Social media is a double-edged sword.
While the majority of people are at the mercy of the digital world, there are a handful of people harnessing its power to their own benefit.
These people have managed to turn social media into a relentless force of good, earning them an income, reputation, or whatever else they yearn for.
However, most people who spend their time online are in fact wasting their time.
Research shows that people spend, on average, 3+ hours per day on their phones, browsing through various social media platforms.
Within a month, those are 90 hours spent on social media, adding up to 1080 hours per year.
In theory, if you spend those 3 hours per day reading a book, you can get through 204 books per year.
This, of course, assumes that the average:
- Reading speed is 250 words per minute
- Book length is 80,000 words
In this article, I wanted to talk about ways in which social media can be used to our personal advantage, helping you achieve your personal goals and dreams.
Build an audience
One of the most effective ways to use social media is by building an online audience.
While you may not want to become the next Kylie Jenner, an audience is important for many reasons.
Firstly, an audience gives you the chance to monetize your passion.
You're able to build a business for your audience who will most likely support what you're doing given your products or services are of high quality.
Logan Paul and KSI, two people you most likely know, recently launched a beverage brand together.
In a video, KSI mentioned how the response to Prime, their beverage brand, was 'insane' and that they did not expect it to do so well.
Had they decided to build this company without the help of their audience, it would have taken them far longer than it did to reach the level of scale they're currently at.
Not only can audiences help you monetize a business you're passionate about, but they give you authority.
The online world is full of evil people looking to take advantage of other, less aware individuals.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to trust people solely on their word or their digital profiles.
However, if you have an audience or a large following, you seem a lot more trustworthy to others online.
More people will follow what you say, and support what you do online.
You have power and the ability to do a lot of good. Many people who build audiences end up becoming 'philanthropists' and helping causes like world hunger, Uyghur Muslims, and more.
Create online content
Content is king in the digital world.
Most people go on social media and the internet, in general, to view other people's content.
Those who create content are able to build audiences and earn an income from the content they distribute.
Not long ago, I was able to grow my Medium from a few dozen followers to over 400 followers, giving me the chance to earn an income from my writing.
Over the past six months, I've managed to exponentially grow to the point where my articles are viewed over 40,000 times per month.
While it's euphoric, there's a long way to go, and many more people to help through my content.
Joe Rogan, one of the most popular podcasters in the world, was rumoured to have signed a deal with Spotify worth over $100 million.
There is a great opportunity for content creators - no matter what platform you choose.
For others, YouTube might seem like a better option.
However, one of the fastest ways to distribute content and build an online reputation is currently through TikTok.
Every day, there are new stories of cases where people go viral overnight.
TikTok is much different from any other social media platform as it gives anyone, no matter your account age or following, to go viral.
Your first video on TikTok, as long as you follow what's working/trending and have a little luck, can essentially go viral.
The short-style video format that TikTok uses has become more and more popular leading other social media giants like Snapchat and Instagram to follow along with their own iterations of it.
Make strategic relationships
Many people believe that you can become successful simply by knowing the right people.
Long ago, networking was a physical sport - the only way you can meet other people and grow your network is by actively looking for events that took place in the real world.
These events were mainly accessible to the 'upper' echelon of people, making it difficult to access for those who were looking for a start.
Today, networking is much more easily accessible through social media and the internet - platforms like LinkedIn give you the chance to connect with professionals from all walks of life.
I've personally met hundreds of people online through LinkedIn, many of which I've had the chance to personally speak to, work with, and exchange favours.
If you're looking to dip your toe into a specific industry or find a specific job opportunity, LinkedIn is a great place to start.
Not only can you find open job opportunities, be it at large corporations or small startups, but you can also connect directly to those who work at said companies to talk directly to them.
A while back, I was working on a company, Condensr, and I needed to speak to entrepreneurs to get feedback on the application we were building.
Through the help of LinkedIn and Facebook groups, I was able to get on 40+ Zoom calls over a 30-day period.
This far exceeded my expectations, and it helped me gather valuable feedback on the product I was building.
Aside from LinkedIn, there are online and in-person meetups you can find simply by searching online.
While it might be frightening to reach out and speak to people you've never spoken to before, it's a great way to build your confidence.
If you never get started, you'll never be able to do it!
Stop wasting time scrolling, and start making connections that can help you get ahead in your career.
You must remember, however, that all connections are mutual - while someone might be able to help you, you also need to be able to help them.
Start a social media business
Starting a business that leverages the power of social media is one of the most effective ways of using social media to your advantage.
There are tons of businesses one can start that can rapidly grow with the help of social media.
Around a year ago, I ran a digital marketing agency that helped clients, mainly real estate agents, generate more leads, and make more money.
Instead of aimlessly going on Instagram or other social media platforms, my team and I used these platforms to our advantage.
Instagram alone has over 2 billion active monthly users while Facebook has over 3 billion.
The volume of people you can reach through these platforms is incredible.
Other people who own businesses might leverage things like Instagram's 'shopping' feature to get their products in front of potential buyers.
This is quickly becoming a new norm for shopping as more and more people are using it to start their own, little side hustles and get sales without needing to spend a fortune on advertising.
Putting yourself out there has never been easier.
Social media connects billions and billions of people together, giving you the chance to market your business or brand in a way that's both cheaper and more effective than ever.
Previously, the only way businesses can market themselves was through unscalable methods or extremely expensive press coverage.
Newsletters were, most likely, the most popular strategy large corporations used, while a physical presence and door-knocking were next in line.
Social media has revolutionized the way people, businesses, and brands market themselves.
If you're someone who's looking to build:
- A business
- A reputation
- A personal brand
- A campaign
Social media is the most effective way to be seen and heard.
Earlier in 2007, Obama was one of the first presidential candidates to leverage social media to aid his campaign's marketing efforts, which helped him gain a massive following.
This new and innovative strategy helped him win Americans' votes over candidates like Hillary Clinton.
While you might believe that marketing is expensive, the digital realm presents many opportunities for marketing - covering both paid and free methods.
For example, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter - these platforms give users the chance to run cheap yet effective advertising campaigns that have the ability to reach hundreds of thousands, even millions of people.
Technology has become so advanced that you can hyper-target your audience, closing in on only those who are most likely to interact with your brand.
Google and Facebook, being some of the most advanced, have tracking technology, better known as 'pixels', that help you optimize your campaign's through data.
The data points collected through your audience's interaction with your brand and adverts help these platforms build audiences that closely resemble those who take positive actions with your brand, such as making purchases.
While it may sound complicated, it's becoming easier to set up a campaign with no prior experience - I would suggest you read my article on setting up and running your first Facebook Ad campaign to learn more.
Those were 5 ways you can use social media to your advantage.
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