Craving online popularity? Want to get recognized as a top industry thought leader? Not so fast. Although this branding shift is completely doable, one wrong move and you'll look desperate. If you're craving internet fame, follow these rules.
1. Master your niche.
Don't be a know it all. Decide, right here and right now, what you want to be known for. Then, weigh out your social efforts based on this conclusion. For example, if you want to be the next Justin Bieber, make YouTube your No. 1 priority. But, if you want to be a guest columnist in the New York Times, blog on Medium. Settling on a niche will help you stay focused. For example, if you're not pursuing a career as a fashion blogger, don't obsess over #OOTD. Your niche should be something you're passionate about. Given the opportunity, you should be able to talk someone's ear off about this topic. People will sense enthusiasm. This type of emotion keeps readers and listeners engaged.
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2. Speak with authority.
Kiss passive voice goodbye. Ditch the adverbs. Need help moving in the right direction? Give the Hemingway Editor a try. This free tool scores your writing, and makes suggestions that improve readability. Although speaking with authority gives you notoriety, don't talk "above" your audience. Study your target persona. For example, writing for a 32-year-old editor at Vogue shouldn't look the same as writing for a 17-year-old gamer. Know the difference and what demographic you're targeting.
3. Scarcity scales your brand.
Don't be too available. Don't live for your social media notifications. In fact, turn them off. Vow to only check them once a day and respond if necessary. Maintain a level of scarcity. For example, when was the last time you saw Christina Aguilera replying to every single Facebook comment? It just doesn't happen. As an "online celebrity," you should be super busy doing awesome things, right? Not sitting on Facebook all day, having back and forth conversations with trolls and fans. You and your selfie stick should be out conquering the world.
4. Relatable content builds loyalty.
If you want a massive online following, you have to be someone people can relate to. You don't have to be perfect. Embrace your faults. Don't be afraid to screw up. I recently learned about The Pratfall Effect. This psychological trigger proves that your likability increases when you're "human." A study done by the American Psychological Association suggests that "...the attractiveness of a superior person is enhanced if he commits a clumsy blunder; the same blunder tends to decrease the attractiveness of a mediocre person. These results were predicted by conjecturing that a superior person may be viewed as superhuman and, therefore, distant; a blunder tends to humanize him and, consequently, increases his attractiveness."
5. Conquer a new platform.
Although Blab is now dead (tears), be on the lookout for new digital marketing and communication trends. If you can master an app or tool before it goes mainstream, your following will grow and pack a bigger punch. Think about the early adopters of Snap Stories. That new update could've rocket launched someone to online celebrity status. Also, observe your target persona's daily media habits. Are they obsessed with texting? Maybe they live on Instagram. Knowing your audience and what makes them tick will only help your quest for internet fame.
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Having a cult-like online following keeps you on your toes. If you're not creating engaging content, your internet fame will fizzle. Give your fans the best of you, and you'll be rewarded with above average engagement and reach.