You are the CEO of brand YOU.
And what does your company sell? It sells you.
There is nothing that capitalism won’t touch. Everything is a business. Even your identity.
Because you run your social media pages like a business. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Linkedin.
You use exactly the same tactics and techniques that businesses use to market their products.
But with your personal social media page the product isn’t bottles of Coke, car insurance or a packaged holiday.
You are the product.
And you need to compete with all of the other products on the shelf.
This is the human marketplace.
The goal of any business is to make money.
But the goal of your personal social media page is to collect social currency.
Facebook likes are social currency. Instagram followers are social currency. Snapchat points are social currency.
Your customers are your friends, family and strangers on the same social media platform. And remember. The customer is always right. Your customers determine the worth of your brand (you).
On social media, your worth as a human being is decided by your audience. Just like a product on a shelf.
You advertise your brand (you) in the form of photos and status updates. The goal being to persuade your customers to hand over their social currency by liking your post.
When you scroll the Facebook newsfeed, you’re scrolling through an advertising reel of human beings.
Customer reviews appear on your page when another user tags you in a a post. Did they enjoy using the product? (Did they have a good time with you?)
And you receive endorsements when other users send you friend requests.
If you want to create a positive brand image and collect as much social currency as possible, you need to learn how to advertise.
How to advertise yourself
You do not write the truth on social media. You write sales pitches.
Before posting photos, think. What does this photo say about my brand?
Select your photos very carefully. Only post flattering photos. Photos taken from the wrong angle or in unflattering lighting will lower the reputation of your brand.
Photos taken of your food must be arranged perfectly beforehand.
Never miss an opportunity to use a real world success to improve your brand’s image. Whether it’s a promotion at work, you’re travelling to another country or have a new girlfriend/boyfriend. Post it all on social media.
Afterall, your competition will do the same. And you must keep up with your competition.
If you fail to advertise enough, your competition will collect all of the social currency (Likes, follows etc) and they will win.
You must stay relevant. Post stories every single day to keep your brand in the mind of your customers. But remember, your stories must showcase only positive aspects of your brand.
Anything negative happening in your life must be hidden at all costs.
You don’t want to put a stain on your brand’s perfect image do you?
Make sure you post your advertisements during high traffic periods. At lunch time or after work.
But remember, people don’t like being sold to. If you make your attempt to get social currency (likes) too obvious, people will not want to give you any.
If you advertise your brand correctly, you will create the same psychological effects in your customers as a Coca Cola advert.
If you’ve created your brand with enough skill, people will think positively of you.
With every carefully chosen photo or status update you are putting a positive association in your customers subconscious minds.
Just like Coca-Cola associates their brand with youth and happiness, you are associating your brand with other positive things. Maybe you’re associating yourself with adventurousness, health or intelligence.
Keep posting about your achievements in the gym and your audience will begin to associate you with health and fitness. Keep posting about your time spent travelling and your audience will think of you as an adventurous globe trotter.
So be careful what you associate your brand with.
For example, if you appear in photos with unattractive or unphotogenic people, this is a bad association for your brand. Especially if you have an unattractive boyfriend or girlfriend.
And when you share a video, remember that you are associating your name with the video. So choose carefully.
Post with enough consistency and your customers will begin to feel as if they know you. People you’ve only met once before greet you like you’re old friends.
You will be in the forefront of your customers minds. People will think of you when they’re organising a party or when they hear of a new job opening.
If your advertising is of a high enough quality, you will be inundated with invitations. Including many from people you’ve never met.
And you will get loyal customers.
Return customers who give you their social currency on a consistent basis.
To understand this one, we need a story:
A 20 year old girl goes on 2 dates. The first man is hilarious, has a great personality and is highly ambitious. The second man is quite funny, seems like an ok guy and has a stable job.
She finds both men about as physically attractive as each other.
3 days pass and she needs to choose between the two guys. She checks out their Instagram accounts.
The second guy has hundreds of likes on each of his photos. All of his posts are flooded with comments. And he has a follower count in the 1000’s.
The first man has only posted 8 photos. His most popular photo only has 14 likes. He has 27 followers.
Which man will this girl choose, I wonder? The scales are tipped in favour of the second man. She prefers the brand of the second man because of his online advertising.
Because the Instagram account of the second man will trigger the psychological mechanism of conformity. And this is the same effect that businesses try to create with their advertising.
Connectivity vs competition
I know what you’re thinking.
“But I just use social media to keep in touch with friends”
I believe you. Most people just want to connect with people. And that’s primarily what they try to do on the platform.
Unfortunately, when you use social media you have to accept the whole package.
And whether you like it or not, social media is not only about connectivity, but also about competition.
You can’t avoid the competitive aspect of social media, no matter your intentions.
Why? Because of the numbers.
The number of likes. The number of friends. The number of followers. The number of comments.
Social media is an environment in which everything is quantified. When there is a number next to everything, competition is unavoidable.
When you introduce “likes” to a photograph of someone, you begin to quantify their worth. You turn human beings into something that can be rated and judged with a number.
People who just wanted to connect with their friends find themselves sucked into an addictive competition for approval from others.
And when you have an audience of hundreds waiting to judge and quantify every single one of your posts, it’s only natural for people to market themselves. And here we have the human marketplace.
(Struggling with social media? Try Social Media Mindfulness).