The Reality TV Secret

I want to talk to you about the first step on the road to becoming an influencer. And it's not as hard as people think. It's something that anybody can pretty much do. I think part of the problem is when we're looking at some influencers now, we're seeing everything very well presented and perfectly edited. It's really almost like there's this production feel to it.

If you watch a YouTube channel, it might look like almost like it was professionally edited not to mention any of the promos, posts, or ads on Facebook with some of these influencers. And it does seem extremely intimidating, especially when you're starting out. You're only going to be able to get your own team of photographers and videographers if you're willing to go broke. And so you're wondering, "how am I going to do that? How do I get to that point?" Well, remember those people didn't start there. But if you think about any kind of a reality show and people who become famous through reality TV, what are they doing?

Sure, maybe it's highly edited and highly produced, but reality TV didn't actually start that way. For the most part, it's also just very real, very in the moment. Think about The Real Housewives and what takes place on the show. Some reality shows may be scripted but the reality is they're usually only loosely planned, and often change based on what actually happens in the moment. I know this to be true from firsthand discussions with a producer who pitched me to be on his reality show when I was a shoe and handbag designer.

The first step to becoming an influencer is documenting your life in very much the same way. That's all that there is to it. You might say, "I don't have a very interesting life. I don't have anything to document." If you look at any of the reality shows on TV, many are just based on basic premises. There's nothing outrageous about them. Sure, there are some. But for many... it's just following those people in their daily life, in their homes, at dinners, on vacations. And those people have personalities that are turned up a little bit. So really what you need to start doing is showing your life. 

If you have a business you're trying to promote online, if all you're ever doing is talking about the business, people won't get to know you. You need to start documenting your life. And you do that by just showing where you're going and what you're doing. I mean, if again, you look at reality shows and look at the Kardashians, they're just doing basic things. Yes, I know. They're all beautiful. Yes, I know that Kim Kardashian's father represented OJ Simpson and then Kim had a s*x tape. So there was some fame there. But if you just look at their show, they're doing regular things. Something they actually did on the show is something I ended up doing before I even saw the show. They went to this place called the Rage Room, which I had been to which is fun, but it's just a normal thing you might do with friends. You see them in the grocery store sometimes on that show. You see them at home just hanging out, not really doing much, and just chatting. You see them at family events. It's nothing necessarily epic. They're not always doing higly dramatic, life changing episodes. Some of it is actually mundane, but their personalities make it entertaining.

And same with The Real Housewives where they're maybe occasionally traveling in Paris or Italy. They're not always doing these crazy escapades though, they're often just in their normal home environment being themselves. And because they have a little panache to them or they have a little drama to them, it definitely equates to what reality TV is. So you have to think of your Facebook profile as your own little reality TV channel.

It's your reality TV show. For me, it's the Tarla Show or the T Show, as I prefer to say. For you, it's the "Your Name" Show. So you're literally documenting everything on there when it comes to Facebook lives. You can even put up pre-recorded videos or share posts, but it's just what's happening in your day. Maybe your niece said something hilarious or embarrassed you in front of a crowd of a hundred people. Or maybe your boyfriend or your dog did something funny. It's just documenting what's happening moment to moment. And over time, when you start doing that, you develop your persona online.

What I mean by that is it's still you, but you start figuring out, what part are you you want to represent online. If there's a part that you want to focus on more, maybe more than others. Maybe there's a religious aspect to you or you have a hobby where you're obsessed with flowers. You shouldn't focus on negative things, unless there's a story behind them and you're sharing a struggle that can help empower other people. Whatever it is, when you start documenting and just sharing on Facebook what happens is that over time, you'll start to see a pattern and you'll develop your own style. And then you'll see, "oh, I should post more about my dogs because I talk about them a lot."

Maybe dogs will be something that's part of one of the things you talk about on a regular basis. If you see my profile, you see I talk about my dogs. And I'm always doing live videos on the beach. I talk about the beach a lot too. I live by the beach. I grew up in California. That's a huge part of my life. So that's one of the things you'll consistently see as part of my documenting my life. You'll see me going to the beach, on my beach walks, posting beach pictures. Because that's actually what I do in real life. So it's literally as simple as documenting your life.

You just have to remember the influencers you see with hundreds of thousands or even millions of people following them, they didn't start off with a production crew behind them. At least most of them didn't, unless they come from wealthy families or are backed by VCs. But they really didn't. They started off with not much going on. And as they grew into more of an influencer, they started hiring staff and videographers and photographers. But that you don't need expensive equipment. You don't need all these fancy things to start. You just need your iPhone or whatever phone you use or your laptop, but preferably your iPhone. Because you want to be out and about and just document what you're doing. Like I said, if something funny happens, if it's something educational for the audience, or if it's just letting people into your life and just seeing what you do, that's enough.

For me, I do the beach videos because sometimes I take it for granted. I realize there aren't a lot of people necessarily that maybe live by the beach. A lot of people they've seen the beach a few times in their lives, which is hard for me to believe because I'm so used to it. And so I think, "oh, it's a little piece of me to share with other people who maybe aren't as lucky as I am to live right by the beach." And so they get to see the beach with me as I'm walking. It's a little gift to them while sharing who I am.

So that's the first step. You document your life through social media. You let people in. You let them get to know you. Remember, you're trying to become a BFF to the people who are on your page, their virtual BFF, right? They want to feel - especially if you're a woman - they want to feel like you're a girlfriend. Like they could have a glass of wine with you. They could sit on a couch with you and chat, hang out with you, and would just love you. And so in order to do that, people need to get to know you and this is why you document your life.

And the right people will find you because they're going to have similar interests, values, and beliefs that are going to draw them to you. So just start documenting your life and slowly, but surely you'll notice patterns of things that you tend to show. If you go back and you look, it all starts to make sense. And you'll realize the things that you need to focus on more. Some of those you may not want to focus on and realize it's not the image you want to portray, but remember this is about real life. Reality shows are very popular for a reason. It's real life. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

When I was teaching Pilates a few years ago, one of my Pilates clients told me about this TV show show called Naked and Afraid. It sounds crazy if you haven't heard of it, but it's almost like a naked version of Survivor. When I first started watching the show, I was paying attention to the production. Because I was a Film major, I'm always looking at production value. Sure it was out in the middle of nowhere but so was Survivor. And Survivor does have some production to it, even though it's a reality show because it's huge now and has been on air for years.

And so when I first started watching this other show, I was like, "I don't know. I don't really like the production aspect." That's the first thing I said. But then the more I watched the episodes, I got into it, because you see these people struggling with no clothes on, trying to surviving in the jungle for three weeks. I got invested in their stories. And I didn't really care about the production after that. And it's the same thing with social media. It's also accepted and almost valued more if things aren't overproduced, because people want to see the real you. That's why Facebook lives are popular, and people watch them because you're just literally sitting in your living room, kitchen, or bedroom talking. You might have on very little makeup just like you were chatting with a friend. People like that. It's more relatable. So always remember that.

Even though it's nice to see high production value, it's not necessarily always the most relatable especially when you're trying to build an audience and attract people to you. People aren't going to relate to things that are so perfect. Would you relate better to the Stepford Wife walking down the street? She's prim and proper. She doesn't have a hair out of place. Her handbag is perfectly placed on her arm. Or would you relate to the girl who's a bit disheveled, slumped over, has her handbag falling down her arm, and is trying to walk 5 unruly dogs? I'll be honest. The latter is more me. When I walk out the door, I'm not perfectly put together all the time. I'm more like, "oh my God, where are my keys?" I'm running late and trying to grab a bite on my way out the door as I let my hair air dry.

That's real life. That's what you want to portray on social media. You want to portray YOUR real life. So you document your everyday life, and it's as simple as that. You just have to have patience. You're not going do this, and all of a sudden, in two days be Insta famous. This is a process that takes months and really years to cultivate. A lot of influencers have been doing this for at least 3-5 years, sometimes up to 10. 

But keep with it, and you will see a true, genuine following develop - one as real as your real life.

Want to document your life on social media? Pick up my book The Essential Guide To Your First Month Of Online Marketing and get seen on social media!

Do you document your life on social media?

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