Social Media Has Become the High School of the World
Do you remember the movie "The Breakfast Club"? It was a classic 80's movie portraying the angst and confusion that plagued the typical kid in high school. I don't know about you but I don't miss my high school days - always trying to be liked, following the latest trends (which were almost impossible to keep up with), avoiding the bullies, and pretending to like stuff I didn't. It was a very awkward and uncomfortable time for many.
So, why do we want to torture ourselves with the exact same behavior now that we are adults? Social Media has become the high school of the world. Regardless of the social media platform, people are trying to get more friends, they are desperate to be friends with the right people (influencers), they want to keep an eye on their competition/enemies and they perform the endless task of "liking" stuff from people they barely know.
If you recall from "The Breakfast Club", each of the main characters represented a typical clique that used to exist in high school (and probably still does). There was John, the rebel; Claire, the popular girl; Brian, the geek; Allison, the loner; and Andrew, the jock. They each had their own problems based on the world in which they lived. Yet, they still had a fundamental thing in common. They all wanted to feel like they mattered.
Whether you own a business or just play around with social media for fun, essentially we are all doing the same thing. We all want to matter. We don't want to feel like a nobody.
Are You a Nobody?
So, how can you be successful at becoming popular when you start out as a nobody? Gaining influencers is the chicken and the egg dilemma. If you aren't popular no one wants to follow you but how can you get followers so you can become popular?
So, what can you do when you start out as a nobody?
I think gaining popularity on social media is actually a lot easier than it was trying to be popular in high school. The reason - there are proven guidelines and advice from experts that, if followed like a blueprint, can lead to success.
First of all, it is pretty hard to begin your social media campaign by trying to be friends with the "popular girl". They have tons of people vying for their attention, how will you stand out in that crowd? Neil Patel was on fire this week with the post "How to Generate 75% More Social Media Traffic When You're Not Popular". As suggested in Neil Patel's article, try to participate in social media platforms that don't have a huge following but are small and potent and likely to grow. Automatically, this means that you are competing against a smaller number of people and have a better chance of standing out.
Medium is one of those social networks that is helpful for a new person. Their site is structured such that content is curated and anyone has a chance of being seen on the "front page". You can check out more on Medium here.
The Cool Kids
Second, hang out with the people that hang out with the "cool" kids. These people are influencers. As Jeff Bullas states in his article, The 5 Step Influencer Formula (and its money making secrets), "Growing your online influence provides empowerment. It means building a life, business, and career on your terms. It also allows you to become more of a price giver rather than price taker".
Find out who the influencers are in your industry and start to build relationships with these people. These are the people that can affect the purchase decisions of others. Don't start out with the "big" guy. Start out with a smaller influencer at first and start to build a name for yourself.
Be a Jock
Next, work as a team with others in your industry. The reason that "jocks" were popular in high school was because they were part of a team and that team usually stood up for others on the team. They had a bond that would deflect any attempted attack on members of their team. This holds true for social media as well. Join groups, participate in forums. These groups are where you will get seen and it will be those people that help you move forward.
Are You a Rebel?
Perhaps you like the "non-conforming" path. Do you have the guts to be the "rebel"? Being a rebel has its benefits. You can cause a raucous and stand out in a crowd. You can create content that is contentious and get people really enraged. They say that in marketing, negative comments are better than no comments. The more people pay attention to you, the more other people may pay attention to you.
You Don't Want to be a Loner
While you may be nervous about sharing ideas with your future competitors, the best way to get noticed is to find a group and hang out with them. Being a loner in online marketing is not a good thing. You may eventually get noticed but it will take you a lot longer to be seen.
Geeks Always Have all the Data
What is wrong with being the geek? When it comes to getting seen on social media, providing value to people is what will get you ahead. Do solid research and use statistics and numbers that people are interested in. Create infographics that will mesmerize people. Use your "geek" skills to attract people's attention.
Don't Forget the Principal
In social media, I equate Google to the "principal". In the end, they are the ones that will determine your fate. Make sure you follow their rules as much as possible because as is said by the principal in Breakfast Club, "Don't mess with the bull, young man. You'll get the horns."
How do You Want People to See You?
Wouldn't it have been nice if becoming popular in high school was as easy as it is with social media? While it will take you a while to gain popularity on social media, you know what it takes to get there and you have complete control of making it happen. You have another chance in life to claim who you want to be.
As the Breakfast Club realized, "You see us as you want to see us—in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain...and an athlete...and a basket case...a princess...and a criminal....".
Use them all to your benefit!