It’s not easy being cheesey, even less easy being yourself in a world full of perfectly posed photographs, video editing and status updates so manufactured that they could be American cheese slices.
The delicious irony is that in a world where we have more ways to connect with other human beings than at any other time in history, we are craving genuine, authentic connection and we’re not getting it.
It’s one of the first things I try to instill in my real estate clients when I’m training them in Facebook marketing – be authentic.
Invariably the question always comes up, “Should I do/say/be X?”
The answer, at least from me, is always “Be yourself, be true to you. You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but you’re not here to work for everyone. You have limited time and limited energy, so work with the people who will genuinely connect with who you truly are.”
So it was a massive reality check for myself as I started my own “public figure” Facebook page back in May. It may seem a little odd that I didn’t have a “Public Figure” page before now and that’s a fair statement. The reason lies in my love of being the ninja behind the scenes and is no doubt, heavily influenced, by my two decade long battle with PTSD.
But sometimes in life, things happen that change the status quo. In my case, its a chronic illness (afflicting my sister) that requires a hell of a lot of money to treat. The best way for me to help, is to hold training workshops where all the funds are donated to help fund medical treatment.
This also line up perfectly with my intrinsic belief that Facebook marketing is the way of the future for Real Estate – in fact, agents who learn to master it will thrive without the need to rely on the portals.
So out from the shadows I stepped, taking off my ninja mask and changing it up for the professionally polished image of a “Facebook marketer.” This image, was based off what I had seen was the common image presented by every Facebook “guru” in my feed.
For a week, it sat like that – my about/story/profile description and images all an imitation of what was out in the market place and a poor imitation at that. Its just not who I am.
I am not polished or hardcore, cookie cutter professional in the old-school IBM Salesman kinda way. Nor am I polished and well rehearsed in the snake oil salesman pitching his wares kind of way.
I’m raw, authentic and rough around the edges. That has nothing to do with my ability to get results or the effectiveness of my marketing (Hell I’m one of only a handful of Facebook certified marketers in the country and the only one I know of specializing in real estate) – but it has everything to do with how I should be interacting with my target market.
I had fallen into the trap that most of my clients fall into. I had completely ignored my own training and my own wisdom on the subject and started out trying to “be a Facebook marketer” instead of being me.
For a week, my stomach churned and I felt anxious and out of sorts about my page. I couldn’t put my finger on it, not until I was doing school run late last week and it hit me like a bolt of lightening. I suddenly knew why I felt so horrible about coming out from the shadows and removing my ninja mask. I wasn’t being me.
I’m the guy you’re most likely to catch wearing a LIVIN T-shirt instead of a suit. (LIVIN is an amazing non-profit dedicated to breaking down the social stigma about mental health issues and spreading the message “It ain’t weak to speak.”)
I immediately made changes to my page that weren’t inline with the image of how a FB Marketing professional should appear, but are far more in line with who I am. The last thing to update is the profile image. As much as I love the black and white professional photograph, its not who I am. It’s the American cheese slice version of who I am.
Besides, I’m not wearing a LIVIN T-shirt and that’s pretty much all I wear these days!
When it comes to your own marketing, don’t try to be someone you’re not, don’t try to fit a mold or an image. Just be you and know that anyone who doesn’t like that, was never destined to be one of your people anyway. I can say that now, with an even greater understanding of just how damned hard it is to stay true to you – but no matter how hard it is, do it anyway.
It’s like that internet meme says “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde