10 tips to get famous on the internet, because isn't that what you really want?
...oh, and to provide value to your followers, of course.

When it comes to entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, or just about anyone else—and I work with a lot of the latter—it's clear that more than anything, they just want to be heard. We all do. Whether its others hearing our ideas and expounding upon them, hearing about your new project, TV show, On Air Hangout, product, or company, or just hearing about the whack job that wronged you while on line at the local Starbuck's this morning—we all want to be heard.

BUT...

The internet, Web 2.0, social media, micro-blogs, sharing networks, Web 3.0, future tense networks are not just about you being heard. You can't just paint your logo on the side of the tallest building downtown and assume that people will start building alters in front of it. Social media, or whatever buzz term you want to use today, is and always has been a 2-way conversation.

You know that every internet guru out there has said that a million times, but are you actually heeding to the message, or just waiting for your turn to shout, Me! Me!?

The Me! Me! Me! Generation
When social first started on the internet, people, brands, and even faceless entities (spam brands with an army of "social media assistants" in India) played along with the whole "join the conversation" mantra. But, at some point, a few people forget the reason they were building communities in the first place and went back to the mass-media equivalent of dropping pamphlets from helicopters onto unsuspecting passersby and calling it a conversation. That's just a bombardment on mine and everyone else's personal space—not to mention a nasty way to get a paper cut.

So, how can you raise awareness about you, your projects, your business, or your goals without playing into the selfish Me! Me! Me! mindset of the social mainstream.

How are you supposed to become an internet celebrity without coming off as a sleazy self-promoter?

Here are 10 tried and true techniques that have worked well for me and those I trust and respect when it comes to saying all the right things, patting all the right backs, giving your voice more reach, and providing value.

You want to get famous on the web, huh? Start here.

Create cool content all the time
Take pictures. Write blogs. Status update, status update, status update. Make videos. Record your voice. Creating consistent content means that your message, opinion, product, personality goes out in front of your audience all the time. The best way to get people to help you is by showing them who you are and how they can be a part of it.

If I have to choose between an artist that updates her website once a month vs. an artist that blogs, posts, shares, and picture journals three times a day—I go with the later. I feel like I know her better through the content she is consistently creating. People hire, promote and associate with people they know and like. Create cool content that shows the world what you're all about. Google+, social media, and the blogosphere in general are all about getting to know the people behind the logo. Create content that tells us just that.

Push Other People's Stuff - POPS
People love to be complimented. In the online world the best way for you to compliment them is by promoting or sharing their online efforts. Did you read something that you liked? +1 it. Write a response blog post on your blog about it. Bookmark it or share it on Google+ with your added commentary. If you promote things that you find valuable, chances are others will too. And what's better, you're creating goodwill with the people who originally created the content you're now sharing. They look good to their community and you look good to yours for sharing something of value. Being a thought-leader is not just about having good ideas, it's also about being able to spot other great ideas and open them up to a new audience.

Listen. Encourage. Share.
There are a lot of people out there saying things. What are they saying? Listen closely and you'll find out. Google+ makes listening easy. Anytime someone circles you see if they have a blog. If they do, try and actually read a few posts. Make a comment, sharing your opinions on the post’s content. Now, create a Circle titled Guru, Marketing, Austin Friends, Celebs I Want to Punch, etc. and place these people in the appropriate Circle.

Every morning, scroll through each Circles' posts and if anything jumps out at you, read it and comment on it. You don’t have to read every post, every day. No one has time for that. But, you can easily read fifty or a hundred and comment on the ones you feel you have the most to contribute to. Try playing with the volume controls on each of your Circles to get a better stream of relevant content each time you login. People like to see that their content is being seen. Commenting is a great way to encourage people to continue creating the content they want to create. Provide others with encouragement and they will do the same for you. It's difficult to create something new every day. Reward others with a +1 when you see value.

Call Yourself What You Want To Be
This goes back to the old adage, “Don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.” In the online world and well, in reality too, people know you by the way you portray yourself. You, obviously, don’t want to go around pulling a George Costanza and claiming to be an architect if you're not an architect. But, it's very easy to start calling yourself a blogger or a writer or a filmmaker, etc. Just because you haven’t hit your tipping point or you're still learning doesn’t mean you can’t start calling yourself the thing you want to be. Start introducing yourself online and in the real world as the person you want to be. Put it front and center on your Google+ profile. You’ll be amazed at how much faster you become that person once others believe it to be true.

Have Some Fun
Just because you’re trying to run a business and appear professional doesn’t mean you can’t show a little personality. I used to struggle with this a lot. I thought I had to project a professional level of success all the time for people to take me seriously. Then, one day, I said, Screw that! and I started saying whatever I wanted and guess what? The opportunities available to me increased exponentially. _And_—they were opportunities that were actually appealing to me.

Being professional and being dull are not the same thing. Let people know who you are. Be yourself. Talk some trash. Curse from time to time, if you're someone that curses. People like to see that you’re real. Do you like going to Britney Spears concerts and getting trashed on Mojitos? Who doesn't!? (wait...what...that might be a bad example) Share pictures with us. Don’t hide the person you really are. When you hide who you are, you end up with clients and friends that you have to pretend around. By being yourself all the time, you can be certain that when you do get new opportunities, they're going to appeal to the passion inside you. And if you're not passionate, what's the point?

Be Transparent. Be Honest. Be Yourself. Be Cool, man.
I can’t harp on this more, but being yourself is so important. People are instinctively drawn to honesty and things that are real. Just because you have flaws doesn't mean you're a flawed person or unworthy of stardom. It means that you're just like everyone else in the world and not perfect. People like knowing that you’re not perfect. It makes them feel good about themselves for not being perfect. You can be not perfect together and really make something happen. It's our imperfections that give us character. Embrace them.

Start Asking Why
It used to be the question to ask before posting to your favorite social media site was, What are you doing? Answering this question 25 times a day used to be a decent way to stay in front of people. But now that's what everyone is doing, and if you're posting inconsequential messages, you're just going to be filtered out with the rest of the noise.

Instead, start asking yourself, Why am I doing what I'm doing, right now? and use that as the basis for what you're posting to your blog, Google+, or wherever you frequent online. Use your status updates to ask questions and open up the conversation. Do you want to be hired for some position? Tell your online community about it through your Google+ status and ask for their help. Do you want to get a book deal? Ask others in the know how they achieved the very goal you've created for yourself. Every status message allows someone to get to know you better. It puts your personal brand in front of their face. People can only help you if they know what you need help with. Let them know and then reciprocate the favor.

But, provide value. Show meaning. Don't just add to the noise. Ask why, and start the conversation.

Build Relationships, but really build them
Building relationships online is more than Circling a bunch of people and hoping they Circle you back. By spending an hour or two a day in front of your computer, being resourceful and having a positive attitude, you can make a lot of friends in the online world. But, when you move those online relationships into the real world, that’s when they become really powerful. In the past, this took a lot of effort and was limited to your geographic region or a conference you might happen to be attending. Hangouts and Hangouts On Air have changed that.

Now you can Hangout In Real Life (HIRL). Find someone interesting? Want to challenge their idea or fine-tune it until it's perfect? Google+ Hangouts make all of those things and so much more a reality. Hanging out in real life is fun and can yield amazing results. You don’t always have to hide behind an avatar. Get out there, meet some people and start building real relationships. Not only does this make social networking a billion times more successful, I promise it will be the best decision you make all year.

Be Helpful
What’s your specialty? Even if you’re planning on becoming famous for being famous, you still have a specialty. I have lots of them. PR, Marketing, Video Production, Social Media, Blogging, Writing, Hosting, Party Liason, Scoring Free Tickets...Alright, maybe they're not all specialties, but they're certainly strong interests of mine.

Search yourself for a few things that you're really good at. Even if it’s something stupid like being really good at shrinking chip bags in the microwave and making them into keychains, it’s still something (And that's a business idea you can run with on Etsy—you're welcome). Your expertise doesn't have to be something that appeals to the mass public. Niche is in. It’s the singing fish that fishermen talk about the rest of their lives (that's a saying, right?).

Find your niche and seek out others you can help. People helping people. It's a powerful thing.

Listen Some More
Finally, I’ll talk about listening, again. Because listening online, like in the real world, is the most important thing. Listen to what others are saying and decide how you can bring value to those conversations.

Building relationships has never been about Me! Me! Me! Don’t get me wrong, I (and others) am in love with my own voice and could listen to myself ramble on for days. That's not always the best way to add value, though. Sure, if I spend an hour or more putting my thoughts down, I’m hoping that one or two people out there are actually listening to what I have to say. I'm hoping that they add to the conversation that I'm interested in having. I hope they bring the conversation more value, just as they hope I will do the same. When those people that are listening comment on my blog, or message me, or write a blog post about me, or offer up cash, hard candies, and truffled chocolates, it makes me feel all warm and squishy inside. They like me. They really like me! But even if they hate me, I'm writing for me, so it doesn't really matter. You should do the same.

Ideally, you'll comment on other people’s posts and bring value to the conversations they're starting, and they'll have the same reaction, which is when you can move forward in becoming internet besties for life. If it doesn't happen that way, don't be offended, though. Write for you. Be honest. Eventually, you'll find your audience.

Fame versus Respect
Fame can be a flash in the pan when it's given for the wrong reasons. People think that fame is what they're looking for, that once they have a platform to speak from things will be different. But, what they want isn't fame, it's respect. And respect is a lot harder to come by. Respect lies in consistency. It's found in quality work. It's the house built on solid ground.

The type of "fame" I seek, and I'm willing to bet you're looking for as well, comes from providing value to others. It's not a global fame, but a fame that triggers smiles in the small communities I service. The type of fame I seek isn't handed out, it's a prize that's earned. And slow and steady always wins the race in this fame game.

How are you getting famous? How do you do it differently? Where did I go wrong?

I'd love to hear from you and know you better. Thanks for listening.
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