Be honest about your imperfections.
People want to see things they can identify with, which means they want to see imperfection. They want to know that even your life is a roller coaster from time to time.
The best way to build a following is to show people your imperfect world. You must be authentic.
Everyone on social media tries to appear flawless — they Photoshop and Facetune their photos and tell their story like it’s a wonderful fairy tale. But people want to see things they can identify with, which means they want to see imperfection. They want to know that even your life is a roller coaster from time to time.
You’ll see success as an influencer if you solve a problem for yourself first. Surface from your own pain, then tell others how you did it. The most effective thing a mentor can share is the belief that you can do it too. So be a role model for others who might be in the exact same situation you were. Show them you have the same issues, and give them a solution that works.
—Torben Platzer, founder and CEO of personal branding agency TPA Media GmbH, founder of business education program SELFMADE, and host of the German podcast “SELFMADE"; connect with Torben on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
7. Partner with other influencers.
One of my kids is making a living as a social media influencer, and I’ve learned a lot from him. I’ve used social media to sell my book and turn it into a bestseller on Amazon.
To stand out, create a marketing plan, post consistently, and make sure your content is unique. For example, “Dad Bod,” a song from my comedy album, is getting a lot of traffic since I created a campaign around the “Dad Bod Challenge.” Your biggest competitors are your strongest partners; so co-create and collaborate with others. I used successful influencers as dancers in one of my videos. When they share the video with their followers, I get more followers.
Be authentic and know your audience(s). For instance, I have a business following, a music following, and a comedy following. You’ll stand out with hard work, consistency, creativity, and collaboration.
—Craig Handley, co-founder of ListenTrust and author of “Hired to Quit, Inspired to Stay."
8. Don’t be afraid to advertise.
I help people build their online influence and work with influencers every day. The No. 1 thing I see is too many people trying to be someone they aren’t. Your followers can tell if you aren’t genuine, which doesn’t resonate with anyone. To be different, be authentically yourself. Try new and interesting things. Think about how your page or channel can be a media platform that gives value.
In the beginning, focus all your efforts on one platform. Build an audience that resonates with a specific topic or message, then expand on it. You’ll develop an intuitive gut feeling about what your audience wants. Then you can leverage that platform to start and grow your next one.
To expand your reach, connect and collaborate with others in your niche. And don’t be afraid to spend money on advertising to get people to your platform, especially on YouTube.
—Los Silva, founder and CEO of The Influence Engine and SVG Media; connect with Los on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube
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