Personality: Putting It Out There (An Excerpt From The Outrageous Andy Wibbels)

The following excerpt is by author and blogger, Andy Wibbels from the upcoming book, Success Secrets Of The Social Media Marketing Superstars (Entrepreneur Press July 2010).

Nobody Has Time to See How Awesome You Are

We’re all occupied living our ‘busy lifestyles’ created for us so we fit into nice little consumer groups. We pack our days working jobs we don’t like to buy things we don’t want; to impress people we don’t like.

From the time we get up to the time we hit the pillow, we are surrounded by thousands of carefully crafted corporate marketing messages. Waking life has become a relentless deluge of brands and slogans and logos, all trying to convince us that we are awful people if we don’t buy something.

Then we go online.

The white noise increases even more in the online realm. Pop-ups, auto-play videos, spam blogs, spam tweets, and spam profiles crowd the screen, vying for our attention. The fake and the faux, the concocted and calculated, the dried-up and the watered down… cold messages masquerading as warm caring quickly turn us off.

But sometimes, something or someone breaks through.

When we see something memorable – something hot with the heat of passion or provocation or simply something unplanned – we’re jogged out of the rat race. We sit up. We pay attention. We feel like real people again.

We’re relieved that there is a breathing flesh-and-blood person on the other end of this series of tubes we call the Internet. Things seem a bit calmer.

When someone clicks through to your website, you have a scant 50 milliseconds to make that impression. If you don’t immediately pipe up and say: Hi! I’m Me and I Help You Do A, B & C you’re doomed.  Someone else more interesting and more exciting is one click away.

You can’t just be loud and throw a bunch of pop-ups and expect success. You have to have a real personality.  Even more important you have to say This is why I’m different. You have to convey that in a matter of milliseconds whenever someone views your blog or profile or website.

To pop out of the crowd you have to be one-of-a-kind. You have to know exactly who you are, what you stand for and who you serve – and do it with creativity and excellence.

This style and enthusiasm that infuses everything you say and do is your creative edge and makes you unforgettable.

So how do you start to stand out? You get a little nutty or provocative. Case in point? My adventure with The Secret movie.

The Secret Skeptic

The Secret was a crock of shit and we all know it. Engrossing pacing and hypnotic rhythm, but still tripe. The Secret was a direct-to-video movie about the ‘law of attraction’ saying that all you have to do to live your dreams is think happy thoughts and clap for Tinkerbell to come back to life. Sure, the idea of attraction is valuable (I’ll point you to the late Thomas Leonard’s The 28 Laws of Attraction, which is much more practical), but in The Secret, nearly every example was about acquiring material goods and wealth. The video was initially released online and went viral, making a few people a ton of money.

I gave in and watched The Secret and found it pretty appalling and, like any good blogger, took to my blog to write a nice candid screed calling it out. Sure, visualize success, stay positive but they forgot the suffix: and then you get off your butt and start working. Because I’d written a blog post with the title ‘The Secret Movie’ I was ranked very high in Google for people searching for information about the movie. My blog post stayed out there for a few months and got lots of comments from people saying ‘Right on!’ or ‘Go to hell!’

Soon, The Secret popped up in DVD format and that’s when Oprah got involved. Oprah featured The Secret and several of its stars on her show in a couple episodes. All over the world, the DVD and a companion book were flying off the shelves. Thousands of people searched online for ‘the secret movie’ and came to my blog post, and read an honest contrary opinion.

I got featured on the radio as ‘The Secret Skeptic’ calling in to morning shows to give a little more context to the Law of Attraction and how it fits into an early 1900s religious movement.

My skepticism and counterpoint to a popular trend helped me build my newsletter, raised my blog’s profile and increase my business. All because I was honest, authentic, passionate, and provocative.

As you integrate social media tools into your business you must must must stand out from the crowd. And one great way to do it is to be provocative.