During a recent writing project, I dug deep into the lives of some of the world's most prolific social media influencers -- learning their backgrounds and how they achieved such once-unimaginable success in a medium that's filled with billions of others who are vying for our sparse and easily-interrupted attention.
What I've come to realize is that there is a clear and distinct formula for success in social media. There's a playbook that you can use to leverage the inherent power of this transformative platform for getting the proverbial word out. No matter who you are or where you're from, you can harness the power of social media to vastly grow or build your business.
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Whether you’re a social butterfly, or you're apprehensive when it comes to vociferously communicating with others in a public space, there are some inherent rules to follow when it comes to social media. Not only will this help you enhance your social media skills by growing your base of fans and followers, but it'll also allow you to leverage the influence you build to eventually expand and grow the reach of your business within any industry or niche.
In a recent conversation I had with Alex Jimenez, founder of the wildly-popular Instagram profile, @theyachtguy, he divulged many of the so-called secrets he used to amass nearly 800,000 followers in a few short years. No, it didn't happen overnight. It took him a tremendous amount of work, commenting, liking and collaborating with others.
He spent much of his earlier years obsessing over yachts, building up a massive archive of the best yacht photos that he could find. You might say he wielded the Law of Attraction to eventually manifest the life of his dreams, or you could merely call it hard work and effort towards a single goal.
Either way, it took him years, but he's now enjoying the fruits of his labor by getting to travel around the world promoting yachts and premium brands everywhere. To most, he's somewhat of an icon in the yachting industry, with the world's most affluent yacht owners and industry heavyweights flocking to him for assistance with social media. Here are some of the rules he discussed in how he did it.
1. Know your market.
The first rule for growing your business through the power of social media is to know your market. The clearer you are about your target demographic, the better you'll be able to appeal to your customers. The less you know about your target demographic, the less likely you'll be able to succeed through social media.
2. Develop a strategy.
Building a popular social media profile takes work. But it also takes planning. To achieve any goal, you need to create a rock-solid plan. Develop your strategy on how you plan to get from Point A to Point B. Will you use ads? Influencers? Power users? What type of content will you post? How often will you post it? And so on.
3. Focus on quality over quantity of posts.
The goal isn't about bombarding users with posts. It's not about quantity; it's about the quality of the posts. Ensuring that the posts are targeted towards your market and that each of them conveys an important message or unique display of something relevant to that demographic will help you to gain the most traction while also adding on more followers.
4. Create real value.
Social media is all about creating value. What type of value do your posts bring? Are they inspirational or educational in some manner? Do they help to motivate others out there to attain a certain lifestyle, something akin to what Anish Bhatt, the founder of @watchanish, does?
5. Follow high-profile accounts.
All of the Instagram Influencers that I've spoken to started out by following other high-profile accounts. This created their first bits of visibility for them. It also helped them to gauge what was working for those who were already at the top of their game.
6. Comment, share and like often.
Anyone who is serious about leveraging social media to grow their business needs to understand that they have to give before they get. Genuinely like, comment and share others' posts every single day, developing relationships with people over time. It won't happen overnight. If you don't give people the time of day, you can't expect them to do the same for you.
7. Leverage the power of other influencers.
Influencers and power users can open a gateway to mass attention. If you have the right type of profile that's in sync with the influencer's follower base, you might just gain the right type of followers yourself. Many businesses and newcomers use this approach to help expand their reach early on. If you have the budget, you might want to consider this, but ensure you have appealing content on your profile as well.
8. Network, network, network.
Puia Shamsossadati, the founder of @thisisamans.world, which has amassed more than 2 million followers, spent much of his time networking with others. He launched a company called Golden Concept purely through Instagram without spending a dollar on traditional marketing. The company, which creates high-end iPhone covers, reached mass appeal when Shamsossadati collaborated with some of the most popular Instagramers by sending them courtesy phones, knowing that they would show up in their feed, allowing him to promote his business for virtually no cost.
9. Don't always be promoting.
It's not about always promoting. If you want to leverage social media to grow your business, you have to spend a lot of time delivering value. Whether that's inspirational value, motivational value or entertainment value, don't always try to sell people something at every bend and turn, otherwise you might put them off.
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10. Make it easy for people to buy.
Focus on mobile if you want to dominate social media. Create a link in your profile, ensuring that your site has a healthy responsive design, and make it simple to purchase. Ensure that the purchase process is refined for mobile devices so that people can simply and easily buy whatever it is that you're peddling. The easier you make it for them to buy, the more likely you'll be to clinch the sale.