What social media taught me

Hello again. Hope you guys had a super weekend. My blog to start the week right will focus on 3 (key) words I’ve been hearing for a few years.

Focus, authenticity and followers.

Photo by Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash

I said at one of my book talks, that I struggled for years with the phenomenon of likes and followers when I first started my Facebook author’s page in 2011. In my mind, I had some dope content (translates to amazing posts), but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out exactly why I wasn’t getting as many likes (and later hearts), shares, comments as others.

Back then each time I opened my feed and saw everyone else posting stuff on their (personal non-brand related) pages about their kids, pets and Carnival costumes, honestly I was silently tripping since I could not understand why on earth they were getting literally hundreds of hearts and comments and smiley faces and I wasn’t.

And I said to myself, “Maybe I need to get a cat (or two) or play with Tribe (which is a trendy Carnival band in these parts where all the who’s who play mas’ each year).

Photo by Catherine Heath on Unsplash

Photo by Andreea Popa on Unsplash

I had to get to the bottom of this, so I attended a few seminars and asked social media experts if they could tell me why. And they couldn’t either. I let sleeping dogs lie so to speak, since that wasn’t my primary focus anyway.

Then slowly but surely I began receiving private messages and comments from people in the region and other parts of the world. I was taken aback by what was said. I did some advertising in those areas and got some traction based on the number of dollars I spent.

After a few years I stumbled upon the epiphany that the number of likes and comments mattered little compared to when I’d meet random people from my past lives (jobs, school etc) or when I’d call them up to share about my latest books or invite them to my events.

THis startled even me, so I am not exaggerating or boasting in any way. I say this just to encourage you to continue building your brand and know that though it may seem that it’s not making a dent right now, there are people looking on (silently).

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

“You are doing some great work Lyn! Keep it up.”

“Yes! I really love what you’re doing. I’m admiring you from a distance.”

“I read that blog/article you wrote in the paper … I read it over and over again and sent it to a few friends … How do you put those words together?! You have really found your talent …”

“Carolyn, I just read that article and I said I had to call you – I was saying to myself, $&it — this girl could really write!”

I know right?! The list goes on, but any more examples will be just over the top and make you doubt your brand and if writing is the thing you should be pursuing, but trust me this life is not for everyone.

This next one is just for comedic purposes to give you that extra nudge to be nice to that troublesome co-worker or boss. My epiphany does not mean that you should now hang out at the places I got good feedback (so nope, no need to overkill on the Starbucks, Burger King, Ruby Tuesday or the Asian food at the mall’s food court – unless you really want to!).

At first, I was wondering the same thing you probably are right now – if some of those people were for real. But yeah, it became too great to ignore and I could actually hear the ‘real-ness’ in their voices.

Every time I had a meeting or ran into someone from my past, everything and everyone seemed to be leading me in the same direction. The ones I’d run into randomly I was most surprised by, since I never got one iota of proof that they were even paying attention to what I was doing (aka no likes, comments, messages, nada. Not even once!)

Guess what this meant? No not that they hated my guts, but I had a brand and style all of my own. And I did have a following! Odds are you do too, whether or not you have a social media presence.

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

And just like that, it hit me like a comet! I was actually making inroads where I lived visibility-wise, but some of those people were probably just not my customers for various reasons (since my brand is not a necessity of life and appeals to probably a select demographic).

So here’s my 2 cents for today

Focus on defining your brand. The reality is that even if we both sell fried chicken, your fried chicken may be vastly different from mine and may not even require (heavy) advertising – especially on social media based on who you are targeting and what are your costs and priorities (that’s another blog for another day).

Photo by chloe simpson on Unsplash

The number of likes and such has much ado about nothing in actuality! Well, unless you have less than 500 likes, you post 6 times a week, 4 times a day and you started 12 years ago!

Be confident in your brand. There are a few ways to gain confidence in your brand so as to be unmoved by mild and sporadic negativity. The first is to be consistent with growing it.

Whether it’s by looking at what others in your territory and beyond are doing. Researching the people you admire and see how you can emulate their style without copying wholesale what they are doing and doing it right after they do it (If you catch my drift)!

Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash

The second way to create an unstoppable brand is to get objective feedback from people who are not your close friends or family and therefore not obligated to lay it on thick with the compliments and give you ostentatious ‘support’.

You can do this by broadening your scope by attending events in your field (related to your brand). This may include networking mixers, trade fairs, seminars and workshops where there may be an opportunity to share your ideas and meet brand new people.

The third way is simply to let your true colours shine (authentically) within reason depending on where you are and who you are with. You won’t want to talk about how you attended a pole dancing class to diversify your brand as a dance (or yoga) instructor if you are at a church group with seniors and go further to tell them how this helped more than your brand.

Let’s put it this way. If you are a naturally gregarious, funny person there’s no need to pretend to be a boring stick-in-the-mud when around certain people. The exception of course is if you are at a board meeting, round table session, or other formal occasion where it is socially a given!

Photo by Orlova Maria on Unsplash

Remember what I hinted in the earlier blogs on branding – how you interact will depend on the vibe from the other people and your level of comfort. Sometimes it’s not what we say; but how it is said, how well you know the person and where you are when you say it.

Some folks may never say a thing directly to you if they don’t have that level of comfort. Instead, they may just limit their interactions or distance themselves from you and your brand altogether.

Here’s wishing you a February filled with magical moments to transform your brand!

Carpe Diem,
Carolyn xx

For more visit & subscribe for updates: www.carolyncorreia.co

Coming soon!

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