Headline title got your attention huh? Good, because there’s a YUGE less in here for you…
Arii, an 18 year old Instagram “influencer” (I despise that term and after reading this you’ll see why), has over 2.6 million followers. Given her huge fan base, she decided to launch an apparel line.
Invested a bunch of money to fly out a professional photographer and makeup artist for a photoshoot where she rented a large photo studio and models. Then she dropped even more money to send out PR packages.
When she officially launched her brand, she couldn’t hit the 36 piece minimum required by the garment manufacturer she was working with.
Yes, you read that correctly. Someone with over 2.6 million followers couldn’t sell 36 t-shirts. 36 customers is less than one thousand three hundred eighty-five millionths or .00001385 of her following.
Everyone is so focused on the size of their audience and “scaling” their business that they miss the point entirely.
There are a couple great lessons from this incident:
- Followers do not equal customers. You need to understand who your customers are and what they will buy from you.
- If you’re an influencer but not building personal connections and actual rapport with your followers you can have millions of followers but ZERO actual influence.
- You need a viable business model before you launch an actual business.
- Anyone can gain a “following” on social media but don’t confuse that with actual influence.
Her cautionary tale isn’t an isolated incident.
For my last book launch in 2017 I had a massive social media campaign via the Thunderclap app. Reaching millions of people in 20 different countries on six continents.
It was one of the largest book launch campaigns in the platform’s history, right behind Tim Ferris’s book The Four Hour Work Week. (Which he admitted to working 16 hours a day promoting.)
That being said, I sold WAY more books via my relatively small email list (just shy of 10k at the time) than I did to the millions of people it reached across the globe on social media. Think about that, a list of less than ten thousand readers significantly outsold a social media reach in the millions.
The Takeaway: Social media is NOT real life, it’s essentially a fun house mirror and doesn’t reflect anything very accurately. So why are you spending (wasting so much time on it)?
If you think you’re not, think again my friend…
According to a survey by DigitalInformationWorld.com in 2019 internet users are now spending an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on social media and messaging platforms.
That’s just the average, average people with average size followings. Which means there are people spending far more than 142 minutes a day on it.
You’ve gotta separate the signal from the noise so to speak. Social media is primarily just a lot of noise. The actual signal is the one to one direct, personal relationship you have via your email list and face to face communication. Those are the real relationships. Focus on genuine audience engagement, not audience size. Quality always trumps quantity online and offline as well.
How do you do that? You can start by joining an engaged group that’s all signal and no noise; my membership community Yesterdays Underdogs. I walk my talk and keep it intentionally small, focusing on quality people not quantity.
Warning: If you’re more worried about bull$h!t “optics” like number of followers, likes or page views, this is NOT the place for you.
On the flipside, if you want to learn how to sell more than 36 units of something we’ve gotcha covered.
* A tip of the hat to colleague Josh Earl for the inspiration behind this article. Josh shared a fascinating article in Buzz Feed with me that highlights the flawed logic of social media usage in business.
P.S. Tune in tomorrow for part 2. How to make money via Anti-Social media.