This week, I listened to a podcast from Lewis Howe‘s The School of Greatness. He interviewed Branden Hampton, an entrepreneur who has over 30 million followers across his 50 social media accounts.

Branden told his life story of success and failure, how he learned to interact with strangers, and how he got into the social media arena early. Now, he owns valuable “digital real estate”, tweeting and posting to over 30 million people daily. In the podcast, he describes how he first discovered the value of his accounts when he was offered $1,000 to post a picture of a soda can. Since that moment, he focused his efforts on building audiences, starting with high level interests, then subgrouping them into highly targeted demographics. Now, he can sell direct advertising for brands across his social accounts and provide highly customized feedback on the response.

Lewis asked Branden for a few pieces of advice to give the average Facebook or Twitter use who is interested in building a larger following. Branden responded with 3 valuable tips:

  1. You are not interesting to a stranger.
    When you update your followers about what happened during your day, you are appealing only to peers. In order to grow your list with strangers, you must engage them in a way that is relevant to their life. Branden uses the example of Starbucks. If you post “I just bought a grande white mocha from Starbucks”, no one outside (or possible inside) your circles care. But if you post, “Who hates waiting in line at Starbucks?”, your post will engage with people because no one likes to wait in lines. Set mousetraps with bait that is attractive to your audience.
  2. You are not your brand on social media. 
    You need to represent your industry, not your brand. When you provide relevant and engaging content about your industry, your followers will see you as a trustworthy source for the industry and come to you for brand advice. Here’s how Branden describes it: “If you sell wedding rings, your goal is not to talk about wedding rings all day. Your goal is to post wedding videos, your goal is make suggestions on building and writing and managing a wedding checklist, your goal is to talk about EVERYTHING WEDDINGS, EXCEPT FOR RINGS. So now you become a trusted source for information regarding the topic so when it’s time to buy a ring, they come to you.”
  3. Your audience is looking for content first, calls-to-action second. 
    To build an audience that engages and trusts  you, content must be a priority. If you bombard your audience with advertisements about your brand, interest will turn elsewhere. Branden explains it using his favorite TV show, Law & Order. He will take an hour of his time to watch 42 minutes of show and 18 minutes of commercials. But if it was 18 minutes of show and 42 minutes of commercials, or even 30/30, he would disengage and move on. Find the right balance of content and calls-to-action to maintain your credibility and your audience will continue to grow.

To listen to the full podcast, click here.

To find out how High Road Digital can assist with your social media efforts, please contact us.