Raise your hand if you’ve ever wasted hours looking at social media. 🙋♂️🙋♀️
We’re in a war for the attention of billions.
Posts, clips, pictures, thousands of ads, gossip, and content. It’s a lot to handle.
Most people handle it poorly and end up with a scrambled brain.
A few smart people recognize the power of social media and use it to their advantage. Here’s how to be one of them.
Creating > consuming
If you want to profit from social media, be a creator. If you want social media to rob you blind, be a consumer.
A small percentage of social media accounts create most of the content. They’re the ones who reap all the rewards. If you learn how to harness the power of social media, you can get a ton of benefits:
- Scale: Scale is the ability to reach a lot of people at the same time. If you can announce a product to thousands or millions of people all at the same time, you can make sales. If you want to promote a project or a cause, you have people to promote it to. Attention doesn’t automatically lead to results, but having an audience is better than not having an audience.
- Social proof: Human beings are status-seeking creatures. Having a strong social media presence impresses people and makes them more likely to work with you. People like who other people already like. Building a personal brand opens doors.
- Connections: The possibilities are infinite when it comes to connections—connections between you and your audience, connections with other creators, and connections with companies who want to work with you. Joe Rogan can get an A-List celebrity to come on his show without ever having met them because he has such a large audience.
In this video, $100 million entrepreneur Alex Hormozi said he had a moment in his life that changed his view of business forever. He was making tens of millions of dollars each month without a social media presence.
He thought creating content was a waste of time. Then, he saw Kylie Jenner turn her audience into a billion-dollar company overnight. He thought he was smarter and better at business than her but then realized he had something to learn from her success.
Properly monetized audiences are money printers. The Rock’s tequila company is valued at a billion dollars. Conor Mcgregor sold his whiskey brand, Proper No. Twelve, for $600 million.
Attention is the new currency of the modern economy.
If the platform is free, you’re the product
If you’re on the consumer end of social media, you do nothing more than spend your time and money.
You get served ads for products that remove money from your pockets.
To make sure you spend your money on products, social media companies hire the smartest people in the world to figure out how to addict you to their platforms.
A former executive at Facebook, Chamath Palihapitiya, had this to say about social media:
There’s a rumor that executives at social media companies don’t allow their children to have smartphones.
If you want to know how powerful social media is at draining you of valuable time, just look at your screen time on your phone. Social media harnesses the addictive power of dopamine.
In the modern age, managing your dopamine is the key to making or breaking your success in life.
Social media companies get you hooked via the slot machine effect. People love playing slots because, with every pull, a new surprise awaits. Slot machines are designed to get you close to winning with each pull.
The machines let you win a handful of times. Combined with the near-win effect, you keep pulling because you always think you’re close to the next win. But nine times out of ten, you leave the casino poorer.
Think of how social media platforms work:
- You get notifications with new updates.
- Each notification provides something different.
- You’ll always wonder what lies beneath the surface, so you keep checking your phone.
The platforms play on your dopamine addiction and response to boredom:
- You feel a moment of boredom.
- The boredom makes you tense.
- You check your phone to get cheap dopamine entertainment and scratch the itch.
One day we’ll look back on social media use like tobacco addiction, maybe worse.
How to reverse the equation
Spend more time creating content and less time consuming it.
Creating content is as simple as talking about the things you’re interested in:
- What are the problems you’ve solved for yourself?
- What subjects fascinate you?
- Think of yourself two years ago and give advice to that person.
- Curate the things you have a taste for and share them with others.
- Talk about the things that come easily to you that are difficult for others.
Choose a method of content creation:
- Written: Blog posts on Medium, Tweets, LinkedIn Posts
- Audio: Podcasts, audio clips on social
- Video: YouTube, Instagram, Reels
Focus on one platform first and build a regular posting schedule.
You can write one Tweet per day to grow on Twitter.
Whatever your cadence is, commit to it. Then, once you hit a groove, post more on the same platform. Don’t move to other platforms until you’ve mastered one channel. Eventually, you can reach a point where you’re posting on all channels all the time, but this may take years to achieve.
Slow and steady wins the race.
When your audience reaches critical mass, you can use insights to create something to sell. Talk to your audience, send DMs, make surveys, develop a product idea, and ask people to pay for it. If it sells, sell more of it.
This is a simplified version for the sake of brevity, but this is the process you can use to build wealth through social media.
Build a system to cure your social media addiction
Next, you want to create a system that allows you to take advantage of dopamine instead of letting it work against you.
You have to curb your social media addiction.
This is no easy task, but it can be done in baby steps.
In short, you want to replace the time you used to spend consuming social media and use it to create content instead.
If you say you don’t have time to create content, look at your screen time and see all the time you spend consuming social media content. There’s your time.
My best pieces of advice:
- Work on your content in the morning as soon as you wake up.
- Create a non-negotiable time block to work on your content.
- Don’t look at your phone or social media during that time.
You’re not going to curb your social media addiction all at once. But you can gradually practice spending less time on it.
- Turn off notifications: I have no social media notifications that pop up on my phone. This keeps me from checking as often.
- Mute the flavor: some people suggest using grayscale on your phone screen to make social media apps less appealing.
- Nuclear options: Delete social media apps from your phone and only use them on your desktop. Buy a flip phone.
The power of social media: the positive and negative
The world’s greatest online school
You shouldn’t consume social media all day, nonstop, every day, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a useful tool.
If you consume social media the right way, you can use it to get smarter, make more money, and create valuable connections. I’ve done all three.
Social media is a cheat code for learning. Some of the smartest people in the world use it to share their thoughts, give advice, and share the mistakes they made so you don’t have to make them.
Use social media to watch educational content instead of mindless distractions.
I’ve learned tax tips that have saved me tens of thousands of dollars, gotten ideas for products to make, learned marketing techniques, and adopted useful life lessons from people I follow on social media.
I prefer Twitter because that’s where all the smart people hang out. Plus, written content is geared more toward education, whereas places like Instagram and TikTok are more about flash than substance. Although you can find great educational content on those platforms too.
Social media also helps you create valuable connections. It’s like no other time in history. We’ve never had this much access to other human beings. You can ask questions to people you look up to, and they might respond. You can reach out to someone across the world and strike a business deal.
Or you can collaborate on projects with others. I’ve reached out to creators with similar audiences who have let me share my content and products with their tribes. You can reach out to other creators and ask them to reshare your posts. You can trade secrets and techniques with each other. The possibilities are endless.
And that’s the power of social media.
The world’s biggest cesspool
However, social media can be powerful for the wrong reasons. It can make you depressed, anxious, and hateful toward others.
The same platforms you can use to find helpful content can also drag you into a cesspool of negativity.
Media outlets play on your fears and paint the world out to be a scary and dangerous place. Unfortunately, outrage attracts the most eyeballs, so they have every incentive to find the most salacious stories because it’s the best way to grab your attention.
As much as social media connects us, it creates division. People who use social media the wrong way bicker about politics and argue with each other about their beliefs. Social media gives you a way to be much more disrespectful than you would be in person.
Mike Tyson said it well:
Social media can cause you to focus on things that don’t matter, like celebrity gossip, goofy TikTok dances, and outrageous clickbait news. Last, social media can make you hate your life because you constantly compare yourself to other people.
In the past, you only knew what you could see in your immediate surroundings. You could watch celebrities from afar, but they were distant enough that you didn’t envy them as much.
Now, you can see what celebrities are doing 24/7, which can make your life feel mundane. You can find people who are much more attractive than you to compare yourself to, even though their pictures are photoshopped. People use social media to “flex” their wealth—mansions, Lamborghinis, yachts. Everyone puts the highlight reel of their lives on social media, which makes you think their lives are better than yours.
They say, “comparison is the thief of joy.” If you’re not careful, you can fall into the trap of turning social media into a never-ending status game you won’t be able to win.
Let’s talk about how to avoid the cesspool and focus on the good social media has to provide.
How to create a social media safe haven
As best you can, try to curate what you see on social media.
- Only follow positive and helpful accounts.
- Platforms like Twitter allow you to create curated lists of people to follow instead of having to view the whole feed.
- Mute or block negative people.
In general, do your best to resist the urge of taking on the worst qualities of social media users:
- Don’t argue with people online ever.
- If you see something online that disagrees with your beliefs, just move on and let it be. Let people think what they want.
- Avoid posting inflammatory posts about hot-button topics.
Be a force for good:
- Create uplifting, valuable, educational content.
- Take the time to share useful content from others and celebrate their success.
- Encourage your tribe to be forces for good and police your own audience.
Even though it’s wise to spend some time using social media to learn, be careful not to go overboard:
- Have dedicated time to consuming social media.
- Don’t confuse learning with procrastinating.
- Implement the information you learn online, or else it’s useless.
Most things aren’t good or bad
It’s all about how you use them.
We live in a digital world, so it’s hard to avoid it altogether. But at least use it to your advantage. Don’t let the power of social media take advantage of you.
Use social media to make money instead of spending it. Use it to teach and learn instead of moan, gossip, and bicker. Create more than you consume.
If you do all the above, you can build more influence than you can fathom.
Then use that influence for good.