Our special guest for episode 379/381 of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast was guest Shay Rowbottom, CEO of Shay Rowbottom Marketing. Host Erin Sparks spoke with Shay about why LinkedIn is such a hot platform, how it’s different from other social platforms, and the place of social media platforms in society. Here’s what we learned:
Shay Rowbottom: Her Background and Experience
Shay Rowbottom is a LinkedIn influencer and digital marketing entrepreneur specializing in creative social media video content to attract attention and bring more eyeballs to your business. Throughout the three years Shay worked on Facebook, she had amassed billions of impressions on video content. This led to doing marketing for product companies as well and utilizing the blog owner’s followings to post more direct ads on consumer products.
In 2017, she co-founded a media company that specialized in producing videos on Facebook to generate massive exposure and sales for brands. She took the company from her apartment, to over 42 employees in an 8,000 sq ft office space in just one year. She has worked with brands like Petco, Yahoo, Buzzfeed, and dozens more in creating and executing video content strategies on social media that engaged their audience, got their name out, and drove more business. Since joining the LinkedIn platform in May of 2018, Shay has grown to over 470,000 followers and more than ten million views on her content.
Shay was licensing video content on Facebook, so she had to learn what makes for viral video while she was also tracking down trending video content and negotiating a license to be able to repost it to her client’s extremely popular Facebook page, which already had three million followers. She became an expert at facilitating these deals between content owners and large blogs on Facebook. More blogs wanted her to do the same for them. It was a brilliant model because she wasn’t paying money for the content license, the content owners were compensated with exposure because their content once placed on a popular Facebook blog would go viral and they were very happy to get that kind of exposure.
But the big learning came from the data she amassed about what videos go viral and which ones don’t and what the differences are between the two. She ended up with deep expertise in finding content that has viral potential, then knowing how to edit it and give it the right headline and the right formatting and all the other nuts-and-bolts pieces that help a piece of content go viral. And then I decided to go to LinkedIn and immediately saw the potential, which included a lack of competition because no one was doing video content on LinkedIn, and then it’s an audience that has money and is willing to spend money to achieve success.
The LinkedIn Difference
Each social media platform has a bit of everything to some degree, but they can also each be characterized in different ways. Facebook is where people connect on a personal level with others, Instagram seems to be a lot about self-image and food and makeup and so forth, Twitter is a bit scrappier with name-calling fighting. LinkedIn is different from all that. No one on LinkedIn cares what you had for lunch or about the vacation you took and all that. It’s the place for professionals and working life. And the platform was hungry for well-crafted video content. The audience is more serious and a lot of them only use LinkedIn for their social media platform related to work. And you won’t find another platform made up of well-educated people with money to spend. And it’s not just strictly “busines” content in the traditional sense. People there are willing to work on their mental health and their mind-set as a part of their journey to business success, which is why it’s such a good platform for coaches and other forms of self-help.
It’s also important to understand that running ads on LinkedIn is not a content strategy. Like other platforms, people don’t want to just be sold to, they want valuable content that helps them in their professional life, and you have to be willing to provide that content for free (up to a point) to grow your audience in an authentic way because you contribute value. You have to give, give, give, which is scary because you’ll be wondering what you’re going to get out of it, but you will get something out of it. By contributing valuable content, you built authority and gain respect and trust to the point where people will be so loyal and grateful for the value you’ve given them they will practically be begging you to take their money!
Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Social media has become ubiquitous, people can’t put their phones down and a big part of why has a lot to do with social media. 2020, this year with a pandemic and the most contentious political election most of us have ever seen, has made our already troubled relationship with social media even more troubled. What can be done to fix or even heal the downsides of social media and the broader digital community?
Shay notes it’s important to explore this because there is a deeper layer of analysis that needs to be explored to understand the level of chaos, division, and hate being seen across the nation but especially on social media. The key word Shay raises here is narcissism, but you have to understand what that word really means. Most people think it just means a person being really full of themselves and who likes attention and has a grandiose personality. And while that often does go along with it, there’s more to the disease, the dis-ease, of narcissism. Just because a person is an attractive, successful model with a ton of social media followers doesn’t automatically mean they’re a narcissist. The differentiating factor is empathy, and a lack of empathy is part of what drives true narcissism.
Where this comes from in a person probably goes back to their childhood and how they were raised and parented and their circumstances. This is often the case, by the way, for any big obstacle in a person’s life that’s holding them back from reaching their potential. Anyone who has been on their own healing journey around such obstacles knows how this is the case. Things happened in your childhood that resulted in you adopting certain behaviors and ways of thinking in order to cope that over time evolve into negative mental health or personality outcomes.
Narcissism often is the coping outcome from a child having been shamed a lot. The level of shame heaped on them was too much and the way they coped with it was by suppressing their authentic self that apparently resulted in so much shame and creating a kind of false-self or identity that is more acceptable. And this seems to be what’s happening on a massive scale in society. We have a society in which so many people are divorced from their authentic selves, who aren’t capable of being in touch with their own emotions, and who lack empathy for others because they can’t relate to the emotions other people are feeling.
You can actually view the COVID-19 pandemic as a physical manifestation of just how sick and in need of healing people have become. You can see it within a spiritual framework of God sending us a serious wakeup call to how sick we’ve become.
Now throw social media into the mix, and while any technology isn’t inherently good or bad because it’s about how we use it, there’s a kind of constant affirmation that can be found in social media, combined with the echo-chamber it becomes for your own false-self and it seems to be uniquely suited to not only reinforce but exacerbate narcissism. And if we’re honest, you can think of this narcissism that comes from a place of brokenness as a spectrum, and we’re all on it to some extent, just some way more than others. And the reason narcissism can be amplified by social media is because we humans simply aren’t wired to have such extensive social networks as are possible through the social platforms. What’s “normal” is to have a relatively small group of close friendships, not thousands and thousands. And when a person’s false-self is getting all those affirmations, it simply perpetuates the narcissism.
Shay recalls a quote that goes something like “Fans are a cancer to the authentic self.” This is why she preaches the message “authenticity” in content. Drop the façade of perfection on social media and be authentic. Social media is like the pandemic in terms of how it also exposes how broken and sick we are.
Part of the problem is people treating those “friendships” on social media as if they’re real, when in reality they’re not. Then if you get attacked, trolled, cyber-bullied, and so on, it has real negative impacts on the person being attacked. But the attackers have no stake in reality. And this is where empathy needs to come back into play—imagine what the attacker must be going through that they’re so filled with hate that they will put time and effort to go out their way to attack you and other people on social media. It’s a sad reflection not on the person being attacked but on the level of brokenness of the attacker. The response to that should be compassion. Don’t ask what’s wrong with that person, ask what in the world must have happened to them to make them that way. All the hate and vitriol is learned, it’s not innate to who we are as human beings.
When Shay is attacked on social media, she responds with love and compassion privately to the attacker is always surprised at how often the attacker will then also respond positively because they’re starved for love and compassion. They often apologize and admit the attack wasn’t the right thing to do. Some of those attackers have become friends! It’s easy to respond with more hate to attackers, but it doesn’t solve anything, it only makes it worse.
Pay attention to the shame. The huge political and social divisions we’re seeing in society now and on social media are rooted in shame. Everyone is trying shame others into thinking or believing differently. But that shame is what perpetuates narcissism and lack of empathy.
Are we too immersed in social media? Shay says it’s not as simple as that. It’s not social media itself that’s toxic—it is broken, flawed human beings who make it toxic. Each person is their own context for toxicity on social media. So when take a bunch of broken, narcissistic people and throw them on social media, of course it’s going to be horrible, and of course taking a break from social media can be a helpful part of a healing process. Getting out into nature and unplugging more is also very helpful. But pointing the finger at social media itself as the root cause is a misplacement the blame. The people need to be healed in order to heal the platforms.
Ready to dive into LinkedIn video content for your brand? Check out Shay’s program:
Connect with Shay Rowbottom and Rowbottom Marketing
Twitter: @shay_rowbottom (https://twitter.com/shay_rowbottom)
Facebook: @ShayRowbottom (https://www.facebook.com/ShayRowbottom)
Instagram: @shayrowbottom (https://www.instagram.com/shayrowbottom)
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