It’s undeniable that the past week has been all about Charlie Sheen. Whether you think he’s an erratic nut or a manipulative genius, you simply can’t deny his solid use of digital media to leverage his own voice. Able to control his agenda without edits or pesky interviewers, Sheen broke Guinness Book records by obtaining a huge number of fans and then built off that by using U-Stream to give both an inside look at strategy sessions and launch tirades against his former employers. In looking at it all, there are some hot social media lessons to learn from Team Sheen that I’d love to see more of our demographic use to reach a payday later as well.
It’s no secret that we out-index in terms of social media frequency and that our demographic is growing while that of the mainstream is shrinking. So I say it’s time to use such statistics in your favor not just to communicate between your friends but to create a real and defined personal brand that can lead to greater and greater power in the long-term.
You may have a lot of followers/friends; but the growing question is, what are you actually doing with them. How do you both benefit each other in larger terms? How much of an influencer are you? What do you stand for? We’re living in the age of digital notoriety and anonymity no longer works in the era of digital capital. We have a built-in active demographic, particularly on Twitter so it’s time for more of us to put that into play, particularly the younger demo.
You may want to begin to think about either what you know that you can teach or what part of your personality is so compelling that others will gravitate toward it and watch it and pass that video link to friends. Is is beauty tips and tricks? Is it comedy? Marketing? Medicine? Trend/fashion reporting?
Thank God much of the dreaded gate-keeper has been cut out so we have less of a reason for being shut out. Let’s use that avenue because if the numbers are there behind you, business magic can happen. I’ve seen a guy who really has no physical appeal talking about wine and football go from no views to thousands upon thousands of views to book deals to satellite radio to now consulting for wine selections for a restaurant. I’d like to tell these stories about young people of color. So here’s what’s needed to at least get started and then to persistently build:
1) on-line video – post early, post often. I’m an advocate of your own site/blog so that data can be captured but also channels on the top 5 video sites from Vimeo to YouTube to Metacafe should be worked in. Look at the metrics and see which ones people really checked for and which ones they didn’t. Repeat what works but keep stretching
2) Twitter – is your handle listed somehow within the on-line video so that you increase your followers? Are you giving your followers both insight into your world and information that helps them in a real way that speaks to the personal brand you’re building. If not, you’re missing vital Retweets and List inclusions. Think broader.
3) Comments – here’s one of my favorites. If you have an on-line video or blog post relevant to some larger topic, by chance, include a link to it within your larger interesting comment on whatever news or entertainment site you happen to be reading. People read the comment section, especially if it’s a heated topic. Many a link could come from that, and it creates further exposure for your personal brand.
There are many more methods but this is just a beginning. You don’t need to have a full on mansion, Good Morning America coverage and the Goddesses to succeed like Sheen (though I guess all that wouldn’t hurt); but you can use what you have; and chances are, that’s a lot. Create a solid digital footprint as early as you can. Look at it as an investment in your future.
Lauren DeLisa Coleman is a writer, host and thought-leader specializing in the diverse segment of the Gen Y demo, tech and its convergence with socio-economic concerns. She is also the CEO and founder of Punch Media Group, an edgy digital media and entertainment company which develops pop culture experience and branding strategy across digital platforms. Follow her @mediaempress