How Tai Lopez Took Over Social Media
Lopez's hard-luck origins and step-by-step rise to enormous success is an inspiring story that thrills entrepreneurs.
Lopez's rise to fame as a social media influencer has become widely known in entrepreneurship circles -- it's hard to visit YouTube or Instagram these days without seeing his face. I recently sat down with Lopez to learn about how he achieved his social media success and what advice he had for entrepreneurs seeking the same type of social media success.
JL: When did you start to use social media to build your personal brand?
Lopez: I have been involved with social media since the beginning. In 2006, my friend introduced me to Facebook when most people weren't using it, and in 2008, I was one of the first people to use it both organically and for paid marketing.
Facebook really started to take off in 2012-13, but it wasn't viral. In 2014, after I posted a YouTube video from my garage, and did some paid marketing, the video went viral -- it even inspired thousands of impersonation videos and parodies. By 2016, more than 1.6 billion minutes of my videos have been watched.
JL: Did you know from the beginning that there was an opportunity in the market for your personality
Lopez: I believe there is an opportunity for any unique style personality who has a high VRIN score. VRIN stands for value, rare, inimitable and non-substitutable. Value meaning a post that people care about -- a high value post that is relatable and adds value. Rarity meaning your post includes things most people don't often see or experience. Inimitable meaning how hard is it for a competitor to replicate your post. And non-substitutable meaning there is no other place to access the information your post delivers. You can be funny, intense, flashy or conservative, but if the VRIN score is low, it will never go viral.
JL: On which social media platform have you experienced the most success?
Lopez: YouTube, simply because it allows for long form content. I personally don't rate my YouTube performance based on views -- minutes watched is a more valuable metric. I love YouTube because it allows you to create deep brand engagement.
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JL: Which platforms do you think entrepreneurs looking to build a large following should be active on?
Lopez: I actually think that Instagram stories and Snapchat are more powerful than anything, other than YouTube -- and in some areas they are even more powerful. These platforms allow you to essentially create your own TV shows. People get their news, political perspective and facts from TV and video content. You see Kylie Jenner getting five to 10 million views and making large sums of money daily promoting a product, because people think of her Snapchat story as a docuseries, and buy whatever she is promoting because they're so engaged.
JL: How do you determine what aspects of your life you share on social media in order to attract a following?
Lopez: In order to be successful on social media you have to have what I call a brand story -- an overall story of your life, business, product or whatever message you are trying to convey. You must have a script, and you have to understand that a good script alone isn't good enough.
My personal brand story -- or script -- is that I didn't grow up wealthy. I was raised by a single mom in Long Beach, California, with a father in prison. I took myself from sleeping on a couch with $47 in my pocket, to Beverly Hills by applying principles taught to me by mentors throughout my travels around the world. Each post I make must reinforce that script, and be a high VRIN score quality post. One post a day creates 360 scenes that support my overall story.
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JL: What are three tips or strategies you recommend entrepreneurs use to get more attention from their social media?
Lopez: Have a compelling overarching brand story, average out the VRIN score of each of your social media posts and be authentic -- don't change your whole life for a social media post. You don't need to completely change your story, just switch it up and assess whether or not each post has value.
One thing I've learned is that people are focused on themselves -- nobody cares about you eating a sandwich. Your posts have to consist of content that is interesting, otherwise the people that follow you will just skip it. Make sure your content is unique, has a high VRIN score and stays true to your authentic self.
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