So many people and businesses are using social media to establish authority and credibility. With that much noise and competition, it can be hard to stand out and get noticed. Whitney Lauritsen, the creator of Eco-Vegan Gal and the Cofounder of Wellevatr, dives into the power of social media branding. Adding value to the social media conversation, Whitney shows the different ways to actually stand out without it feeling like a competition. She also tackles the dos and don’ts of driving traffic to your products and capitalizing on social media. If you want to change the online scene, don’t miss out on today’s show.
Listen to the podcast here:
The Power Of Social Media Branding with Whitney Lauritsen
I am super excited because we’re going to be talking about the power of social media branding. I can think of no one better than my special guest, Whitney Lauritsen, because she is not only an influencer who is literally rocking the social media space, she’s also a content creator online business specialist, and a high-performance wellness coach. Whitney got her start with digital content in 2008 with a blog and a YouTube channel and some social media accounts all underneath at Eco-Vegan Gal, which has collectively addressed over 200,000 followers. Right there, readers, this is someone that you want to pay attention to. You’re going to learn so much from Whitney.
She’s just an incredible person by the way, saying it personally. Let me tell you a little bit more about Whitney. Whitney has consulted with countless entrepreneurs to create strategies for social media, digital video production and brand building. Her training programs help influencers all over the place around the world and small business owners figure out how to thrive online, which of course is something that we all want to learn how to do. Whitney’s latest endeavor is Wellevatr, which is a brand that’s all about how to optimize well–being, which is launching a podcast in 2019 called This Might Get Uncomfortable. If you want to get in touch with Whitney, you certainly can at www.WhitneyLauritsen.com. How are you doing, Whitney?
I am great, Gerry. Can you introduce me every time? Everywhere I go, I want to have you introduce me. You sound like your professional voiceover recorder. You’re meant to be a podcaster, I think. You’re such a phenomenal presenter. I’ve seen you talk once and I remember your body language is also wonderful. It engages people. It gets people excited. You’re very good at getting people to know, like and trust you, which is a term I love to use for social media. Gerry has that down and I’m sure you’re naturally fantastic at social media as a result.
Thank you for sharing that. That means a lot to me coming from you. It does. Let’s jump right into it because it’s all about you, not me. I tell you, Whitney, this is a red hot topic, social media branding, because a lot of people are using social media to establish authority and credibility. You know that better than anyone else. What we’re also finding is how important social media is turning out to be in terms of it being an effective tool to not only market your brand, but to stand up in a crowd and get noticed and be remembered. What are your initial thoughts about that?
It’s interesting because social media has changed a lot over the years. I started my brand in 2008 and I think I started to use social media in 2009. I got on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, if you consider that as a social media platform. I forget what year Instagram was launched, but I didn’t see Instagram get momentum until 2013 or 2014, so it’s still relatively new. All of it is. That’s why some people refer to it as the Wild West because we’re all figuring it out. It is interesting because having gotten on social media on the earlier side, I’ve seen a lot of changes happen over time.
When I was starting my blog with EcoVeganGal.com, I now have several blogs. Back then, blogs were like a big deal. YouTube was only three years old. It started in 2005 and people didn’t take YouTube that seriously in 2008 or 2009. Facebook and Twitter were used mostly for personal reasons. Over time, between I would say 2009, 2010-ish, all of those platforms started to grow. Podcasting was around then too. I remember hearing about podcasts probably in 2005, 2006 but again, those were something that a lot of people didn’t think about having a personal brand back then. These days, having a personal brand is taken very seriously as a career.
Being an influencer is taken seriously as career and people are starting to understand what you were saying about developing authority and credibility. I first started understanding that around 2010, thanks to Gary Vaynerchuk, who a lot of people refer to as Gary Vee. He’s very well–known in the social media world and I read one of his books. He was probably the first person that convinced me of the power of social media. You can see, if you look up Gary Vee and see what he’s talked about over the years and how a lot of the things that he was saying several years ago have grown and grown. The trick is that because so many people are using social media for their branding, for their marketing, for all these different aspects of their careers now, there’s more competition. It’s a little bit harder to stand out.
The good news though is that we don’t quite need to stand out in the ways we might think we need to. I think that a lot of people feel like it needs to be competitive and there’s only room for some people, but there’s actually room for everybody. Everybody has something to add to the social media conversation and never let those thoughts of comparison or I’m not good enough or that person’s better than me and they’re already doing it. If you let that stop you, then you’re doing the world a disservice, as Marie Forleo would say, because everyone needs to hear what you have to share and you’re going to have a unique way of sharing that the other people aren’t.
Let’s expand on that because what you’re opening up, which is good, is this whole thing about connecting people the right way, the proper way, an optimal way. To your point about the confusion in this whole thing called social media, what works, what doesn’t work, what should I do, not do and how I do it? It’s good. Give our readers some direction here in terms of like where do you start? What do you do if you want to be able to capitalize on this amazing tool?
As I said when I was talking about you, I’m a big believer in this idea of having people know, like, and trust you because that is a huge part of how people become fans of yours, followers of yours and customers of yours. If that is your aim, which I think that’s one of the big reasons people use social media. Whether you want to be an influencer and get brand deals, sponsorships, opportunities, book deals, whatever else your aim is there, you need to have an engaged audience. You need to have for those raving fans. If you’re using social media to sell a product or a service, you also need people to know, like, and trust you so that they will want to purchase from you. That is honestly the foundation of social media in my perspective is you’re creating content on whatever platform or platforms you choose.
The big ones would be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube. I would say those are probably my top six. There are a lot of social media platforms out there. You choose the one that you resonate with and then you think about how you can offer things of value. By giving value, by using your voice, people will naturally start to know who you are. They will like who you are and what you’re creating. Over time they’ll be able to trust you and see you as that authority that has the credibility and that’s when people start to purchase your products and services or buying your books or coming to your live events or whatever else. Whatever you’re selling basically, people will start to want it from you because they know, like and trust you and that’s where the power is.
This is good because what you’re also getting into is this whole thing about not only using the right platforms the right way, but also the right methods. I think that’s where a lot of people get tripped up because they’re wondering, “What do I do? Should I do video? Should I do podcasting? Should I do blogs? Should I put something quirky and different and start talking?” What do you suggest as a starting point?
This is one of the most common things that people ask. My first piece of advice, which is a very simple piece of advice, but not as easy as it sounds because you have to get out of your head. You have to stop overthinking things. It’s like going back to the Nike slogan of “Just Do It.” It‘s like anything else. Actually, I find that social media in a way is similar to eating healthier foods or working out. We all know that they could benefit us, but we need to start and it doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to eat perfect foods. We’re going to start dabbling in there and trying to figure out what works for us. We’re not going to know what we like to eat. We’re not going to know what makes our bodies feel very good until we start experimenting. It’s going to take some time. It’s going to take a few days at first and then you’ll start to notice results maybe within a few weeks. The big results happen in a few months. We all know what that’s like with our health. You can think of it very similar to social media. You have to start somewhere and let go of this perfectionist idea and how long it’s going to take. Once you continue, once you’re consistent with it, like with your health, then you will get the results.
You can’t expect to put something out there on social media and instantly get results from it. It does happen every once in a while. Sometimes people accidentally become viral sensations. There’s this great example of this mother on Facebook a few years ago who made this video. She’s known as the Chewbacca Mom or something, and she went on social media to post a video to her friends and it became a viral sensation. That happens sometimes. Some people accidentally find fame, but usually those people don’t know how to translate that into a long–term career. My goal for myself and for anyone reading is to help you figure out how to make this sustainable for yourself so that you’re doing this for 10, 20, 30 years and beyond. You want to look at the building from the bottom up. That’s going to take some experimentation.
Social Media Branding: Some people accidentally find fame, but they don’t usually know how to translate that into a long-term career.
That’s a keyword, sustainable. It’s one thing to use social media to build brand awareness and recognition and get people to sit up and take notice of you. It’s another thing though, to give people a reason to stay with you, do business with you, buy your stuff or use your services. I think that on the one hand, it’d be great if we could come up with something that goes viral. It’s another thing though to think that, “I’m cute,” or “I’ve got a great personality. Look at me, listen to me.” That’s a different kind of fan base. That’s a different follower. That’s the whole, I call it the Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, and I get that. However, with a typical small business owner who’s reading this, it’s all about sustainability, which means that you’ve got to give your audience a reason to want to do business with you. This is a platform for doing that, which means that you’ve got to have some substance and credibility and give people rich content. Can you talk about that a bit?
It’s also like a relationship. We can see flashy people that we’re attracted to, but maybe we want to have an experience with them for one night or for a few days or a week, whatever, maybe their arm candy. We, as human beings, understand that. We see someone that we may be like marriage material and someone that might be the arm candy or the fun. Social media is in a way a lot like that where there are flashy people and we might think, “I don’t look like them so I’m not going to be successful,” or “I don’t dress or do my hair or my makeup,” or whatever else. “I don’t have a fancy car, so I can’t be successful like them.” If each of us has something of value to offer, and if you do want to be sustainable, if you want to be like social media marriage material, the long–term, then that’s actually going to benefit you a lot more than trying to be a flash in the pan, if that’s your goal. Maybe from your ego. We like to be validated. We like someone to think that we’re good looking or think that our lives are cool.
I’ve been around long enough in social media, I see the people just rotate through. They don’t last very long because they don’t have that substance. They don’t have that foundation. Gary Vee is a great example. He’s very well-known and he’s become well–known over ten-plus years. He has been pushing and the masses didn’t know who he was. He wasn’t a recognizable name. Some people reading may never have heard of him. Tony Robbins is the same thing. He’s been doing his work for several years and I feel like his name keeps getting bigger and bigger over time. Fifteen years ago, ten years ago or twenty years ago, people might not have known who he was. He’s in it for the long run and the rewards are usually for people that are in the long run. That’s where you’re going to get the greatest benefits.
This is good because this hits to the heart of the importance of social media in my opinion, for personal brands. If someone has a gift, a skill, talent and ability, expertise to offer the world that operative word like you hit upon is value and that person then has to get very much in touch with, “What is my value,” and pass it. Gary Vee is a great example of someone who just delivers massive value. Tony Robbins, of course, Brendon Burchard. You can go to a lot of different industries. My thinking in terms of social media is to be able to say, “I’m going to create content and deliver content.” That’s how they’re going to help solve problems you may be facing or it’s going to give you better outcomes, better end results. I’m going to reverse some bad situations in your life. I’m going to relieve you of emotional stuff that’s bearing you down in terms of feeling stressed out, worried, heartache, headache and whatever. Maybe that’s where people are struggling, which is they don’t know what their value is. That’s a branding issue. That’s the stuff that I do, is find and pinpoint what that is.
That’s one of the greatest gifts that you could give because so many people not only do they have trouble starting, but a lot of people have trouble identifying how they can serve others. All these years of in coaching, consulting, that’s where most people get stuck. They either don’t know what they can offer other people and/or they doubt it. Maybe they have a great idea but they have so much doubt around it.
People that end up with websites where if you’re going to the navigation bar, all they’re listing are their services as opposed to telling people what they’re going to gain from their services. Because that’s the basis of content.
You hit something important there too, is that a lot of people use social media for their own ego, for themselves. They’re showing their lives, but they’re not thinking about the people on the other side. I think a lot of people look at social media trying to get that validation. Like, “I want to look beautiful so other people will compliment me. I want to show my vacation so other people will envy me. I want to show how great my family is so people will know that I have my life together.” It’s like this constant ego thing. Some people do like to look at it, the Kardashian effect. Some people want to observe.
I think a lot of us, we enjoy observing other people’s lives. There’s something very stimulating about it, but that’s like a quick moment that we’re having. We spend a second looking at somebody’s Instagram, but if you can get somebody to read your Instagram caption, what you write underneath it, if you can get somebody to identify your branding, by the way. On Instagram, there are certain people, I don’t need even to look at their name. I just see a photo of theirs and I know that it’s there is because it’s all very well–branded. They’ve got the colors, they’ve got the style, their fonts that they’re using, the way that they take their photos.
All of these things that they’ve created around themselves have the whole image and I feel drawn more into it. There are certain people who I will always read the captions under the photos because I know that it’s going to benefit me somehow. I’m going to learn something from them. I’m going to feel motivated, inspired or moved or maybe they’re writing something that is going to help me work through some tough emotion that I’m having that day or they’re going to teach me a lesson. Those are the things that draw me in and those are the people that I want to buy from because I know that they’re giving me so much value. If you don’t give people value, they may find entertainment value in you. If they don’t find inspiration or educational value, they probably won’t buy from you in quite the same way that you want to. It also depends though.
I’m pausing for a moment here because there are some social media influencers, what they’re selling is entertainment. You might buy, let’s say they have a live event. Maybe like a comedian. You go to see a comedy show because you’re entertained by them. It does depend on a case by case basis. I want to backtrack a moment and say there’s nothing wrong with entertaining people, but you have to have something to sell them that’s entertaining. If you’re trying to sell them something educational, then entertaining might not be the right method of being on social media.
The Tony Robbins, the Brendon Burchards, the Gary Vees and Ali Brown and all these big-time speakers, thought leaders, coaches, trainers, consultants that are out there, they have very good, rich educational content. They want to establish themselves as an authority in their space, in their specialty so people say business being number one. What I know is going back to what you said though, is that not only are people having difficulties establishing what their value is, there is this whole thing called, “How will I come across on camera? Can I have that caption?” If I have a YouTube video, for example, can I have that caption, that title of my video and the description that’s going to draw you in and people will go, “I want to subscribe.” Do you have any tips on that?
That’s also still experimental. First of all, being on camera, I’ve been on YouTube for several years and I’ve gone through many phases there. At the beginning, I was wanting to be myself. I didn’t care what I looked like. I started to become self-conscious and I compared myself to other people and would be overly concerned about how I looked. There are days where I brush my hair, put on a shirt, but didn’t put on any makeup and I’m here as myself. I feel confident in that because I know my value is not in what I look like, my value is what I’m saying. There are plenty of people who you might want to admire because of their beauty, but often it’s so much more about their personalities and what they’re saying.
The key is though, when you’re on camera, you have to cultivate confidence and the confidence needs to come from within, not based on your appearance. If you are somebody that feels more confident when you dress a certain way, when you do your hair, if you‘re doing your makeup or whatever. If that makes you feel good, do it because that will help with your confidence. If you’re going to feel insecure about yourself because of the way that you look, you’re not quite right. I would say then do whatever it’s going to take so that you can show up and be on camera and radiate that confidence because people are very drawn into it. That also takes time though. That takes a lot of practice.
Social Media Branding: Find your own version of confidence and push through whatever fears you have so that you can give.
You’ve got to figure maybe certain clothes work well for you and over and over again and be okay with the days where you don’t look the way that you want to on camera. It’s the same thing when you’re doing public speaking and all of that. I think a lot of people, they get afraid of being in public. They get afraid of people judging them. The truth is that we’re often judged by other people and we judge other people ourselves. We have to get over that fear of being judged because we don’t have any control over how other people perceive us. What we do have control of is finding our own version of confidence and then pushing through whatever fears we have so that we can give. We can more easily feel confident and more easily get over our fears when we make it more about others than it is about ourselves.
You are dropping some golden nuggets here. The one that stuck with me was the value is in what you say, not in how you look. I think you probably released and freed up a whole lot of people who are out there reading who have issues around that. Let me ask you this because remember the whole thing about a blue screen being behind you versus sitting at your kitchen table? Any thoughts about that? I like blue screens, but I also like this. This is fine, in my home office. Anything about that people should know about in terms of the set?
Right now, we are truly in the anything-goes time. I spend a lot of time on YouTube. A lot of times on Instagram, Facebook. I’ve been to events that Facebook has run and learned the tips directly from the people at Facebook, people directly at YouTube, Twitter. This has been my world getting all this advice. I spend a lot of time with content creators, successful video people and all that. First of all, everyone I’ve met has insecurities. Even the most famous, the most viral sensation people out there, they all feel insecure. They all feel like they don’t know what they’re doing. I cannot think of a single person that thinks that they’ve got it all figured out.
A lot of people are very humble. A lot of people are insecure. These are universal emotions. This whole, “How should I do it,” thing. To come back to that specific question about like backgrounds, I don’t think people care as long as it’s not distracting. That’s the key. I actually think your background looks great. It makes me feel like I’m in your home with you. I’m more interested in that than if you were against a white wall. The nice thing about a white wall or a blue screen is that it’s maybe less distracting. There’s less to look at. I think that pretty much any background works.
The key with video is people need to hear you clearly and they need to see you. You have to have good lighting. I find often sitting in front of a window is the best place for you to sit wherever that is in your home or your office, wherever you want to be. It doesn’t matter the equipment too. People get in their heads about it. With the developments in technology these days, if you have a good mobile phone that has a camera on the front or the back as most cameras and phones do these days, that’s great. You can film a video on your iPhone or your Android, whatever you’re using. You can use your webcam on your computer. It doesn’t matter. People need to be able to understand your words and to see your face clearly. That’s all that matters.
Let me ask you this and this whole thing called helping people to know, like and trust you. Is there anything going on in social media where it shows that the ones who are doing stuff that’s quirky or out of the ordinary or the ones who sit up there and talk into a microphone talking head versus the person who’s out on the street or talking to my automobile? “I’m in my car, I’m sitting in the parking lot in front of the grocery store.” What’s working, what’s not working, what’s hot, what’s not hot? Anything trending in this whole thing of getting people to know, like, and trust you and want to subscribe?
I’m sure there is, but by the time somebody reads this, the trends are going to change. It’s changing that rapidly. Maybe at first it sounds frustrating. There’s no security, there’s no tried and true. Any tried and true is probably going to change within a week, a month or definitely within a year. That’s why you have to come down to your messaging because it doesn’t matter. For a good period of time, it was all about making short videos. How can you make a video under a minute or five minutes? Facebook and YouTube are prioritizing people that have videos over ten minutes. Those are more important. Our attention spans are still short. Someone might not watch a ten-minute video, but Facebook and YouTube want people to make ten-minute videos or more at least, the last I heard. That might’ve even changed since I heard that.
That’s the thing. It’s not even worth trying to analyze it unless you’re somebody who wants to analyze it every week. If that stimulates you and you get excited about following and chasing the trends, go for it. I don’t know if it’s worth spending that time and energy trying to figure out the trends because by the time you figured it out, there’s going to be another one. I think that’s ideal for someone that wants to constantly reinvent themselves. Most of us want to figure out what works for us and keep going with it for a while and then make subtle adjustments over time. It comes down to a balance. I don’t think you should do the same thing over and over again for way too long, but consistency is also important. If you’re someone that can pick your style, stick to it for a few months, maybe a year, maybe a couple of years, do that and then pay attention and see how you can evolve over time to make some adjustments to stay current.
Does consistency also include posting every day? That’s the whole thing about doing daily. Some people do daily motivational tips and snippets and stuff like that versus once a week, twice a week. Any thoughts about how often?
There’s this idea of the algorithm on platforms like Instagram and YouTube and those algorithms are constantly evolving too. There have been periods where daily posting was helpful, multi times a day and then there are times where once a week suffices. I would say once a week is a key for any platform because people want to know that you are consistent enough where they can come back once a week and check on you, but you don’t have to do it more than once a week if you don’t want to. If you can enjoy yourself and put out quality content multiple times a week, do it. If that stresses you out, make sure you do it once a week and that’s better than less than.
I like this because one of the things I admire about you is that you’re all about how to serve, how to add value and how to be real on social media. That has obviously been one of the cornerstones of your abilities to have over 200,000 subscribers that are now growing. You’re impacting lives and making a major difference on the planet. Anything that you want to share with folks around this whole thing about serving and being heart-centered and purpose-driven? Anything about that in terms of maybe a mindset that someone should have if they want to harness the power of social media branding?
Authenticity I think is one of the biggest keys to our lives. When we try to be someone that we’re not, we usually feel off balance. If we are trying to be something that we’re not, we’re not going to feel like ourselves. The two can’t coexist. You’ll see these conflicted experiences some people have when they’re trying to shape themselves in a direction that doesn’t feel right to them. It might feel right for a little while because maybe trying to be different is giving them some short–term benefits. You see this with people that are trying to lose weight. Some bodies are not meant to be a certain size and people will diet and exercise for years and years and exhaust themselves and feel miserable.
Social Media Branding: Time is the most important element in consistency. When you’re consistent with something, people will find you somehow.
One day when they relax, their body goes to this natural shape. Maybe that natural shape doesn’t feel like the way that they want to look, but it’s better to be what you’re meant to try than to be something else and feel miserable your whole life. I’m a big believer in that when it comes to any aspect of our life is that if you can focus on what you want to say, what’s important to you, then people are going to feel that and it’s going to be more easy to be sustainable in that way. I think you have to find what’s authentic to yourself and what feels good because that’s something that you’re going to term.
Find what’s authentic to yourself and feels good because that goes a long way in terms of establishing your credibility and authority. I think it’s also going to unlock some people who perhaps feel handcuffed around his whole thing called, “I want people to see me as a thought leader. However, I don’t have any thoughts.” The truth of the matter is that you do have thoughts if you dig deep and get in touch with your unique special value to the world. One of the things I always tell people is, “You are an amazing, extraordinary person and you have a gift to give to the world.”
Now you though have to get in touch with what is it that makes you as interesting and appealing as possible because that‘s the hardest successful branding. What can you share about that? I think that’s a block for people. You obviously are so authentic, so in touch with who you are. You are down to earth. You’re not pretentious. For people out there who are struggling with their own stuff, identity. We’ve all got our stuff, we’ve all got the issues that we’ve got to work through because those issues can sometimes block us from real connections with other people. Anything you’d like to share about that?
This is all about personal development. I’m very passionate about that. To me, it’s so many different aspects of my life. I love doing yoga. That’s part of my personal development because I’m developing my mind and my body through the same class. I’m a big believer in meditation. I think actually meditation is one of the most helpful things that we can do for ourselves personally, but also professionally. It’s huge. Taking that time to reflect on yourself is going to give you a lot of answers for your entire life. The same thing is true with journaling. Writing down your thoughts and your feelings give you clarity.
When you see something on paper, you are going to be able to visualize it in a completely different way when it’s in your head. I think that’s one of the things that people struggle with the most these days, especially because we’re so digital and fast-paced. People are constantly seeing things, feeling things, but not actually putting it down into words and stepping back and looking at it. I love to write out my feelings as much as possible. You can do this in the morning at night or both. Meditate even if it’s for five minutes and then write down how you’re feeling afterward. You could even write down some of your thoughts before you meditate, try to get them out. You’ll be amazed at how different you feel on the shifts that you see by keeping track of it.
That’s good because that’s going to help someone unlock themselves from whatever is blocking them that’s hindering their own natural ability to get in touch with their magnificence so that they can go ahead and be on some social media platform. Be it Instagram or YouTube videos or podcasting like you and I are doing and on and on. That’s really good. I want to hit on one other subject because I know this is important to our readers and that’s this whole thing about how do you drive traffic to your products, to your services, to your content or whatever your platform is? People are creating this stuff and it’s like floating out there in cyberspace. No one’s noticing me. I’m not getting any likes. I’m not getting any looks. Whitney, you notice better than I do. A lot of people are hung up on that. I will go through the YouTube channel and they look at views and they say, “Only ten people have viewed you. You must not be worth checking out.” What are your thoughts about that?
I’ve struggled with this a lot and I’ve had to work through it in all different stages because I’ve had times where I felt like it was so easy to get views and followers and sometimes I go through stages where I’m losing them. I don’t know why. Sometimes it seems like everything is low. What I’ve realized over time, and again, this is one of the biggest benefits to longevity as you have perspective. If there’s any reason to do something for long-term, it’s that you can simply have the hindsight and say like, “I can see what’s happened over time.” When you haven’t done anything very long, you don’t know what to expect. The truth is we never know what’s going to happen in the future. There are definitely patterns. One of the patterns that I’ve seen with social media is because the platforms are constantly changing like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. They are businesses themselves. They‘re constantly trying to change to stay relevant. They’re trying to position themselves a certain way and get viewers and all of that.
There are a lot of forces that are either going to be working with you or against you and you don’t have a ton of control over that. I think a lot of people are looking for what are the right hashtags or what are the right SEO keywords or what is the right type of photos that draws people in? Who are the people that I can partner with to grow this? All of those things can work very well, but it all still comes down to your messaging. The truth is if you put out value to people, that will reach the right people over time. Time is actually the most important element in consistency. When you’re consistent with something, people will find you somehow and then they will like you so much that they’ll be committed to you and they’ll probably share it with other people. One thing you can do is encourage your audience to share it if it benefits them. I also brought up partnerships.
Partnerships are great if they’re authentic partnerships. Right now, you and I are doing a partnership. We both have podcasts, we’ve known each other through events that we’ve spoken at. We’ve formed an authentic connection and that’s led us to this episode. Gerry‘s readers are going to learn about me and I’m going to share this with my audience, and then they’re going to learn about Gerry. That’s a very authentic thing. That’s a great motivation to work with people if your messages align. Gerry and I have messages that are compatible with each other. What I’m sharing now can help some people and what Gerry‘s going to share is going to help my audience. It’s a great fit.
That’s a wonderful way to get discovered over time. Whereas I think a lot of people imagine that if they post something that’s great, people will find it. That may be true because social media does work that way sometimes, but you do need to do a little bit of the work there. Consistency is huge. Sometimes posting consistently on certain platforms, you will get discovered because of how the algorithms work. Sometimes Instagram will notice how often you’re posting and they’ll give you a boost. Google works that way too.
In fact, one of the elements of being seen on Google is based on how long you’ve been blogging or posting on your website or whatever. They take that more seriously than they do newer websites. That’s where the longevity is huge. The trick is though, in terms of people discovering you is some of it is a matter of luck. You can try to use the hashtag but a lot of the hashtags are overused. You use a hashtag that a million people are going to use. What are the chances that they’re going to come across yours? Sometimes you use that hashtag and you happen to pop up as a recommendation to somebody and they follow you and it works out. That’s why it’s tricky and you can’t be attached to the numbers. I guess that’s the other huge lesson here is that they’re mostly vanity metrics. If your aim is to get people to know, like and trust you, you have to believe in yourself enough to keep putting it out there and continue to add that value and be grateful for whoever finds you and continue trying all the tactics.
Use some hashtags. Use the SEO-rich keywords, try to notice some of the trends, but don’t get so absorbed in that and think about it as to make or break you. I also think having a website and a newsletter are huge. Social media in terms of conversions is much lower than a newsletter conversion. While social media benefits us, it’s introducing us to people. Ultimately the idea is to get those people on social media to also sign up for your newsletter because we don’t have any control of what those social media platforms do. Our content that we put on there is in essence there. It’s on a borrowed host. If you have your own website and newsletter, you own that. You have access to those people in a way that there’s no algorithm. It’s the way it is.
Whitney, you are such a breath of fresh air because I’ve been hearing people saying lately I don’t need a website and I’m thinking, “Are you kidding me? You still have to have your main mother ship. You’ve got to have the Starship Enterprise and go–to because the fact of the matter is a lot of people do want to get to learn who you are and do their due diligence and check you out and see all the different things that should be on a site. What you said is so good was don’t be attached to vanity metrics. That’s a topic in itself. Whitney, you should do that. I’m going to give that to you. That’s hot. Don’t be attached to vanity metrics. That goes back to what you said about it’s not what I look like is what I’m saying. Therefore, if we’re establishing ourselves around this whole thing of know, like and trust, credibility, authority, authenticity, then believe in the message, believe in the power of your word and don’t get hung up on how many people are looking and responding.
The thing is there are people that will watch your YouTube videos and never leave a comment, never give a thumbs up, never subscribe to your channel. In a way, what’s the point if your aim is to make a YouTube video because you want customers? You want those people, even if it’s a handful of them. There’s this famous mindset of 1,000 True Fans. If you look this up, basically, it’s an older mentality, so it’d be interesting to see a refreshing perspective on it. Maybe five to ten years ago, this idea of all you need is 1,000 True Fans came out because if you sell them a product that’s $100, you can make a lot of money off of a thousand people. There are so many different avenues of making money and making an impact. I know so many phenomenal public speakers that have no idea how to use social media, but they can get in front of thousands of people and a live audience. To me, that’s so much more powerful than getting in front of 100,000 people on social media because you just might be one of hundreds of people that they’re following. They might not care that much about you.
Social Media Branding: With long form content, you can develop a richer relationship with your audience because you’re giving them more.
The newsletter too. If somebody is opening up your newsletter, they’re taking more time and reading your words and that newsletter. If they’re going to your website and reading a blog post or they’re doing a quick search to find something and you can provide the answer on your website, you may have a much bigger impact with them there than you do on social media. I see them hand in hand. They both have to happen. I think that unless you’re going to be a full-time influencer, then maybe a website and a newsletter isn’t that big of a deal, but I’m still a big believer regardless. The influencers I know that don’t have a website or newsletter, I feel nervous for them because Instagram could go down any day. There have been moments where we thought we might lose Facebook due to some of the political or governmental things that are happening. We have no idea how long we have those platforms, but we do know we do have a lot of control over our websites and our newsletters and that’s why they’re important.
This is great because in this whole thing of the power of social media branding, one of the things that you’re getting to is you’ve got all these platforms out there. There are six. I think you said six that are important and do something on all of them. Get your word out and get your brand out through these various platforms through different forms of messaging. Maybe over here you do a video, over here you do tips, over here you do a podcast, over here, I don’t know, you do something else. You’re allowing people to which way do you want to engage with them. The one that they find out, the one that they find to be the best fit for what they’re looking for. Any other parting words from you, Whitney? She is a rock star. I’m telling you. Go ahead. Is there anything you want to say?
I think that it all comes down to balance. It all comes down to figuring out what works for you and feels best to you. There is no right way of doing social media. It is about the right way for you. Just because you see someone else doing it doesn’t mean that’s the only way. Because someone else has been successful doesn’t mean that you won’t be successful by doing it your way. You do need to push yourself to be consistent. Consistency is probably the closest there is to a right or wrong. You know what though, there are times where people need a break. Like we have with any job, you need to take a vacation. I’ve gone through break periods and I’ve come right back around and started posting again. Maybe I lost the attention of a few people, but my tried and true fans had been with me in all different stages of my career. This is another one of the gifts of longevity is I have some people that have been following my work for almost ten years. Those are the people that know, like and trust me. Usually the people that purchase a product or service from me are those people that have been paying attention to what I’ve been doing for a long time.
That’s why consistency is very important. I would also say partnerships are so huge. It’s like anything else. Why do we use a platform like Yelp to read reviews? Because we want to know that someone else has had a good experience. If you can partner with another person that has a good audience, you’re getting their recommendation. They’re giving you a good review. It’s more likely that somebody will follow you and perhaps purchase something from you because of that relationship. Growing your network authentically is huge. Don’t network to get something from somebody else. Network and see how you can add value to somebody else to be introduced to their audience. If you can do a social media collaboration, you can interview each other like Gerry and I are doing right now. You could be in each other’s photos, you could offer up a guest post on their website or their newsletter. Being on their podcasts or whatever it is, getting involved with other people regularly is one of the best ways to grow a greatly engaged audience.
You sparked one other thing I got to ask you. This came to me. Are there certain types of post that seem to be having more effectiveness like a “how-to” post that people like for educational kinds of things or is it whatever feels best?
This is constantly changing and it depends on the platform too. One of my best piece of advice is if you want to know the answer to these things, you do need to stay on top of it. You can follow a great resource called Social Media Examiner. They’re in authority when it comes to social media. I think they still have a podcast, but they have a great website. You can sign up for their newsletter too and they’ll tell you every week what the trends are on certain platforms and the best tips are. One thing that I’ve noticed with some people on social media is that they’re still thinking of social media in the ways that they did when they first began. If I was still doing things the same way I was in 2010, I would be in bad shape.
For me, I know that every few months I need to catch up on what’s working. If you love how-to content, make how-to content, even if it’s not the trendy or popular thing right now. It’s like clothing. Clothing has cycles where the clothes from the ‘70s are cool in the ‘70s and maybe they’re cool again in the ‘90s or the 2000s. You don’t want to throw out your cool clothing because it’s going to come back around at some point. I think about that with your content is because it’s not trendy now doesn’t mean that it’s not a value. It might be of value to your audience and maybe the mainstream isn’t as into it at the moment, but give them some time and it will probably be.
People still like one to three-minute video tips. Give me that morsel, give me that shot in the arm.
I think that in general the shorter, the better. We have short attention spans. However, I’m also a big believer in long-form content because you also can develop a richer relationship with your audience when you give them more. The people that stick around for longer-form content are probably going to be the people that start to know, like, and trust you and become customers eventually. If you want someone with a short attention span so you get the views and the comments and maybe someone sharing it, go for that. If you’re trying to develop deep relationships and give people a substance, then don’t worry about how long it is. Create it for as long as it takes for you to get your message across.
Thank you so much. You are a fountain of knowledge and wisdom. You are a true authority, a gift to the people that you serve and to this planet and I salute you for the work that you do.
Thank you. That means a lot coming from you too. I feel so honored that our paths have crossed. I can’t wait to listen to your podcast and I’m going to learn. Honestly, the people that are reading this right now, find social media podcasts out there. I’m fairly certain that Social Media Examiner still has at least one podcast. Gary Vee as a podcast. There’s a lot of great social media podcasts out there. It’s a wonderful way to stay on top of the best practices for social media and it’s great because you can listen to it. You can pick one once a week or listen to a few throughout the week and you’ll learn so much. That’s how I’ve learned a lot. I also adore Pat Flynn. He has a Smart Passive Income Podcast. He’s been around for as long as I have and he has been a fantastic example of consistency and authenticity. I highly recommend him.
Thank you, Whitney. As I have shared at the end, if you wish to get more information on what it is that I do, go to GerryFosterBranding.com. One of my commitments is to bring you the best of the best in terms of inspiring interviews and rich content around how to big brand what you have and how to go out there and create something that is not only going to have a lot of impact, but is going to give you the fulfillment, joy and prosperity that you’re looking for.
About Whitney Lauritsen
Whitney Lauritsen is a vegan content creator, online business specialist and healthy living crusader. 2018 marks her 10th year running Eco-Vegan Gal, where she makes videos and social media posts that demonstrate how to develop a lifestyle in harmony with the body and the planet.
Passionate about business and marketing, Whitney has helped countless entrepreneurs and small business owners create strategies for social media, YouTube and brand building.
Her Creative Wellth and Wellevatr events and training programs help wellness influencers and small business owners develop monetization strategies.
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