Why getting more followers never will make you happy
5 ways to thrive in the attention economy by going vertical
Welcome to the economy of attention. A time where social platforms, apps, bliebs and compulsive screen behaviour eat away our attention. A digital landscape where our survival, happiness and success is increasingly defined by having likes and followers. Where trackers and cookies shape our digital outlook to the world. Where algorithms eat our data by the kilo and spew it back over us with ads that lead the way to life fulfillment.
But we don't need more followers to get more successful, happy, recognized or feel more self-worth. We need to go vertical, not horizontal anymore. Through the revolution of information, we got piled up every day with data. I am sure this is even affecting our brains in some subtle way. For sure it is affecting our ability to focus. When you are drifting away on the sea of data flowing through your attention every day, and you lose the ability to filter and focus, you are lost.
Here is my lifeboat, the survival KIT for the attention economy. 5 tips on how to go vertical and grow your clients organically. As a result, you improve your product and you will get a deeper fulfillment on the go.
Define your core clients or followers
Let's assume you have a business running, or some kind of work, and you need social platforms to reach out to existing or potential new clients.
First define which followers are of value to you, and to whom YOU are actually of value.
Make an actual list. You will probably already have MailChimp lists and if not maybe subcategories in your e-mail server corresponding with items sold, workshops given, books sold, people that attended your offering or bought something from you. Well, this is the most important list you will ever have. These are your core clients. The vertical marketing is all about nurturing exactly these contacts. Horizontal marketing was about getting as many leads and followers as possible because a certain percentage would always buy your product. So fully quantity oriented.
I suggest you make another filter in where you make a list of people from that list that you actually met in real life. This is the gold of your network. Maybe you are already doing newsletters or other forms of mailings to this core group and probably you meet some of these people in real life. I recommend to further engage with them. You gave them value before, they appreciated you and your offering, they are most likely open for more.
The second take away is an attitude that can be trained: FocusFitness. What most people do is getting lost in the social media dopamine cycle that leads to losing the focus and available attention everybody has on a daily basis. This cycle is defined by scanning feeds (scrolling), feeding feeds (content) and fishing from feeds (hoping for likes). This cycle kills our focus.
Personally, the early morning hours are the best for attention and focus fitness. I do my Yoga practice, decide my to-do topics, and give a realistic task to myself to do for example the top 3 things on my list. With full focus and concentration, and very important, without already being sucked into the DOPO cycle (dopamine infused scrolling cycle). Please, guys, stop opening your phone the moment you wake up. You are sucked in right away.
My to-do list sometimes includes responding to messages that I missed before. My focus in my mail management is however now fully on my core valued clients and friends group. The mistake many people make it mixing up most of the social media contacts, diffusing their core group with people that like their posts all the time but are not clients. Remember: billions of people out there are keeping themselves busy with little to non-relevant recycling of content, called sharing, out of the FOMO contraction of just from plain addiction. You don’t want to belong there anymore when your intention is going vertical. Give much more time to one or two core clients, lets say 10–15 minutes, than scrolling and trolling and rolling through virtual non-sense.
Make real-life appointments
What happened with the good old networking? Right, social media Hijacked that too! We mistakenly confused functional real-world networking with social media networking. The latter is inflated to a few posts here and there, to giving away some likes in the hope they get returned. Our messaging to our professional network has followed the trend of minimalist digital communication. Just enough to let you know you still exist. That's not networking. Networking in its core is exchanging value, finding the right matches to make this world a better place. LinkedIn is a network platform, the one that is the most functional oriented. But still, nothing beats the face to face handshake meeting. And to actually schedule a time for real social platforms like doing sports, leisure, clubs, talks, conferences, workshops, parties etc. Places where you potentially can meet new people and strengthening existing connections
When you look back in your life, how many people did you meet in real life that changed the course of your life big time? And how many people you met on social media that had that same impact?
I have none on the latter, many on the first. You? Maybe it helps that I don’t use dating apps.
Never, never call yourself an influencer, even when you are.
21st-century influencers are foremost good in getting and capitalizing followers. But many followers don’t equal quality, integrity or either a good product for that matter.
You can literally buy, bot and trick your way up in digital fakeland
Influencers are the result of going extremely horizontal and giving value to that alone, to numbers, to quantity. This blog is about the opposite. To go for quality alone, every day, on all you do, in all your messaging, content and connections. To become quality, to make your life a piece of art.
Of course, there are influencers out there that deliver quality first and have a massive following. But the funny thing is that the top 5 real successful quality people I know from my circle are not Instagram influencers, they are not even on Instagram.
Because the truth is that people are still buying from people, and in fact, they buy mostly because of the person behind the product, you. This is a subtle mechanism of trust, first impressions and word of mouth. Real life reputation never left the room in fact. What can happen when influencers take over the real world and unite in promoting a big scam you can examine in the Netflix docu Fyre. 30 sexy influencers posted an orange screen about an upcoming not to be missed epic luxury festival in the Bahama’s, and it got sold out in 9 hours. And it was a big scam.
Never trust a social media influencer until you met them in person. Simple
Improve yourself, improve your product
Going vertical is about raising your quality. This is closely connected to who you are as a person. When you have managed to take control back over your attention and are on the way to become a focused Zen master, you will have more and more “free” quality time. My advice is to use this free out of the data-matrix time to actually work on improving your core product. And since probably your presence, character and energy is such a big part of your product, that means also investing in yourself. Book that public speech workshop, the Vipasanna week in that remote Indian monastery, the yoga retreat in Ibiza, the hiking holiday in Norway, the weekly coaching sessions. Time spent on improving yourself and letting go of negative habit patterns is never money lost. And the best thing, on most self-improvement courses and retreats, smartphones are banned. Get yourself a digital detox, at least 2 weeks in a year. Its so worth it.
The Shift in Marketing
I believe there is a shift going on in humanity. The vertical marketing trend is a signal and a result of this awareness. It is an expression of a deeper wish, desire and a need to become more human again, more authentic. In the simplest lessons lie the biggest truths. The Budha said that when you focus fully on each and every single thing you do, and you give as much quality to it as you can, your life will be very fulfilling, and successful. Because that what you bring out there is a mirror of yourself.
The challenge we live in at the moment, is taking back the attention that the attention economy is stealing from us. Because in that economy, attention equals money, and in social media land you are still the product.
Going vertical means nothing more or less than going for quality over quantity. We, humans, thrive best when we are able to make deep real connections to the people around us. When we can stay open and feel, cultivate a coherent mind and express what goes in our bodies in the present moment. When we can focus on one thing and finish what we started. It is sad to observe, but these are exactly the things that social media is taking away from so many of us. Get it back, go vertical, start now!
Lucien Lecarme, May 2019