Episode 135: The State of Online Marketing in 2020: How Did We Get Here

Close your eyes for a minute and think about your first social media account. 

Was it MySpace? Facebook? Twitter? Or another one that isn’t even around any longer?  

When social media rolled out it was a GAME CHANGER. 

I remember my first few posts — totally lame as I look back now, but back then the thought of connecting with friends virtually and sending out ‘status updates’ was novel and exciting. 

I mean, before social media, if you wanted to talk with an audience, there were a few ways to do it and they were all pretty costly. The “old school” ways of doing things included:

  1. Taking out a newspaper ad.
  2. Creating a radio or TV spot.
  3. Renting a venue and hosting an event.
  4. Hosting an event on site.
  5. Buying or building a big email list. (Before social media sending a mass email was REALLY difficult and almost required the IT department because the software was hard to manage.)
  6. Pitching yourself as a speaker and speaking at other people’s events.

I personally have done all those things and I’ll tell you they can get spendy, very time consuming and you’d better hope your message was the right one or it would go down in flames.

So when social media hit the scene, WOW, was it a game changer -— especially for people like you and I who didn’t have big corporate sized budgets to spend on marketing. 

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It’s Time To Make a Choice

Over the years as technology has rapidly advanced social media became more fun, entertaining and valuable. We could add photos, videos and more to our social media, and most of us got hooked on our favorite platforms. 

I know myself, I check social media multiple times a day… because I don’t want to miss anything. 

As business owners, you and I have choices to make about our social media presence. 

We get to choose where we show up.

We get to choose what we share. 

We get to choose the image we want to portray. 

We get to choose how we engage with people. 

The good and bad of social media is that we get to write the story we want people to believe. 

Here’s the deal: you and I get to decide. Are we going to create a real story? Or just share the fairytale version we want people to believe so they buy from us? 

Take a look at how many online business celebrities are struggling with the global Black Lives Matter movement. On Twitter I saw a white Instagram influencer staging a Black Lives Matter photo shoot in the middle of a Manhattan protest with a freakin’ photographer for goodness sake. She wanted to show how with the movement she was — in an ankle-length black wrap dress and her post hashtagged up the ying-yang to sell her outfit, makeup and shoes. 

GROSS. In my opinion that is the WRONG way to use social media. 

Or look at the Kardashians who’ve made a global multi-billion dollar empire based on making their fans and audience feel not good enough so they buy whatever brand they’re selling. 

If you think it’s just relegated to major celebs and insta models hawking makeup, shoes and outfits you’re wrong. 

This same approach to social media is used for everything under the sun — parenting, marriage, dating, diet and weight loss, travel (don’t even get me started on the picture perfect moms) and many of these have one big goal: 

Create a story about how amazingly perfect the influencer is so that their audience buys what they’re selling. 

The Not-So-Picture-Perfect Truth

In the past week I’ve seen a well-known online celebrity Rachel Hollis announce that her story of a perfect marriage, life and business isn’t, in fact, the truth and in fact they’re going through a divorce. 

And look, I’m not here to judge someone else’s marriage. Anyone who has been in a long term relationship knows JUST how hard it is to stay connected over the years. 

The problem? Her entire business and brand — how she makes money — is built around giving people advice about love, marriage and having it all. 

In a Facebook post to her fans, she talked about the fact that it’s been a struggle for at least THREE years. If you go look at the story both of them were sharing on social media, her and her husband painted a picture of a happy couple doing all the right things to make their marriage work in a sexy way. 

So her audience bought books, workshops and more because they wanted what Rachel was showing on social media.

The only thing was… the image was a dressed-up version of reality making people want to buy from her so they, too, could have this amazing marriage and life. 

Look, I don’t know Rachel and I definitely wish her no ill will. Marriage, parenting, running a business is a LOT to juggle. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have it all together. We’ve had marriage problems and parenting problems too — but the difference is I’m not monetizing my marriage and approach to life. 

Now her audience feels lied to and misled because their idol has fallen off her pedestal. 

Toxic Positivity Isn’t the Answer

I tell you this because you and I need to make choices about how we show up, what we monetize and how we frame our stories. 

No, we don’t need to share all the gory details of day-to-day life. But we have a duty to watch out for a big trap I see all the time on social media — toxic positivity. 

Toxic positivity is what makes so many of us feel not good enough… and like we need to buy a product, program or service from an idol.

Toxic positivity happens when an online business celebrity tries to make everything look picture-perfect for the sake of making people want what we’re selling because they don’t feel like they’re as good as the person they idolize.

Listen, I’ve been guilty of idolizing business influencers myself, so this is not to point fingers at anyone at all. 

In fact, by idolizing people AND having their faults exposed, that’s how I was able to finally stop searching for magic fixes to my business problems. 

I realized that no business is built without some work involved and anyone that tries to paint a rosy “It’s as easy buying my $3,000 step by step program” picture isn’t giving you the full story. 

The grass is not greener, the program is not magic and no one is perfect.  

Once you and I realize that how we are — our strengths, our flaws and our messiness — once we realize THAT is what people value instead of a Martha Stewart-picture perfect type business, the better off we’ll be. 

With that in mind, there are a few questions I want you to take away from this to help you gain clarity. 

Are you brave enough to be messy and real? Are you brave enough to do the work to build a business based on truth versus becoming someone who paints the rosiest picture and leaves out the pesky details? 

I hope the answer is yes because your long-term business growth depends on you being real… not a fake version that no one can live up to. 

Create Profit Without Worry – one system at a time. I’ll show you how to attract a steady flow of buyers without all the hustle with this free download →  5 Steps To Profit Without Worry.

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