HAVE you ever read one of those posts online that has thousands of passionate punters vying for supremacy in the comments? There’s Diligent Dave sharing links to what he insists are the facts of the matter, Conspiracy Kam calling ‘fake news’, Right-wing Ray calling everyone a snowflake and Leftie Linda reminding us all to just love each other a little more.

Rubbing her hands, having lit the blue touch paper and stepped into the background, is Algorithm Alice, who doesn’t really give a fig about the topic she started the scrap with, but is overjoyed at the engagement she’s enjoying on her post. Piss off enough people, draw in as many squabblers and truth seekers as possible and, soon enough she’ll have viral content, which will mean more eyeballs on her actual business offering.

You might argue it’s a solid enough methodology — it will, doubtless, result in more views on your content, but would you rather be known as a muppet or a master?

Think about the kind of clients you want to attract. Think about your own values. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather attract the clients I’d enjoy working with, perhaps with values aligned to my own.

I don’t want to just chase money and numbers and I’ve no interest in peacocking— I want contentment, happiness and joy in my life. I want to feel I’m giving back, being of service. I don’t want to be seen as an argumentative dickhead and attract clients who enjoy nothing better than a good ruck.

In this fast-paced world of social media, at least where first impressions are concerned, you are as good as your content… and your content is a direct link into your personality and what makes you tick.

In this fast-paced world of social media, at least where first impressions are concerned, you are as good as your content… and your content is a direct link into your personality and what makes you tick.

For me, there are far better ways to build an engaged, communicative, enthusiastic audience than behaving like a bunch of Millwall supporters after a West Ham win (with apologies to all you footie fans who are calm, placid and love nothing more than a pleasant chinwag over a cup of tea and a Kit-Kat with ‘rival’ fans).

Please, please, please people, stop obsessing over your numbers. We can all score a higher reach if we’re willing to sell our soul and court controversy, but we can also reach more people by being genuinely of value.

Please, please, please people, stop obsessing over your numbers. We can all score a higher reach if we’re willing to sell our soul and court controversy, but we can also reach more people by being genuinely of value.

Be entertaining.

Be interesting AND interestED.

Be educational.

Be of service.

Show your personality. Stop trying to blend in — or stand out for the wrong reasons — and, instead, learn to shine as YOU.

How you do this, of course, will vary slightly from channel to channel.

On LinkedIn, it might be a mixture of document posts, videos, well-written content and taking the time to actively engage with other users every day — not to sell, but to be of service.

On Facebook, it might be live videos or being the go to person in a group.

On Twitter, it might be using the search to find people talking about your specialist subject and then chipping into the conversation with useful tips.

On Insta, it might be using the right pictures and hashtags.

Get it? Each one will be slightly different in terms of your approach but, unless you’re in this purely for the vanity game, you need to be focusing on far more than the numbers.

What are vanity metrics?

When we focus purely on building numbers to look good, but those figures aren’t really doing much for us other than making us feel all superior, they’re known as ‘Vanity Metrics’.

For instance, if you’ve built up 50,000 Facebook page fans through creating controversial discussions, filled with angry keyboard warriors, but your business is actually selling ethically-produced vegan cheese, you’ve probably wasted a shedload of your time and effort, not to mention cocking up your personal brand somewhat.

Unless you can find a study somewhere that shows gouda made from coconut milk and mung beans is the perfect food stuff to lower people’s blood pressure after social media spats, all you’ve done is brought a load of drama addicts to your page when, potentially, they’re a long way from your target audience.

The same can be said for all kinds of scenarios… if you bring people to your Insta feed by posting lots of images of perfect bodies, scantily clad, when you’re in the business of therapeutic massage, you might find yourself attracting clients with a different kind of masseuse in mind.

Don’t be a controversy clown. Get clear on your REAL values. Use those!

If your LinkedIn feed gets lots of traction from you taking the proverbial out of man bags and criticising ‘inappropriate’ business attire, you’re probably onto a loser unless your business has anything to do with clothing and accessories. Even then, if you’re actually a bit of a conflict-averse introvert hiding behind Uncle Bob’s great idea to get your views up, you’ll likely be attracting customers who are far from your ideal.

Get it? Don’t be a controversy clown. Get clear on your REAL values. Use those!

What do my values have to do with business?

EVERYTHING!

If you want to build a business and reputation (that’s your personal brand, right there!) that’s true to you, attracts the kind of engagement you’ll enjoy and the type of clients you’ll like working with, get clear on your value sets and show them off through your content.

If your values — facets that are really important to you — are, for instance, truth, integrity, fairness and equality, bring those through in your content.

Sure, some of the edgier marketers might argue you’ll find it tougher to hit those big virality spikes but A) that’s not necessarily true and B) even if that were the case, wouldn’t you rather have a slow climb to a business you truly love being part of than a rocket-fuelled trip to controversy land, followed by an equally swift descent?

Think about it… you will have seen plenty of pieces of viral content, where the people involved have built massive visibility without damaging their value sets.

Remember Chewbacca mom? Imagine if you’d done something like that AND tied that joyful element into your business message.

What about all those campaigns we’ll have seen that went viral for all the right reasons.

Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? Extra points if you took part!

How about National Geographic’s Planet Or Plastic campaign? It was one of their magazine covers in 2018 and the image swiftly went viral through Twitter.

More recently, you might remember the egg that overtook Kylie Jenner’s most liked post on Instagram. The @world_record_egg account was set up by advertising creative, Chris Godfrey, when he wanted to see if an egg could become more popular than a celebrity’s baby announcement. Crazy. Simple. And it overtook Kylie’s 18 million likes to take the top spot on the popularity podium.

Think about hashtags too.

#Veganuary, anyone? Look at the traction that’s had since the non-profit launched! And then there’s #Movember. What about the #10YearChallenge?

But I’m Just A Lowly Business Owner…

Cut that crap! First, you’re not a lowly anything — you gotta love yourself far more, sweetcheeks!

Now the motivational speaking bit’s out of the way, stop with the numbers game again!

These are just examples of how people have gone viral without being nasty. It’s better for you to have 100 switched-on, engaged followers who actually give a damn about what you do and might become customers, than 100,000 who turned up for the drama orgy.

Get it?

Use numbers as a benchmark, that’s all. If they suddenly peak, go back and look at what happened to create that and, if appropriate, do it some more.

Use numbers as a benchmark, that’s all. If they suddenly peak, go back and look at what happened to create that and, if appropriate, do it some more. If your numbers suddenly drop, guess what you need to do then? That’s right — figure out why and, if appropriate, do less of it.

Aim for an upwards growth curve, for sure, but remember who you are, what your business message is and who you want to be attracting in with your story. Create your content accordingly.

Learn. Develop. Grow. Make sure you’re showing up enough and engaging with other, relevant people’s content enough too. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. And remember to keep it clean!

Values. Visibility. Views. Vision.

You’re velcome.

Until next time,

#UnleashYourAwesome,

Taz

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Taz Thornton is the author of Awesome Sauce — a free, weekly positive life and business round-up, with good news stories, positivity tips and visibility hacks for your brand. In a few minutes each week, you get a dose of optimism and some awesome advice to get seen and stay happy.

Taz is a best-selling author, inspirational business speaker and multiple TEDx speaker, consultant on confidence, personal brand and visibility, and an award-winning coach (UK’s Best Female Coach 2018 — Best Business Woman Awards). She is also the creator of the #UnleashYourAwesome and #BrandMastery personal and business development programmes, as well as #UNLEASHED — an affordable confidence, content and cashflow building programme for coaches, healers and therapists, and #LIFEFORCE — an affordable online spiritual empowerment and coaching programme for people wanting to bring more optimism into their lives.

Taz has been featured on BBC, ITV, in HuffPost, Diva, The Daily Mail and countless other newspapers, magazines and podcasts. Taz is also a regular columnist for the America Out Loud talkshow network. In 2019, she was named as one of the most inspirational businesswomen in the UK and, in 2020, she was named as one of the world’s top 50 women in marketing to follow.

Find her on FacebookLinkedInTwitterInstaKo-Fi and TazThornton.com.