Welcome to the age of social networks, where it still pays to be the popular kid – online. Now the question is, what does it take to become popular today? The first fundamental step to becoming the ‘cool kid’ is to attract an audience, and then the work begins to sustain your following.
Here are few essential tips to help attract an audience and retain a following over time.
1. If you’re a really cool kid you understand the data.
Sounds cool, right? But it’s important to understand the magnitude of just how much content is being generated. And the websites being utilized in today’s hyper-connected world. The Infographic by Domo below tells the story about how much data is being generated by the minute.
Needless to say, generic content in an over-saturated content world won’t cut through the noise, will fall short of impact, and won’t attract your target audience.
2. Popular kids know their target audience well.
To design impactful content, you must really know the audience you’re creating for. And prior to producing any kind of content, cool kids have selected their targets. They also know what to accomplish with them to best achieve their personal or organizational objectives.
Once this audience has been identified it is critical to understand what content this specific target audience finds valuable. Then if you want to be really popular, you deliver posts that share exactly what your audience is interested and produce and deliver the type of content they prefer to consume. Sounds simple, right? That’s why all the cool kids are doing it!
The chart below by NewsVend illustrates the different kinds of content that can be generated, as well as the effectiveness and required investment for each.
3. The popular ones only hang out on the right platforms.
There are currently hundreds of social media apps on the market, with new ones popping up daily. It’s tempting to want to attempt to be popular every where. But not every social network will be the right fit for you or your brand. To be popular you must be where your fans want to hang out and determine which online places are cool to align with your brand.
Attempting to be popular every where means you may not become popular any where. I recommend limiting yourself to three networks and figure out how to employ your brand of cool to best attract and resonate with your target audience. Being able to master and deliver high performing content specific to each carefully selected places will allow for a stronger impact and create a more visible presence online overall.
4. A cool kid is authentic & personable online.
Every consumer streaming social media is in search of a trustworthy brand to follow. To be a cool brand, you have to be real and personable and aim to humanize your brand so the target audience can connect. The ultimate best practice when it comes to gaining online popularity is building trustworthiness through authenticity.
Authenticity means that you live your truths, and it shows through your content. In the Age of Social Networks, peoples’ bullshit filters have gotten rather precise. The minute they smell it in your content is the minute you have lost the opportunity with the potential customer.
In the words of the unapologetic cool kid himself, Gary Vaynerchuk:
“I know what people are thinking of me, and I know that the same things that draw people to me turn others off and keep them away. I’m OK with that because I think I can help more people and get my point across better when I’m my unfiltered self… If you don’t know yourself, you’re going to be in big trouble in trying to be authentic because you’re going to be confusing in communicating what you’re about.”
Touché Gary, TOUCHÉ!
5. If you’re super cool you understand the value of your content.
Now you know your audience well, are seen on all the right platforms for your industry, and are rising to professional stardom. But to be perceived as a ‘super cool’ industry expert and ultimately earn a bountiful, sustainable following you have to consistently release intriguing and valuable content.
When it comes to content you have to be tactical in its creation and release. Content creation done well can be time consuming and rather tricky which is why you should treat it as a precious gem in the popularity equation. Seek to get the most of each piece you create to retain your target audience and maximize the number of new followers each piece will generate.
Prior to any release of content, conduct industry research about current trends and events in order to stay relevant. Cool kids aspire to be part of the hot conversations in the industry.
6. To be a rock star, you should look like one.
The Infographic above underscores the importance of visually stimulating content.
To be cool, be visually stimulating. Make your image appealing and match your style. Use a clean palette of eye-catching colors on posts. Use visuals to make emotional connections with your audience and inspire imagination.
6. The key to popularity online and off? Engage, Engage, ENGAGE!
This is the step that separates the popular local brand from the nationally touring rock stars – like Gary Vee. This is when cool kids go full throttle! They indulge in spending time on highly interactive social media platforms, and really become the experts in their industry. To be a cool kid you need to gain many allies in the industry who will vouch for your credibility and insight about a particular product or service.
This is when Guerilla Marketing tactics will elevate your brand to rock star status. If you’ve built the audience, its time for your brand to wow them: Engage with people in your industry, re-post content, generate your own content frequently and invest heavily in social networking – even use in-real-life (IRL) events to engage in person.
The Cool Kid Checklist:
- Spend at least 20 minutes a day on the platform,
- Engage in and research the industry (using a personable brand image or photo while they are doing it),
- Conduct basic search and choose whom to follow,
- Search by related businesses and hashtags,
- Add handle and links to business cards,
- Are consistent with posting,
- Utilize consumer generated content,
- Use live opportunities such as Tweet Chats and live streaming video (even LinkedIn has gotten into the live stream game) to get conversations rolling.
- And lastly, they WATCH and LISTEN to their followers.
It is becoming more than just coveted for brands to rise above the overabundance of noise and distinguish themselves from their competitors. By executing more best practices, you’ll raise your brand to cool-kid-on-the-block or even rock star status. But don’t think this is the final recipe for social media fame.
Cool kids keep up with trends and know content strategy and social media are continuously evolving. What wows them today, fans won’t care about tomorrow. Popularity means always being aware of new opportunities and staying one step ahead.
If you have read this to the very end – you already Rock! You know what it takes: grab your shades, find your stage, tell your story – and stay cool, kid.
Category: Social Media Marketing 201