The more I'm learning about social media and marketing, the more I'm realizing it's actually pretty hard. There are strategies behind these things---in fact, people have full-time jobs dedicated to this. Regularly posting on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is a given, but they are not (and should not) be the only tools you're using to promote yourself.
Whether you're a pageant girl, an upcoming musician or a recent graduate, marketing yourself is a must. Think about it: there are thousands of people competing for the same exact opportunities as you. What sets you apart? You don't need a ton of time or money to get started; here are 7 things you can do right now to promote yourself and your brand.
1) Buy your domain name
I know you've thought about it; so just do it already! Because even if you don't need one right now, you will eventually need your own domain name as you and your brand grow. You want to control what your potential employers, pageant judges, fans, customers and/or Tinder dates see when they look you up. Owning your www.FirstNameLastName.com is professional, cheap and if you want to be taken seriously, non-negotiable. On a similar note, you better not be using that cringe-worthy email address from the 5th grade: FirstNameLastName@Gmail.com. Do it. Now.
2) Verify your Facebook page
Because nothing says "official" like Facebook. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need thousands of followers to utilize this feature and the process is actually a lot easier than it sounds. The little blue badge will send your page to the top of search queries and your followers will know that this page is a) really you and b) the best place to find accurate and regular updates.
3) Order business cards
You're booking gigs and appearances: great!---but you're not done yet. Make those new contacts count by distributing business cards with your social media info, email, and of course, that new domain name. I would refrain from plastering your personal cell phone number on material you're distributing to strangers (learned that the hard way). But if you must, opt for a Google Voice number or another app with talking and texting capabilities.
You don't need to be a graphic designer to create awesome, professional-looking business cards. Vistaprint has a ton of templates that you can easily customize to fit your brand in minutes. Plus, here's 30% off and free shipping on orders of $25 or more.
4) Help A Reporter Out
You're an expert on something---being a millennial, being a student, your favorite places to eat in the city. Maybe you have a degree in communications. Maybe you have a neat hobby. Chances are, you can help a reporter out. Helpareporterout.com will send you daily requests from journalists seeking quotes, examples and ideas from experts on a variety of topics (that you can customize). By sharing your knowledge and opinions, you gain valuable media coverage which creates greater viability for you and your brand.
5) Find Ways to Get Involved In Your Community
Platforms aren't just for pageant girls---we should all stand for something. A quick search on www.volunteermatch.org can show you ways to get involved in your community that align with your interests and utilize your unique skill sets. In addition to making a difference, volunteering will introduce you to other like-minded individuals in your community that share similar goals, provide you with valuable experience and enhance any resume.
6) Reach out to a local musician/titleholder/blogger/etc.
By supporting other entertainers, titleholders or individuals in your region, you're creating an opportunity to exchange gigs, appearances and ideas with eachother. Retweet one of their tweets! Share (and tag) their post on Facebook! Feature them on your blog! Even better---send them a good old-fashioned email to introduce yourself and let them know you dig what they're doing.
7)Go Live on Facebook
Record a quick song cover. Answer fan questions. Give a quick update on your journey. When I'm mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, I'll only give most posts a quick glance. However, I'll stop scrolling for a live video---especially if it is accompanied by an intriguing caption. Plus, when you go live, all of your Facebook followers receive a notification. So, if you haven't posted in a while, it's a great way to say "hey guys, I'm still here!".
*Bonus*: Create Your Own Hashtag
Like avocado toast, wedding hashtags will go down as one of my generation's quintessential cultural contributions. They're trendy, often funny and memorable, and create a sense of unity across social media platforms and guests---it's brilliant. Come up with your own unique tag to link all of your posts together and encourage interaction among your network. Hint: keep it short & sweet.
Do you know someone who would benefit from these quick tips? Feel free to share using the links below and be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for weekly blog posts and updates. Do you have an article idea? Want to collaborate? Shoot me an email.