I’m currently reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book on social media, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, and one of my biggest takeaways from the book thus far is the declaration that we are all now in the media business. Whether you’re a business, or a personality, or just an ordinary person using social media, this statement is 100% true. Every Tweet you publish, every photo you take, every video you upload is a piece of media being consumed by someone. The opportunities are endless, and the barriers that once existed for small publishers have all been removed. In this article we’ll discuss what it means to be in the media business and why you should be embracing that as part of your personal and/or corporate culture.
A Big Noisy World
The rise of social media has brought with it a ton of noise. Everybody is competing with each other for attention, so if you’re not creating compelling content, what’s stopping someone from scrolling right over your stuff in their news feed? You have to be cognizant of this and realize that different types of posts work better for different networks and each network has its own high and low traffic times throughout the day. Deciphering this code and understanding how and why to use certain types of media is the key to cutting through all the noise and making your voice louder than the guy standing next to you. This means creating compelling content that adds value to the user experience without making them feel as though they’re listening to a sales pitch.
Storytelling is Essential
Everyone likes a good story, and everyone (brand or business) has a story to tell. Now is the time to embrace the art of storytelling and put it to work for you and your business in the world of social media. Trust me, people aren’t following brands to see nothing but a steady stream of advertisements. They’re following brands because they’re interested in the culture you’ve created, the inner workings of your operations, and the people that create the products and services that they love. It’s easy to fall into the trap of asking people for stuff on social media, and by this I mean pitching them to buy products, asking them for likes & shares, etc. If you’re able to provide them with valuable content that they want to consume, they’ll buy and share your story without having to be asked.
Forget the Sprint, Run the Marathon
The thing that cracks me up about social media newbies is the fact that they’re so easily dissuaded because they feel as though they haven’t gotten the traction they deserve. What most of them don’t understand is that there is no magic formula for success online. For every video or photo meme that goes viral, there are literally thousands that barely get a whisper of attention. As the old cliché goes, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You have to be in it for the long haul when it comes to creating online content. I’m just now getting to what I consider to be the pinnacle of my online career, and I’ve been at this thing for nearly 10 years now. Don’t let it get you down if you don’t get a million followers overnight. Instead, be thankful for those you do get, and do everything you can to keep them coming back for more!
The Gatekeepers are Gone
Online video platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, and (to some degree) Instagram and Vine, have changed the game in terms of how people become stars nowadays. Before, you had to get a gig playing the Tonight Show or something in order to get national exposure. Today you’re more likely to become famous by producing a hit YouTube video than you are going on late night TV. The barriers that once existed have been removed, and exposure is now more accessible to small publishers than its ever been. Creating content and using social media to promote it correctly can be exponentially beneficial for you and your business if you play your cards right. The only person standing in your way, is you.
Get In, or Get Out
This is the way it is, and like it or not, the way it is going to be for the foreseeable future. I’ve heard many people complain to me on social media that this doesn’t apply to them or their business, or that they don’t have time to do it, or simply don’t want to. That’s cool with me, but don’t come crying when you have to fold up shop because your competitors are kicking your ass by using online media. There is a time, place, and way for every person and/or business to use these new tools and platforms to expand their reach online. This is not a one-size-fits-all kind of scenario, however. You have to be willing to put in the time and effort to figure out which networks provide you with the most value in terms of viewership, and then figure out how you can provide value to your viewers on said network(s).
Personally, I think this is an exciting time for all of us. We have reached a point in time where we have the ability to reach more people and touch more lives than we ever have before, and there are amazing tools that give us the power to craft an entirely new narrative for ourselves or our business. I hope you see that, and I hope it excites you as much as it does me. Thanks for reading!