By Jordon Rooney, Founder/CEO of Built Different

Social media is great for business. It used to be great for business pages, but not anymore (without an ad spend). Do you know what still performs well? Personal pages. Stop making excuses for why you don’t use social media. Whether you’re afraid to be judged or you’re “digitally shy,” it’s time to embrace it. It is better for business.

Social Media Isn’t Going Anywhere

Some 84% of the U.S. population uses at least one social media platform. This is how people consume information now. This is where they are influenced. Sure, a lot of what you see online is negative because the attention seekers and the controversial usually win exposure in this game. This is a communication tool that can be used for good and will bring in business.

In the digital economy, if you aren’t using social media then you may struggle to exist. If you haven’t already, it’s time to start digitizing your presence. Most people are hesitant at first to start using social media; that’s normal. The problem is that we need more people who are smart, rational and empathetic to start speaking up. Those with real influence are the ones who should be taking a stance. If you aren’t sure where to start, look at how others on social media like you are creating content. Start consuming it, learn from it and start generating ideas of your own.

The New Normal

There is a new way of doing things when it comes to driving engagement. User habits are different on every platform. Overall, content that is shareable and easily consumable will perform better. That means more people will get to see it. With so few professionals speaking up consistently, the new normal will be set by those who have the most followers and views. The wrong message by a person who acts out can be viewed 10 million times. This will have more of an impact than the right thing that is said by a good person who produced a message only gaining 15 views.

Look at the impact that this could potentially have on our youth. Teenagers are learning that the internet is the place where you do things that bring the most attention, regardless of whether there is substance or creativity behind the content.

Algorithms Favor the Irrational and Controversial

It’s called “negativity bias.” If you put up a positive post and a negative post, which do you think will see more engagement? Unfortunately, the negative one will get more of a reaction. Social media promotes content that results in more reactions, regardless of why the people are reacting. The social media algorithms want to keep people on the platform. The more people argue, the more time they spend on the platform. This allows for more advertisements to be sold. That’s why we see timelines flooded with controversy and negativity, but another underlying issue is that the people who deserve a platform rarely speak up.

One of my first videos that did well was “Confronting Racists and Neo-Nazis at Charlottesville.” The video has accumulated roughly 8.7 million views and 100k shares. There were thousands of negative messages. Here’s what they didn’t realize: they helped promote my video to millions who felt empowered. Over time, I had hundreds of people messaging me personally, telling me the video changed their mind on an abundance of things. I was able to produce content that was socially relevant and at the same time promoted change for the better.

Branding Is Important

Hopefully, now you can see the need for you to be more consistent on social media. However, that doesn’t mean people are going to start caring about what you have to say. This goes into the previous point of making content consumable and shareable. You need to figure out how that applies to you. Find others on social media who have had success with the same messages you are looking to talk about. What types of approaches are they using?

The content needs to feel like social media content. You need to be entertaining and be able to create conversations to be good at social media. You have to adjust based on what people are consuming and their behaviors on social media in order to be heard digitally. But be sure to avoid just throwing facts out or citing certain studies. Use social relevance, add personality and add your unique perspective.

I used to get irritated when my content didn’t do well while what seemed like the most simple videos were going viral. I decided to recreate some of the themes they used and put a message behind it. I started to make my speaking appearances look like vlogs, and people became more enthusiastic about the message.

Solution-Based Content

Too many people just like to point out what’s wrong on social media. We need problem-solvers. There aren’t many people out there offering solutions. There are more and more people simply stating problems.Do you see the issue?

This could be as simple as stating facts. However, as we see in the age of misinformation, facts don’t matter as much anymore. The problem is you shouldn’t make people feel like they’re wrong. You want to direct them to information that allows them to change their mind. Yes, you are proving them wrong. They’ll never admit that, though. The goal isn’t to divide, so let’s bring people together with solutions that educate and empower.

Personal Brand Therapy

You are frustrated with society – I know it. You’re probably also frustrated with social media. I promise you, this will make you feel better. Dealing with people on the internet is the worst (I know firsthand). But imagine taking all of the things that frustrate you and becoming an active participant in change, building your own online movement and amplifying your impact. Don’t feel like you’re above social media. Your voice is needed.

Smart, rational people need to be better at crafting their messages. They need to start using social media better, because that is one way to create change that we are on the verge of losing. It is incredibly important to build a brand, starting TODAY. The algorithms work in favor of those that seek attention. I get frustrated by those who think that they are above social media when they should be the ones speaking up. I don’t mean that they don’t use it. I mean that they aren’t willing to adapt to current social media consumption trends. They want to be actively heard, but they aren’t willing to make the necessary changes to make their content easily consumable and shareable. It’s 2019; user behavior is rapidly changing. The average person doesn’t want to work hard to consume a message. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with branding your messaging so that it gets seen by more people.

One of the biggest problems I see in society today is the branding of people whose messages need to be heard. The irrational and attentionseekers are perfect for social media because they can entertain and create conversations. I constantly hear about how we should break out of our silos, but then we don’t want to adjust in the areas where we can be the most impactful.

If you feel like your voice is needed. it’s time to speak up, but you need to build a brand. You need to understand social media. Realize that you aren’t seeking attention. You are seeking change.

In the next issue of TEQ, I will overview five Ways to Develop a Personal Brand That Won’t Make You Feel Like You’re Selling Your Soul. If you have more questions or want to learn how to get started, feel free to email me – Jordon@NFBD.org

Jordon Rooney is the Founder of NFBD & VlogU. His videos have received 20 million video views and 260k shares. He’s also given over 160 keynotes in 14 states. Reach out to Jordon@NFBD.org to see how he can help you with personal branding, social impact in the digital age, and social media marketing for nonprofits.

Listen to Jordon on TechVibe Radio