The Internet and social media have fundamentally changed the world that we live in. But how can we use the internet and social media to benefit us and achieve our goals? That is the key premise of Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk. In this book he provides a detailed guide on the strategy needed on each platform to do exactly this. 20 years ago, if you wanted to become successful in your desired field, a lot of luck played a part. If you wanted a TV show, you needed to be incredibly lucky to get selected by a studio. If you wanted a radio show, the same concept applied. If you wanted to write a book you needed to find a publisher. But the internet has removed all of those barriers and you can literally build a global brand for yourself using only your mobile phone and these things will come to you. So, what can we learn about building a personal brand from Crushing It?
A personal brand is critical to success
The explosion of social media has made it possible for anyone to now become a leader in their desired field. Not only does it allow people to become music stars like Justin Bieber, but it can also allow an accountant to get a huge promotion, a customer service agent to set up a thriving bakery business and generally allow anyone the opportunity to achieve their goals. All they need to do is start building an audience for their personal brand. Over 1 billion hours of YouTube video is watched every day. Over 60,000 photos and videos are uploaded to Instagram every minute and roughly 50% of the time spent on the internet is spent on social media. This provides everyone with the opportunity to build a reputation for themselves as an authority in their chosen area.
An accountant could make a video everyday helping people with tax problems, the customer service person could post a picture everyday of a cake they baked along with a recipe for how to make it. It literally costs nothing and provides everyone with the opportunity to no longer be dependent on their employer to pay the bills. If the Accountant has a large enough audience, they will no longer need to work for their accounting firm, they would be able to set up their own business. If enough people are paying attention to the recipes on the customer service person making cakes, they will also be willing to spend money to either buy a cake from them, or to receive a baking lesson, or buy a cook book. The possibilities are endless for all of us. Gary tells us exactly how to do this in his book.
Provide Value to your audience
One of the reasons many do not gain a large following and establish their personal brand is because their content is selfish in nature. Their focus is on promoting themselves as opposed to bringing value to their audience. Most of their posts would be focused on saying “I got promoted” or “I am attending this event” or “I am (enter whatever else here)”. Instead, those with the strongest personal brands focus on their audiences needs instead. Their intention is often altruistic as opposed to selfish. They would focus on how their audience could also get promoted or share the knowledge they gained at the event so others who did not attend can learn. People will naturally flock to follow those who are helping them over someone else who is just telling you what they are doing.
The other thing that is incredibly important is the need to be patient. Gary often points out that it took him 10 years to build his audience to the millions he now has. People often get discouraged because they post once or twice and expect to have millions of people follow their advice. It does not happen that way 99.9% of the time. Instead you need to focus on being consistent, day in and day out. In the grand scheme of things taking 5-10 years to build your reputation is not that long. Coca Cola only sold a handful of bottles in its first year.
Finally, Gary makes the point that people can always smell a fake. Authenticity is key when it comes to building your audience. If you are posting things you do not believe in, or doing it purely for the likes, then people are not going to engage with your content. They know you are not being honest with them, and so why would they trust you and your advice?
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