I want to preface this post by saying a few things:
- I receive a lot of emails each week from people of all kinds of professions who are trying to build their social media following/presence and want to know how I did it.
- My hope with this post is that it will help those who are starting out or struggling in their social media business journey
By the Numbers:
I have about 750,000 social media followers across different platforms with the hopes of hitting 1 Million by the end of 2018.
LinkedIn Connections: 25,000
The Hitting Vault Facebook: 102,000
Softball Rooted Facebook: 117,000
How did I get there?
In early 2013, I came across a guy named Gary Vaynerchuk who was building a social media empire quickly and was sharing his blueprint out via books, etc and I bought a book of his called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. The gist of the book was teaching you how to give a lot of value to people and then after you’ve built relationship and trust with them, that you then begin to market towards to them and that most people out there were doing the opposite. They were trying to sell a product before establishing a reason why they should buy it from you.
Looking back 5 years ago, social media was still in its infancy but I knew deep down it was a wide open opportunity in the world of coaching. There wasn’t a ton of people of there doing it. The first thing I decided was how I wanted my online “identity/personality” to be like and what I would share with the world. The three things I most identified myself with was father/husband, coach and sports fan (particularly baseball).
So I made a commitment to myself. For one year, I’m going to share everything I’ve learned as a coach, father, etc from my mentors and people that spoke into my life these last 35+ years. Anything that I felt would speak to a coach, parent or player that had value, I wanted to share it.
A friend of mine, Amanda Scarborough was on the same journey at the same time and we continually shared ideas on how share value to people. One of the things we both committed to was trying to respond to every single comment someone made. Try to help every single person we could that wanted it whether it was coaching advice, hitting advice, or how to deal with their son/daughter on and off the field.
Slowly but surely it started growing. I studied more and more from people who were crushing it online (like Gary Vee). At the same time, other opportunities were beginning to take place that I didn’t expect. I had several major league baseball players reach out to me that they were following me on social media and wanted to work with me. I was having college baseball and softball coaches (and even a few MLB teams) reach out to me wanting to know my interest in working with them.
Now in 2018, I’m still focused on the same thing. When I share something online, I want it to either help someone in their journey, make them smile or I want it touch their heart like it has touched mine.
For me, the most life giving thing about social media has been the hundreds and hundreds of people that reach out to me telling me how something I shared has helped them or that it resonated with them. There’s nothing I enjoy more than hearing success stories of parents, coaches and players who have implemented something they read off my page and it worked for them.
How can you get there?
The social media landscape is so crowded nowadays, how can you stand out? Here are my tips:
- Find the experts in your field that are active on social media and engage in their conversations.
- Don’t try to sell anything for a while. Share value. Give something. Contribute.
- Engage: Anyone who wants to engage with you (thats being respectful) engage back and I mean everyone!
- Most importantly. Build relationship. Relationship is the key to all of it. It trumps everything else. I am much more likely to buy something from you or use you for a service if I trust you and have a relationship with you.
- Be Patient. It’s going to take time. You’re not going to gain 100,000 followers in a week unless something crazy happens to you.
- It’s a lot of work. For the first 3+ years, I spent over 8 hours a day on social media strategy, planning and work. Sometimes 12+ hours a day. Even now, I spend at least 1-2 hours a day (usually late at night) on it. Most people think they can spend an hour a day on building it and after a few months want results. Like anything else in life, it doesn’t work that way.
- Poor money management and poor time management will kill your dreams really fast. We did the Dave Ramsey plan for a few years and it was one of the best decisions of our life. Each night before I went to bed, I planned out all my social media strategy and time for the next day.
- Most importantly, be authentic and transparent. If you follow me, you know I share more than I probably should. You know I was homeless in 2010 and again at the end of 2012. You know how difficult my journey as a father, husband, and coach has been and how many tough lessons I’ve had to learn along the way. People want to see and know the real you. Share it with them. They will be more willing to trust you and they become a part of your journey helping you along the way.
I can’t tell you enough how thankful I am for my social media journey of the last 5 years. How thankful I am for all the people who have followed along in my journey and have encouraged me along the way. I am truly blessed to have the platform I have to share things close to my heart with everyone. Lastly, thank you to Facebook and Twitter. You were the vehicle I was able to use to chase down my dreams.
Lastly, I want to leave you with this quote from Gary Vee that I’ve held onto the last 5 years and I think will help you decide on if you really want to dig into what it takes to live out your passion online.
Live your passion. What does that mean, anyway? It means that when you get up for work every morning, every single morning, you are pumped because you get to talk about or work with or do the thing that interests you the most in the world. You don’t live for vacations because you don’t need a break from what you’re doing—working, playing, and relaxing are one and the same. You don’t even pay attention to how many hours you’re working because to you, it’s not really work. You’re making money, but you’d do whatever it is you’re doing for free.