I recently signed up to newsle, a site that crawls the web for “news” or online mentions of you and your FaceBook plus LinkedIn contacts. On your homepage you will see a little box “Your Most Famous Friends.” I wasn't at all surprised that WPBeginner founder, Syed Balkhi and Co-founder of Rotten Tomato, Patrick Lee made it to the list, as online entrepreneurs generally appear high on search engine results but my public relations colleagues (primarily those in community engagement roles) totally kicked the butts of my celebrity friends, including Asian pop sensation JJ Lin who has a 616K following on FaceBook alone, in spite of a FaceBook ban in China! Since newsle is in its beta stage, I'm sure this is an algorithm issue that will soon be sorted out. However, it got me thinking about fame in the age of new media and how it is within reach of anyone.
How to Get Famous via Social Media
Find Something You're Passionate About
7 years ago, a 19 year old Scottish boy had a dream of making a difference, and from his bedroom, Mashable was born. Social media requires a massive time commitment over an extended period of time, so unless you are passionate about your chosen field of interest, becoming a social media celebrity is simply not sustainable.
Create a Social Media Presence
5 years ago, a 12 year old teenager uploaded a YouTube video of his music that was discovered by former marketing executive, Scooter Braun a year later and became one of the most influential musician of today. If Justin Bieber did not create a YouTube account he will probably still be in a Canada high school, unknown to the world. Whether you choose to blog, vblog or simply create YouTube videos, you need to start your social media presence and upload original content.
Philology is a field so obscure, it even looks boring. However, sex sells and Marina Orlova maximised that knowledge to her advantage by creating a sexy school teacher persona for her YouTube channel and webpage HotForWords. While sex appeal is not appropriate for many niches, a strong positioning of your product (YOU) is essential to create your unique selling point. Could it be humour or a gap within a niche that has yet to be exposed? Pick up a book on marketing and start your competitors research on existing social media sites.
Create Strong Content That Will Go Viral
Following the footsteps of Bieber, PSY's YouTube video Gangnam Style, went viral and the K-pop singer was offered a record deal with Scooter Braun. In the world of social media, content is king, so thrive to be the best in your chosen specialisation, because fluff will get you nowhere in this business.
Also, it's important to note that PSY, Gotye, Marie Digby and Carly Rae Jepsen all had existing record deals prior to their YouTube clips going viral. Social media merely turned already talented and awesome but lesser known artists into overnight sensations.
Be Proactive with Social Media
Back to my observations on newsle. The common trait between my list of “Famous Friends” as selected by newsle is their regular use of social media. In Syed's case, his regular content generation for blogs WPBeginner and List25, alongside SEO tricks such a Google+ plugin on WPBeginner, generates a massive online trail of information. After Pat sold his shares in Rotten Tomato, he actively engages with users of his next venture AliveNotDead, an online community for artists, via blog comments. For the rest of my public relations and community engagement colleagues, well, they tweet, facebook, pin, google and blog for a living. One of the keys to being famous, I guess is having your name pop up everywhere, so find something you're passionate about and start building your online presence today. Who knows, you might be the next social media celebrity!