I have a personal vendetta against birthday posts.
Note, I think life is great, and I love when anyone can celebrate another year of it. My issue is seeing strangers that I have no connection to invading my timeline. I follow accounts because I’m interested in getting to know the people behind the accounts, not because I want to see them post birthday messages for their former college roommate. These posts may be well-intentioned, but they do nothing for me – they aren’t why I hit the “Follow” button.
Think of it this way. Say there’s a woman that agrees to go on a date with a guy. She agrees to go on the date in the hopes she’ll get to know more about this man. Unfortunately for her, he talks about the Nationals winning the World Series (go Nats) literally the entire time. Nowhere in the conversation has the man given insight into who he is, except for being a baseball fan, and this woman is left wondering why she bothered showing up.
You don’t want your followers to regret clicking that little blue button and showing up for your content. People follow you for you. They want a little access into who you are, and want to develop a “digital connection.” They want a relationship with you (yes, you, my winsome reader).
And remember, dear reader: Posting content simply for the sake of posting “content” is no way to live your life. Generic content rarely captures all of the qualities that make a person worth following. Take Sir Richard Branson’s Twitter account for example. The Virgin business entrepreneur is fascinating, incredibly successful, and deeply interesting. However, you wouldn’t know that by visiting his Twitter page. I find it difficult to develop a connection with him through his Twitter page because it doesn’t give me much insight into who he is or what he’s actually thinking. Which begs the question: why follow the account at all? (Answer: I don’t. Please don’t hate me, Sir Richard, and I will buy you a bottle of bourbon if you’ll have a drink with me.)
On the opposite end of the seesaw, Ryan Reynolds does a wonderful job with his social media. There’s a feeling of legitimacy, transparency, and authenticity when it comes to the social media content he posts, and it makes me believe I’m getting to know who he really is. Or at the very least, I’m connecting to the characters he plays (I love Deadpool, and I also love Pikachu). Is he just using his accounts as an extension of how I’ve come to know his characters? Maybe, but that works great for me because at least the narrative is on point. Except for maybe his cell phone stuff, but that’s a different topic.
Now that you know your potential millions of followers won’t care about irrelevant birthday posts and impersonal content, I’ll stop being a negative Nancy and instead share a few tips on what kind of things you should be putting in the digital space. That’s what these things are for, right? I give tips and resources that you share so that I can gain more followers and be famous. Or at least that’s what I thought (please love me).
Tip: It’s too Valuable NOT to Invest Your Resources
Social media has become too valuable of an asset to be taken lightly. Some of the most used social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat) have a combined net worth over $660 billion and have billions of users. So if you have dreams of leveraging your presence on social media into influence, you’ve got to put in the hard work. If you have the time to run your own social media accounts, that’s fantastic. This means you only have to manage one person: you. However, if you haven’t posted at least once on your active channels in the last week, you might not have the time. My recommendation is that you invest either more time or more money to (a) do it yourself, or (b) hire someone to help.
Now with that said, you can’t hire somebody to manage your social media accounts and not teach them how to speak as you – how to write in your brand voice. You have to help this person study you and learn what you like, your tone, your voice, and your social media goals. This learning phase is critically important. And even after you give this lesson on who you are, you still have the task of reviewing the social media content to ensure what’s being posted accurately reflects your identity.
Tip: Authenticity Is the Key to Being Interesting
If you make the choice to invest your resources and time into social media, then the next step is to ask yourself a question. What are your deepest, darkest, grossest, and most interesting secrets? Don’t worry, you don’t have to write them down on a piece of paper at your desk. You can simply email me your responses directly. I’ll keep them handy for you. (Kidding, of course. Maybe.)
The point of you asking yourself the question is to get you to think about content worth posting. Going back to the Richard Branson example, I want to see all the things that make him weird and interesting. Especially since his eccentricities helped make him the success he is today.
I know in this day and age it’s easy to assume people want to see buttoned-up perfection scroll across their timeline on a regular basis. However, the leader of the Civil Rights Movement said it best:
“Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
So let your freak flag fly boo. Unless you’re a Kardashian or in the beauty industry, people don’t come to your page for constant depictions of perfection. Perfection is boring. Most individuals find enjoyment in the social media accounts they can relate to on some level. I would regret following the keynote speaker of a conference if his account is just posts of him being the perfectly-buttoned-up presenter I saw on stage.
Again, the key to being interesting is being authentic. You don’t have to share your darkest fears and most closely guarded secrets, but you should share what makes you different. It can be some of your most unique fears and mildly amusing G-rated secrets. Consider the things that make your perspective and point of view stand out from the millions of users across social media platforms. Think about your favorite quote from your favorite book. Frankly, you can even use a selfie as long as there’s a narrative with merit beyond just your gorgeous face.
If I had to wrap this up in a few words, it would be this: If you own social media accounts, your goal should be to be more like Ryan Reynolds, because I’d like there to be more accounts like his (so I can follow them). However, because his brand of cool is not natural for everyone, the real takeaway here is to be yourself and show the world a glimpse of who you really are. You might be surprised by how much people like you for you.