You might not recognize the name Elise Andrew, but you will almost certainly know the Facebook page "I F--- Love Science." Elise Andrew is the page's creator, and she has been offered $40.1 million to sell her page and website.
The offer is tempting, but for different reasons than one might expect. Ms. Andrews has been dealing with various anxiety disorders since she was a child, and the idea of giving up control of her website and Facebook page and "being a private person again" is appealing.
Despite the obstacles she has faced in her personal life, Andrews has achieved recognition all over the place, including the Forbes Magazine list of "30 to watch under 30."
The $40m IFL Science success story exemplifies the importance of social media and why your voice is important. Andrews did not set out to become a viral hit. Instead, it grew out of her interest in science facts and wanting a place to collect all the facts and pictures she found online. She created IFL Science for herself and her friends, but after the first day on Facebook the page already had one thousand likes. By January 2015, the count was up to 19.5 million and continues to generate a lot of activity on Facebook.
Elise Andrew's story can teach us a lot about what it takes to become an online success:
- Follow your bliss Andrews simply wanted something that was not already there-- a single destination for fun science facts. Chances are, if you want something that does not yet exist, someone else wants it too. Andrews did not chase statistics or trends. She curated content based on what she liked.
- Use your voice To this day, Andrews remains the sole maintainer of the Facebook page. Therefore, the voice is clear and consistent. Curating and writing content that speaks to you is what will allow it to speak to others as well.
- Don't worry about expectations When Andrews created a Twitter account in 2013 and used a photo of herself as her avatar, many people were surprised IFL Science creator is a woman. People are also surprised when they learn about her anxiety disorders. Don't think yourself out of your authentic voice because you think that, for whatever reason, it does not fit the "image" our culture has of the type of person you are.
The online connection
Whether you sell a product, a service, or are simply trying to build a following, your blogging and Facebook presence are key to your success. Here are a few tips you can use to continue to grow your presence online:
- Use content curation tools These will help you generate material in a shorter amount of time. Tools like DrumUp can help you find content from any niche and also allows you to schedule your posts.
- Engage with users If they are taking the time and effort to post, then you better be too. Engaging with users encourages brand loyalty and gets people excited about what you offer.
- Be thoughtful Yes, consistently pushing out content is important, but not at the expense of quality. You have followers because they want your product and your voice. If giving them your authentic voice all the time means sacrificing a few posts each week, then that's okay.
There is a lot of bite-size science out there, but people choose to follow Elise Andrews because the authentic passion for what she does translates into work that people want to see. As you continue to build your social media presence, never underestimate the power of your authentic voice.
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