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The recurring theme on social media is seeing entrepreneurs riding in Lambos and private jets and then producing the generic motivational content that everyone has seen repackaged 1,000 times.
It’s easy to get sucked in. You read the hundreds of positive comments from influential people that these personal brands get from their engagement groups. You see the blue checks they paid for on the Instagram “black market.” Sometimes, you even see gaudy follower numbers with insignificant likes or generic (read: fake) comments.
Please don’t be that guy or gal. The reality is that it’s all an illusion. Though they may fool many people who are starting out, most experienced entrepreneurs and social media experts see right through those tricks.
As someone who manages over 15 million followers on Instagram, including a personal brand that I’ve paused after losing great contacts from making several of these mistakes, I want to help you rethink your personal branding strategy before it’s too late.
Here’s what you definitely should not do:
1. Post photos in private jets, on exotic cars you don’t own, with huge stacks of cash or in mansions you’re visiting. Don’t pretend you were hanging out with famous people you don’t personally know. Many people will tell you that it’s a great way to get attention. Maybe it is. But it’s also a great way to look like a try-hard to the people who can potentially impact your business the most.
2. Feel the need to inspire people or post a specific type of content just because everyone else does. Let’s be honest — some of us aren’t cheerleaders. Some of us don’t really understand crypto. Some of us aren’t stock experts. If it doesn’t resonate with your audiences, you don’t need to post your generic daily motivational story just because that’s the standard. Be you. Your audience will thank you later.
3. Buy fake followers, fake likes or participate in engagement groups where people post only generic comments. There are situations where fake followers and fake likes can benefit you. But having fake engagement doesn’t help you build a real audience or network with real experts.
4. Sell a course in a subject matter that everyone else is pushing. Don’t sell an Instagram course because you have 5,000 followers. Don’t sell a course on crypto because you bought bitcoin. Don’t sell an e-commerce course after your first sale on Shopify.
Here’s what you definitely should do:
1. Offer value. Can you inform, entertain or otherwise add to your audience members’ lives, without being too generic or disingenuous?
Try to put the same creative focus and attention to detail in your content as you do marketing your brands. Think deeply about where you can provide significant value to your target audience. Share actionable information rather than generic motivation or thinly veiled lead magnets meant to generate emails or sales. Tell real stories over video or create an ongoing content series that breaks up lessons from your core competency into bite-sized videos and/or graphics with your unique voice. Whether you’re sharing your journey or your experiences from a past journey, tell your audience the lessons you’ve learned that have impacted your life the most.
2. Be real. Let your personality shine through. Put out candid, imperfect content. Talk about both the positives and the negatives of your journey. People are much more attracted to authentic and flawed people than people who appear “perfect.” They want to see behind-the-scenes, live, unscripted, honest content. They want to see you in action, being you, doing what makes you successful.
Try posting unedited, honest content, and watch your followers turn into friends and brand advocates. If you struggle to let your personality shine through, have people you’re comfortable with shoot content with you or set up a tripod with a remote to shoot content by yourself until you feel more comfortable.
3. Scale up. You’ve figured out how to add value to followers. You’ve gotten comfortable and can show your personality in video form. Now, it’s time to collaborate and create content with other people your target audience likes, find new places to distribute your existing content and, of course, start making more.
I highly recommend networking with people in elite networking groups, in Facebook groups for influencers and via outreach on LinkedIn and Instagram. If you’re having trouble finding people, look for the “top influencers in (your niche)” lists that are on many business websites. There are people creating great content no matter what your target niche is – most of whom would be open to collaborating with you if you’re creating similarly great content.
Follow these steps and you’ll win. Or, copy others and blend in.
January 3, 2019 at 07:57AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs