The saying “less is more”, is more often right than it is wrong.
When I was younger I wanted to have as many friends as possible. In high school and college, you meet people left and right and there is some sort of social validation that comes with being the person that knows everyone or is known by everyone.
But then, over the years I slowly began to realize that having 200 people I knew as “friends” wasn’t actually fulfilling. I spent so much time hopping from one circle, or one person, to the next that I spread myself thin and realized that the relationships were all surface level. You can only get so close, vulnerable, and real in a 5-minute conversation at a party.
Heres the thing, the same goes with your online audience. The more I interact with the online world, the more I realize how identical it is to tangible life offline. When I started blogging less than a year ago I walked onto this bright screen with the thought I had to hit this giant number of followers and get all these people to read my articles and stories.
Why was I building this audience? For a number next to my profile name? Another @gmail on my subscriber list?
The truth is this: A shiny following doesn’t equate to a large income. A vanity audience by your name doesn’t translate into making an impact.
Now I am by no means saying people with large followings aren’t sharing valuable lessons or inspiring people. Because that is happening every day and it is incredible. The difference is, they have an authentic audience that cares about what they are sharing. Before I, or possibly you, can reach that, its time to stop focusing on quantity and start focusing on quality.
Imagine your social media account is a club. Some media outlets are hosting an all-day pool party that is packed to capacity. Who knows how many people have peed in the pool, and how many partiers will actually remember the event. At the same time, some media outlets host a house party with awesome drinks, plenty of room to dance and all the people there love each other. Which one do you want to host first?
Here are 3 things anyone who is active online needs to consider:
1. If you try to talk to everyone, you are talking to no one.
Just like marketing a product, you are marketing yourself online. You wouldn’t try to sell a Brazilian bikini to a 90-year-old woman and you wouldn’t try to sell an industrial chain saw to an eight-year-old. You wouldn’t sell a box of condoms to a nun and you wouldn’t try to offload a kilo of cocaine to a senator…or maybe you would. But, you get the point.
The same goes for who you target as your personal brand audience.
This might sound like marketing 101, and maybe it is. But then why are there so many accounts trying to reach the entire world?
You have to ask yourself: who specifically do you want to help, entertain or connect with? And then, speak directly that that ONE single person. I like to tell people to give this one person a real name! Like Rachel, or John. Then, each time you write a post, send a video or draft a message to your following speak directly to that one person.
2. Not everyone is going to like you, so stop trying.
Personal branding isn’t made for the people pleasures of the world. The faster you can accept that some people will love you, and some people will hate you, the better.
If you spend your time trying to please people, you will end up creating a bunch of bland content that speaks to no one, and catches no one’s attention. You don’t have to be insane and wild, but you do have to have your own soul and personality. That is why people in your life love you!
Instead of getting sucked into the trolls online, the unfollowers, or the rude comments, pay attention to the inspiration you share, the laughs you give and fun you are having. The more you can shift your focus to the good, the quicker the negative will dissipate.
3. Would you rather change 1 person’s life for the better, or get 10,000 people to “like” your pretty picture?
Think long and hard about this. Because the reality is, there are some people out there that I think would actually want the later.
I had a horrifying date once where the guy told me he wanted to be on the show The Bachelor (yes, during our date). When I asked him “why?” he replied, “I want to be famous. I want people to know who I am.”
Let’s simply say I never went out with him again or liked his photo, and I hope you wouldn’t either.
The internet and social media can become a time-sucking machine that makes you feel like you are never going to get anywhere or change anything. But, if you begin to care about each connection you make, it can be your greatest tool for change, the place where inspiration is born, ideas are shared and lives can literally, be saved.
I hope this message helps as a reminder of why you are here, and what story you are sharing. Because everyone has something to say.
Host your house party and slowly allow the venue to grow.
Get out there and make change, one person at a time.
This article first appeared on Medium.