25 May 2018

no clones required

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You don’t have to be everywhere in social media to make your mark.

When I was working in a fancy social media agency, we had clients who could afford a team to manage all their social platforms. We built content strategies, staged photo shoots, launched shiny campaigns that got covered in the trades, mapped out content calendars, and analyzed the performance of said content in excruciating detail. These were the kind of companies that were shelling out $10K/month minimum to be in the game.

But who’s rolling around with that kind of coin? Who has a team doing their bidding?

I can’t even get my cat to pose for pictures on Instagram. He pulls a Greta Garbo and shields his eyes with his paws as soon as I whip out my phone. Really, Felix? Really?

Even when my clients had big budgets I’d tell them that they didn’t need to be on every single platform in order to be successful. Rather, they needed to be playing where their customers played. And they needed to be present and serving at a level that makes their customers pause mid-swipe. My clients had to be surgical about understanding their customer in order to connect with them in a way that didn’t feel forced or phony. Don’t publish content for the sake of having something online, I’d say, which is the equivalent of opening your window every morning and screaming out into the street.

Everyone will think you’re fucking crazy, and if you live in New York people will simply shrug, pass you by, and eventually, tune you out.

Don’t listen to the Gary V minions. You don’t have to be the embodiment of spam to make your mark. You just have to pick one or two platforms and get good on them.

All the kids are chirping you have to go LIVE! In unison they shout, you have to have a Facebook group, a podcast, a newsletter, an Instagram pod, a retreat, a weekly Live, blah, blah, blah. YOU MUST DO ALL THE THINGS TO GET ALL THE MONIES.

I’m here to tell you that’s a pack of lies.

You don’t need to do all of the things, just some of the things.

First, start by assessing your brand and business. Are you selling physical products where images need to be at the fore? Or are you a novelist who wants to be read? Marry your product with you’re the behavior and habits of your intended audience. Then, evaluate what you’re best at and prioritize, based on your resources, time, and life, what platforms will make your work shine.

People who don’t know me have a perception that I’m extroverted, bombastic, and a worker of the room in real life when nothing could be further from the truth. I love writing. I love the barrier between self and others, which emboldens me in a way that connecting face-to-face can be sometimes challenging.

Writing is home to me and it’s been the way that I’ve sold myself for as long as I could remember. I compel people with words before they even meet me. Or I try to.

Facebook groups, retreats, Lives, and anything involving large groups of people give me anxiety on the level of vertigo, and I truly believe that if you suck at something, you’ll only shine a bright, glaring light on your suckage if you pursue that which puts your gifts in the dimmest light.

If video makes you want to hide under the covers, but you have physical products to sell, consider marrying your images with text that cultivates a relationship between you and your customer. It is possible to crawl before you leap.

I made a conscious decision for my business to let my writing lead the way. I can’t create beautiful Instagram stories or potent Pinterest boards, but I can tell you stories that carry a level of intimacy by way of your inbox. I can write medium essays that will inspire you to burn so bright you blast all the bulbs. And in true introvert fashion, I can start a podcast and a blog that puts my words out into the world in a way that’s thoughtful and deliberate.

Don’t put out anything less than extraordinary. Don’t put out anything that doesn’t move you. Don’t speak simply to make sounds. That’s how you’ll cut through the garbage and the noise because you’re being honest, compelling, and true.

Warmly, Felicia

This post originally appeared in my weekly newsletter. Each week, I send storytelling, marketing, and brand building advice, tips, and tutorials. Sign up here to get on my list

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  • Can we talk?
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I think it’s important to learn from the experiences we’re desperate to forget. Some of my greatest teachings come from working with terrible clients and sociopathic bosses. I wrote about this on medium (@felsull) and I’d love for to check it out, clap, and share.
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But remember this. Don’t let anyone define your worth. Only you have the right to that math. No one deserves to be yelled at. No one deserves verbal abuse. No one deserves to hear that they’re worthless, stupid, or an idiot. You are the guardian of your worth.
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Constructive feedback is a valuable tool, but it doesn’t define you as a person. We will fail. We’ll botch a job or make mistakes. Value comes from learning from the missteps, in creating systems and processes for yourself that reduces the likeliness of that mistake from happening again. Your worth is not the measure of your failures, but how you’ve rebounded from them. How you’ve grown professionally AND personally. It’s about you standing up in the wreckage and saying, okay, let’s keep going.
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Your worth is not bound to your work product — it’s defined by all the things that make you, you.
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  • I used to be this intense person and I assure you this is not a compliment. I went at everything so hard. I worked through pain and exhaustion. I cleaved to velocity — a body in motion stays in motion and like that. Force = mass x acceleration and like that. I placed more value on outcomes than inputs. I cared about what people thought of me and wanted to please everyone at the expense of my well-being. I placed an unhealthy level of emphasis on amassing a large collection of people in my life more than cultivating richer relationships with a handful. I pursued things at the expense of the quiet nobility of living an honest, full life.
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My wake-up call was a phonebook packed with numbers but no one to call when I was breaking. What changed during that dark time was this: I began to live small and this is, I assure you, is a good thing.
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Small isn’t a pejorative. It’s about getting surgical about the people and things that inhabit your life. Cut the barnacles. Eliminate that which is extraneous and unnecessary. Don’t settle for common or this is how it’s always been done. Small is about the amount of noise you allow in. It’s about making the choices that won’t please the majority of people, but you end up pleasing yourself. It’s the difference between living in a mansion and creating a house that is a home. Fewer, better are words whose meaning has shifted for you. They are words of wealth. And more suddenly feels like a burden.
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  • Yesterday, I finished up a 138-page tactical marketing plan along with a 27-slide summary deck. I felt like I climbed Everest and had some coconut ice cream to celebrate. Today, I’m hitting the ground running with a coffee and a sweet pick-me-up. Who’s ready for today?
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  • Here’s the thing: life is messy. We are flawed by design. Being authentic and real is about appreciating all aspects of yourself and your business. It’s about weathering the tough moments with grace and setting a path and example for others who are standing alongside you in the struggle. It’s about acknowledging and learning from your shortcomings and blind spots. It’s about saying, you’re right. I fucked up. Here’s how I’m going to make amends. There’s nobility in leading an honest life and being the kind of person who is unabashed, shamelessly you.
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Whether you’re a business of two or two hundred—using plastic tactics to market yourself and your business is a surefire way to start the clock on your expiration date. I’m in the midst of creating a seven-day challenge on real and practical tips on marketing yourself whether you’re fresh out of school and looking for a job or you want to switch careers or you’re in the nascent stages of starting your own business.
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Why me? I’ve been in marketing for nearly two decades. Ive built business and the brands of F500 companies. I’ve had career changes and side hustles. And I actually know what I’m talking about (don’t be swayed by these IG “business coaches” who have zero marketing or work experience).
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Why? People have developed allergies to bullshit. People can see right through duplicity, and there’s always a non-smarmy option hovering in view. In my weekly newsletter, I’m sharing  five simple ways to market yourself without being a large-scale douche. Link in profile to subscribe. .
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  • We made it through another Monday...possibly by grit, the skin of our teeth, a comfort meal or a glass of vino.
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  • In a little over two months, I’ll be taking my first vacation in nearly two years. I can’t tell you how ready I am to board that plane and fall asleep to white wine and engines. Travel is a passion of mine, and I used to be deliberate about taking breaks and recharging. But these past two years have been challenging and I decided financial stability would have to temporarily man the ship, as it were.
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Breaks are important. Morning meditation, midday boxing, coffee and a book come evening. Or perhaps a trip that will require two planes and 30 hours of your time.
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Zadie Smith said “time is where you give your love,” so why not gift yourself the hours?
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