With more than 7 YouTube million subscribers, her own L’Oreal line, and a growing e-commerce beauty startup, hair-and-makeup guru Michelle Phan is one of the most successful YouTubers ever.
But getting to the top was no easy task. Phan told Re/code that she was once rejected from a job at a Lancome makeup counter because she had no sales experience, and she and her family lived on food stamps for a period of time.
Phan recently released a book called “Make Up: Your Life Guide to Beauty, Style and Success — Online and Off.” In it, she tells the story of how she turned makeup tutorials into a full-blown media empire.
Her book also offers some advice for establishing a solid social media presence.
1. Choose a platform.
Phan says it’s a good idea to continue using the platforms you already use to communicate with friends and family, then develop a presence on the platforms that are most frequented by your target audience.
If you’re starting a blog, text-heavy formats like Twitter are a good place to start, while photographers should go for a medium that prioritizes visual content, like Instagram.
“Don’t feel you need to go with the most popular platform,” she writes. “Pick the one that has the strongest community that will support your vision.”
2. Claim your name, and keep it consistent.
It’s important to create a profile on a platform that’s just starting to become more popular.
“Social media is an ever-changing world,” Phan writes. “You want to be ready if a certain platform becomes red-hot, and you don’t want someone else taking your company name as his or her handle. That does happen!”
Make sure you have the same name across all of the platforms you use — it’s essential for defining your brand.
3. Create content that’s new and fresh.
Interesting, diverse content is the most important part of amassing a follower base. Pick a topic and become an expert at it.
“You need interesting content that entertains or informs — preferably both,” she writes. “You want people to look forward to your posts and come back for more. People want to follow you. They want to hear your words and see your vision.”
4. Make a schedule.
Becoming a social media guru does involve a significant time commitment. Sticking to a schedule, or posting different kinds of content on different days, will help you avoid annoying your followers.
“You need to carve out time (preferably daily) to monitor and update. This is why it’s best to focus on one or two platforms and commit to doing them well,” Phan writes. “Robust activity on one site is so much better than halfhearted activity on multiple sites.”
5. Engage with your followers.
Picking the right people to follow can give you a big advantage.
According to Phan, “part of having a social media strategy is being smart about whom you follow. Ask yourself who is important to your company or brand. Figure out who needs to know you exist.”
And once they know you exist, be sure to interact with them.
“That old saying ‘If you build it, they will come’ doesn’t apply to social media,” she writes. “You need to be, well, social, and put out that virtual welcome mat.”