Know Your IDEAL Audience: Before you start posting, you have to know who you are speaking to. You need to know who your message is for and who it ISN’T for. Don’t try to please everyone.
I had the pleasure to intervoew Yahya Bakkar. Yahya is a family man, speaking coach and online business consultant.He’s the secret weapon behind many successful entrepreneurs, celebrities and influencers when it comes to taking their speaking game and personal brand to the next level. The meaning of Yahya’s name in Arabic is “alive” and he’s made it his life’s mission to help other leaders become more A.L.I.V.E. — Authentic, Likeable, Influential, Vulnerable and Empathetic — in everything they do. He’s also the co-founder of World-Class Leader which is a 90-day online business program helping successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders build profitable personal brands while creating a movement around their message.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I graduated high school, my dream was to become a personal trainer.
Because I was the first person in my family to ever get an American education and the fact that the parents who raised me are middle eastern, they pressured me to become a doctor so I could make them proud
After spending 4 years taking my prerequisites to one day become a doctor, I realized that it wasn’t my path and I was only doing it for the acceptance and approval of my parents. So I dropped out with one semester left, no degree and over $50,000 of student loans.
My father was disappointed in me and wouldn’t allow me to stay in his house so one of my best friends heard about my situation and invited me to stay with his family until I could get myself together.
Feeling depressed and not knowing what to do with my life, my friend suggested I become a motivational speaker and life coach for young people.
I thought it was a silly idea but he told me to sleep on it.
Next day, I went on Google and looked up “motivational speaking and life coaching programs for young people”.
I found two online coaching programs that would teach me how to build my career as a paid speaker and coach.
The total cost of both programs were $9,000 at the time.
There was no way I was able to afford that.
I had no degree.
$50,000 of debt.
And $47 in my checking account.
Despite the fact that I was broke, I figured I only had one shot to go all in.
I got 2 jobs and raised $4,000 from family and friends to pay for both programs.
Within one year I was a full-time speaker and one of the youngest graduates in the coaching program.
Fast forward to 2016, I traveled all around the world with over 100 speaking engagements.
I built a 6-figure career traveling the world as one of the highest paid motivational speakers for high schools and college students and I’ve spoken on more than 500 stages including platforms like TedX, Harvard and Yale.
But after years of traveling and speaking on the road, I was burnt out. I wanted a better way to share my message while one day raising my own family…
I trusted my gut and I literally walked away from a lucrative speaking career after 8 long years without a “plan B.” I created a life on my own terms that would allow me to figure out a way to make an even bigger impact while being their for my family and achieving lifestyle freedom.
I leveraged my experience speaking on the world’s biggest stages and have now built a 7-figure coaching business helping celebrities, millionaires and entrepreneurs build profitable personal brands.
I co-founded World-Class Leader and I now get to help my clients create REAL impact on the world while they build their own profitable personal brand and create a movement around their message.
Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?
When I left my career as a full-time speaker, I used the resources I had available to me. I’ve not only built a 7-figure online business using Instagram (@YahyaBakkar) and Facebook, but with my new program World-Class Leader, my team and I have helped our clients leverage social media to generate over 1.3 Million Dollars in less than 4 months.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
You know what’s interesting? Initially I thought people’s motivation to grow their social media following was all ego driven. And while that still exists, what I’ve found is that people have a story and message they want to share, stories that will impact lives and change the world.
Whether it’s on stage, online or offline, I’m blown away by the impact of each person’s unique story.
I have seen first hand how entrepreneurs and thought leaders take that unique message to the next level.
By sharing their story on social platforms they are scaling their ability to impact people and are leaving a living legacy.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
A mistake I see entrepreneurs make is building an empire on quicksand. What I mean by that is they see online celebrities like Gary Vee, Lewis Howes, The Rock, etc and think “they are so famous and influential, I need to do that too.”
I’ve seen people trying to become Instagram “influencers” who start posting content everyday with NO clear direction or roadmap. Their content doesn’t align with who they are or their ultimate impact goals.
What they don’t realize is there’s a system, a strategy, a process to creating content on any social platform that will increase impact, influence & income.
Most people are doing the right things in the wrong order. It’s kind of like having the right numbers to a locker combination in the wrong order.
Don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 20. If you’re thinking “Why isn’t that working for me, why am I not good enough?” STOP. You’re likely doing the right things in the wrong order. All you need is a better system and a step-by-step process that can hold you accountable.
Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?
The most effective platform for you, depends on who your ideal audience is.
Instagram is great to reach a more millennial audience, Facebook targets the Baby Boomer generation and moms between the ages of 35–50, professionals and executives are best attracted from LinkedIn, YouTube is very search driven and is great for solving problems…
You need to take all of this into consideration.
A lot of “gurus” will say to use all platforms all the time. I say pick the platform that feels most natural to you, where you feel your voice can be heard by your ideal audience. Focus your time, energy and business there.
Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share 6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.
Before we dive into this, remember 2 overarching themes.
Instagram is a SOCIAL network — make it social. Create content that balances connection and information. Show your character, personality and who you are but create content that can help your ideal audience solve a big problem.
You need a good balance to both in order to grow your business and brand on Instagram.
1) Know Your IDEAL Audience: Before you start posting, you have to know who you are speaking to. You need to know who your message is for and who it ISN’T for. Don’t try to please everyone.
2) Get Clear on Your Direction: When you get clear on your ideal audience, this will streamline who you’re speaking to and the direction your messaging and all of your content will take. One of the biggest mistakes I see is people share everything on Instagram with no specific direction.
3) Treat Instagram like a Business: If you understand that Instagram is a tool to grow your brand and business, not a hobby, that’s when you’ll see growth. You need to approach Instagram and everything you do on it as if it’s a business.
4) Problem — Outcome — Solution: Speak to the problems of your ideal client. Lay out the outcome if they continue down that path in your messaging. Know their challenges, speak to that THEN layout a solution. The #1 mistake most influencers make it not speaking to a direct solution. Don’t leave them hanging.
5) Call to Action: Have a clear message at the end. Clearly tell them HOW to reach out, message or connect with you. Do you want them to send you a DM? TELL THEM. Do you want them to leave a comment? TELL THEM. Give a clear call to action.
6) ENGAGE — The whole purpose of Instagram is that it’s a “social” platform. Make it social. Engage with people. Don’t feel like you’re ‘too good” to direct message them back or respond to their comments. Engage Engage Engage. That conversation can convert them to grow your business
Be patient with the process and have good intentions. Rome wasn’t built in a day. When you can master delaying that instant need for gratification online you’ll master Instagram.
If you’re building your business, you need to think of Instagram as a long term strategy that focuses on adding value.
Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Let’s all leverage social media & technology as a TOOL for connection instead of as a reason to disconnect.
It’s a double-edged sword. Without social media I would have never found birth mother after being separated for 25 years. If your intent and heart is in the right place, social amplifies who you are and your deepest desires.
What breaks my heart is seeing the other side of social media. Many people are concerned only about vanity metrics, follower counts, number of likes and friends they have, etc.
It can be so superficial. There is a depth and power of how it can affect your professional career and personal life on both sides.
Use it as a way to connect.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I’ve ALWAYS said if…
had a love child, it would be ME.
They are living legends, leaving their legacy while they are alive.
They are all using media to create a powerful movement around their message — kindness, trust respect, motivation, positivity , joy, depth, laughter.
I love how each and every one of them leverages mass and social media to create a positive force to be reckoned with
Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!