Enter the “social media guru” speaking into J219 (Intro to Public Relations) at IUPUI on Monday, March 20th, 2017.
All is well, the class is hearing about this individual's background: how being a mom has shaped who she is today, she went back to school for a Masters in Marketing…blah blah blah, but wait. What did she just say? Hold on. Followers? Pay? To the top? Yup. She just said, and I quote, “Social media is not free”
One student followed up, “So how do you find people who don’t follow you or know who you are and get them to follow you or to your website?”
You ready? Her answer: “PAY!” she then eagerly added, “the only way to get to the top or find an audience is to pay. People think you can just put stuff out there and it will get an audience - NO. Social media is not that easy.”
At first I was angry. That an individuals (lots of individuals) really and truly believe that the only way to get to the top, to obtain an engaging audience, to work with companies, to hold a "successful" social media presence is to pay your way up. But I realized, its not her fault, or his fault, or their fault, or your fault, its societies fault. We live in a day and age that learns by the book. You go to school, you obtain the knowledge, you get the internship, you graduate, you get the job and execute everything you learned exactly how you learned it.
But not everything works this way and funny enough, to me — social media is right at the top of the list.
You can’t learn social media by reading a book, or by listening to someone talk about it, or even by watching someone do it. You have to get out there and you have to do it yourself. You have to see what works, what doesn’t work, and the biggest thing of all is that you have to fail. I know it's terrifying, and the majority of individual's reasoning behind not going for what they want or doing something different, but I will tell you now that no matter what you pursue, your failures will be the most important part of your journey. It's easier to learn now that they are your best friend. To me, it's the most exciting part of what I do. I get excited to fail. Failures keep me in line, show me that I still have so much to learn and keep me eager for what that something is.
But no matter what, as I stated in my Pattern Magazine interview, never ever ever everrr buy followers. I don’t care how badly you want to get there, you never buy followers or engagement, it will show.
Let’s take a moment. Why do I continuously come across instagrammers (especially bloggers, as I relate to them a lot in my industry) that have 110,000 followers but get less than 1,000 likes? Where are the rest of those 100,000 followers?
They’re no where. Because they were bought. And the truth is coming out.
If you are wanting to get into self branding and/or become a social influencer and work with companies, they will see right through it. Good for you, the number above your followers is 35k, but why do you get 300 likes? You don’t have a real engaging audience, in turn companies won’t get any benefits from working with you.
In the last 6 months I have gone from 4,000 followers to 10,700. All organically all by engaging with people in my industry, collaborating, and my quote “you give love, you get love”. I have never and will never buy engagement or followers.
That is the base reason I am forming my self branding workshops: for individuals and small businesses. The truth of obtaining the audience and the best reasons for utilizing what Instagram has to offer for whatever you are creating. In the workshop I will also be sharing every secret I can, I won't be here to help you not fail, but here to make maneuvering these failures easier.
So please, please, please, put down your book that you think is teaching you social media. Stop consuming and start executing.
....and to ms. "social media guru" please take a second to stop looking at the creative industry knows as social media as a linear object. No, social media is not easy, but by the end of anything hard you can typically look back and say it is worth it, and to me, "worth it" doesn't mean throwing money in its face and hoping for the best.
photo by @scoutash