Post by Adi Englander
In the current business ecosystem, one of the single most vital things a brand leader can do is learn to harness the immense and near immeasurable power of social media. This is the key to nurturing an idea and transforming it into a legitimate brand.
Social media provides entrepreneurs with boundless opportunities to reach, engage, and convert new audiences into devout customers; just ask those who have already figured out how to capitalize on social media’s influence and impact.
In fact, I’ll save you the trouble of asking folks; I did it myself and will present a couple real-world examples of how social can make or break a business.
These tales, while noteworthy, are not out of the ordinary. This type of social success is something that many have achieved; and with a bit of guidance and a lot of hard work, you can do the same.
Take a look at how everyday people are leveraging social media to engender meaningful results.
Using E-Learning and Social to Escape the 9 to 5
Sally Hendrick spent most of her life as an actuary; 25 years in total.
If you aren’t aware, an actuary is, “…a person who compiles and analyzes statistics and uses them to calculate insurance risks and premiums.”
It should be obvious that Sally’s job wasn’t very glamorous and didn’t provide much room for creative expression; the lack of a creative outlet is what drove Sally to look for a new path in life.
In the process of transforming her career, Sally hired a fitness coach; this person was making a living through Facebook.
Sally found herself insanely inspired by her coach and ended up becoming a fitness coach in her own right; but it was the Facebook marketing that really ignited something inside of her.
As a new fitness guru, Sally started to market her business using social media; mainly Facebook. She experimented with different ad formats, refined targeting features, enabled twitter automation tools, and used various other ways to build her following and revenues.
At some point, Sally started to realize that people were making a lot of money teaching people how to do the exact thing she was doing for her own business; leveraging social media marketing.
That’s when Kajabi “fell into her lap.” Kajabi is an e-learning platform where entrepreneurs can create online courses to sell to their followers. The tool features various marketing, selling, and upselling elements and also allows for users to craft customizable, search-engine-accessible websites.
This was the catalyst that helped everything click into place for Sally.
From there, she began creating courses on social media marketing where she imparted her knowledge on leveraging features like custom and lookalike audiences, segmentation practices, Facebook pixel usage, and a bevy of other impactful social advertising features.
Sally still puts all of her social media marketing expertise to use to help promote her curriculum to audiences across the world.
Through the use of social media advertising and platforms like Kajabi, Sally was able to leave her job as an actuary and go fulltime as a social media marketing teacher – effectively creating a brand new, thriving business brimming with creative expression and autonomy.
Social Media Plus Webinars Equals a Smashing Success
Some of you might recognize the name Lewis Howes. He’s a former professional Arena League football player, a former member of the U.S. Olympic handball team, a top 100 podcaster on iTunes, and a social media dynamo.
But things haven’t always been so great for Lewis.
Lewis’ childhood was challenging. As a kid growing up in Ohio, he was depressed, functionally illiterate, and struggled with the examples set by his siblings; one of whom was in jail and the other an alcoholic.
Lewis’ experience at school was just as trying and he was placed in special education classes.
Knowing that academics wasn’t his strong suit, Lewis turned to football as his best chance for success. He went on to play professionally for Arena League football; making all of $250 per week.
But in 2007, Howes broke his wrist and ultimately benched his career. Since Lewis was still broke, he moved in with his sister in Ohio and went through physical rehabilitation for more than a year.
Lewis had few resources or professional skills, and he was facing oppressive circumstances in the form of the 2008 recession.
All of this fueled Lewis to spend his time online bettering himself in a variety of ways; he learned to read well, pursued personal growth tactics, and sought a business model that could help him get back on his feet.
Then a mentor recommended that he try out LinkedIn. Lewis was instantly hooked.
He would spend the majority of his waking hours on the platform learning to optimize its offerings. Eventually Lewis launched a LinkedIn group that exploded to over 10,000 members within a year.
That’s when people started reaching out to Lewis with offers for him to coach them or to build a business of his own based on his social expertise.
Eventually, Lewis got invited to be a guest on one of Joel Comm’s webinars. This sparked something inside of him.
Lewis became consumed by creating and selling educational materials in the form of webinars.
Webinar platforms which supply users with an array of features like screen sharing options, whiteboard elements, custom email invitations, polls, surveys, data analytics, and loads more useful tools – became Lewis’ main focus.
In the first year of his new focus, Lewis’ brand earned $1 million. Over the next two years, he would more than double that with $2.5 million grossed.
Today, Lewis has held over 750 webinars and has built his business into a massive success; all thanks to a persevering spirit, a healthy dose of ingenuity, and super savvy ways of using social media.
When social media is leveraged in conjunction with powerful tools like e-learning platforms or webinar providers, a prosperous brand can emerge from almost nothing. This is the new version of the American Dream, and it’s attainable for anyone with a great idea, a dedicated work ethic, and the knowledge of how to leverage social media as the foundation for a successful brand.Adi Englander is a freelance writer and social media expert who writes for Gerris digital, a full-service digital strategy firm in the Washington, DC, area.