Being a positive influencer goes beyond numbers. Rather than focusing obsessively on views, clicks, and other analytics, showing up authentically is based on a service mindset. Sharing your genuine self through social media gives you a platform to express yourself and connect with others on a deeper level. And in doing so, people get to know your talents, ideas, and accomplishments.
Especially for people who are uncomfortable with self-promotion, it’s a wonderful way to make yourself known without feeling like you’re bragging or humblebragging.
Someone who knows how to lead with authenticity is Traci Shannon, the creative mind behind the pebble, a video series on YouTube showcasing leaders who shine brightly. Traci, who is part of Zoetica Media founder Kami Huyse’s Smart Social Mastery membership program, shared with Kami the inspiration behind her online platform in the hopes you can apply some of what she’s done and learned to your own projects.
Here are some highlights of their conversation.
No Matter Who You Are, Shine Brightly
Traci’s website Star Traci is founded on the idea that “no matter where you are in your life, no matter who you are, shine brightly. Enjoy life.” She believes that “everybody has the ability to [be a] star in their [own] life. We’re such a celebrity-driven culture that we think somehow our lives aren’t special.”
The pebble grew out of the website and stands for the notion that “if we all threw a pebble of positivity into the sea, we could turn the tide on negativity.” The show features interviews with people sharing “how they do one small thing in their lives. They’re normal people that are adding positivity into the world….” Traci says, “I want people to feel like their contribution… the little things they do, are changing the world.
Make Your Focus Other People
She stresses that the pebble‘s success is due to its focus on other people’s stories. “the pebble is something that's more than me in my mind…. I feel like it's a movement, it's something that I want to be more than just my YouTube show.”
Rather than allowing the dark side of the web to predominate, she points out that, “everything that can make it negative [has the] same potential for positive.”
Create a Movement that Benefits You and Others
She explains that, “this isn't Pollyanna, this isn't positivity like just put a sunshine sticker on it and get over yourself. My positivity comes out of a lot of tough things that have happened in my life. I've known grief. I have chronic illness. I believe in making little changes for a reason.”
She goes on: “This is really about a movement of what we can do to make yourself better and happy – then you are being more the person you should be – and in doing that, you are improving your life, and when your life is better, you are improving the lives around you, and that improves the world.”
Traci’s approach is based on taking action, not watching from the sidelines. “It is a step-by-step, a genuine, action-oriented thing,” she says.
Traci uses Kami’s Smart Social Mastery membership program as foundational support to guide and propel her forward. One of the things she particularly appreciates about the program is the co-working time. “On Wednesdays we have these work hours, and I'm the worst at working for myself, and that's a big part of what the Mastery group is about.”
Traci uses the co-working time to complete tasks she otherwise might let slip. “On the Wednesday hour I I do nothing but that, and that's been really good for me.” With so much content available online, getting attention is harder than ever and requires laser-focused dedication. “It’s not, you know, 2010. Getting people to come look at your YouTube show, even if it's innovative and even if it's special, even if it's well done, is hard.”
Kami says the program is intentionally hands-on. “It’s not really about a bunch of talking and a bunch of learning, it's really about learning something and then applying it immediately, as soon as possible.
Master Your Social Media Platform of Choice
When Traci first launched the pebble, she regarded YouTube as merely the distribution platform for getting the show out to her audience. “I wasn't a good enough consumer of YouTube. I'm now learning to be a consumer of YouTube and that's important both so that I can be a better producer, but also because YouTube likes to show [and promote] people that use YouTube.”
Kami recommends finding other channels you like, with audiences similar to yours or that you would like to attract, and commenting on their show so that other viewers will discover you. “On YouTube, if you have a channel…and you start commenting, people, if they like what you say and they think you're interesting, they'll click on your [headshot image] to see who you are and it will take them to your channel.”
Traci says, “I feel like I am developing a voice that is bigger than me and that has happened with this project.” She adds, “This feels bigger, and I feel like I have a purpose that's beyond just enjoying my life that I want others to feel.”
For other creators thinking about launching a project, her one piece of advice is to keep going. “I know you've heard it a million times, but you have to hear it again – don't give up. It is hard. You start out with excitement… [and then] it's not so exciting. You have to keep going.” Most of all, remember that what you do matters: “You don't know the impact, but the impact is there.”
Catch more of Traci’s thoughts in the livestream replay. And if you’re interested in a step-by-step blueprint to grow your own social media platform, you can access Kami’s free minicourse, Pathway to Visibility, at http://bit.ly/pathwayvideoseries.