Today many entrepreneurs are trying and failing to build their online brands. They know the common wisdom that “people buy from people” yet struggle with how to present themselves to inspire loyalty.
It’s never been more important to be a public face of your brand as 90% of people trust personal recommendations vs just 33% for company messages.
Tai Lopez was a pioneer of using social media to create an online brand and was one of the first to make the most of the video format. It’s led to staggering numbers; he has 2.7 million followers on Instagram and 1.3 million on YouTube. He has high engagement and is widely recognized around the world because of his content. Lopez was chosen alongside Tim Ferriss and Gary Vaynerchuk as one of Forbes’ top influencers.
Yet he’s not just an influencer and he has solid business ventures built on top. His subscription e-learning platform MatchBox has over 60,000 subscribers. Lopez is also the co-founder of REV with Alex Mehr, which buys failing retail brands and transforms them into successful eCommerce brands. These brands include names such as RadioShack and Modell’s Sporting Goods.
Here are some steps you can take to replicate his success.
Focus on your VRIN score
A common reason people don’t even try to start an online brand is they are worried about saturation. They’re worried that everything has already been done but it hasn’t. There are new faces starting all of the time and building loyal fanbases. Lopez solves the saturation problem by focusing on the VRIN score.
VRIN stands for Valuable, Rate, Inimitable and Non-Substitutable. If something doesn’t match all these criteria then he doesn’t post it. If you just copy everyone else then you’ll fall into the crowd and no one will pay any attention to you. If you can bring something different that offers value to people, you’ve got a real chance to continue growing.
“I believe there is an opportunity for any unique style personality who has a high VRIN score.”–Tai Lopez
Create your brand story
To be successful online you need people to care about you to keep coming back. Random viral hits might get you some views but those people won’t be interested in your other content and quickly zone out.
The best way to make people care according to Lopez is to have a strong brand story. You need people to come to your page and quickly gain a sense of who you are and what you stand for. You want your audience to cheer for you when you’re doing well and comfort you when you’re going through hard times.
Lopez is a master at this. He states,
“My personal brand story — or script — is that I didn’t grow up wealthy. I was raised by a single mom in Long Beach, California, with a father in prison. I took myself from sleeping on a couch with $47 in my pocket, to Beverly Hills by applying principles taught to me by mentors throughout my travels around the world.”
If you didn’t know who he was, you probably already slightly like him. He’s a guy who came from nothing and worked hard to build himself a successful career. We all have a soft spot for the underdog story and Lopez personifies this.
Your story will be different to his and might have a completely different tone. What’s important is that it resonates with the people you wish to serve
Lopez’s understanding of the importance of stories is why he buys failing retail businesses with strong brands. He knows he can leverage their story using new technology to make them successful again.
Keep to a daily brain budget
Luckily Tai Lopez has made extensive videos about his process and how he took the steps from poor kid to global superstar. One of his key messages is that people need to stick to what he calls a “daily brain budget”.
Lopez advocates self development through books and mentors rather than a traditional education. He believes that we all have the power to teach ourselves and grow. To do this though, you need to commit to a certain amount of time everyday where you invest in yourself. You must allocate part of your brain energy to learning, not just going through the motions of your daily life.
You set your budget based on what’s happening in your life at the moment. If you’re in a high growth phase, you might be spending less time learning but when things quieten down then you ramp it up again. Each individual should assess their own needs of how much time they need to spend to ensure they continue their growth.
The important thing is that it’s a conscious choice which you try your best to stick to rather than an afterthought.
Don’t be afraid to make difficult decisions
What Lopez does through REV isn’t easy. To turn around a failing retail brand means he needs to make decisions that can be uncomfortable. For example, at one of the portfolio companies, Dressbarn, he cut down the employees from 9000 all the way down to 30. It’s the kind of move others might be afraid to make, but Lopez wasn’t.
He knew it was necessary to keep the company open and allow it to continue growing. Successful entrepreneurs need to be able to make the hard choices though it often happens behind closed doors. Very few will have got to the top without needing to let some people go.
The new strategy for Dressbarn didn’t require so many people and keeping them on until the company collapsed wouldn’t have been a service. The people retained were picked to ensure the company’s brand story stayed alive. This meant consumers didn’t lose trust in Dressbarn. Four senior buyers, the people who know exactly what the customers want, stayed on as part of the 30.
If you want to have a career as an online entrepreneur, you can’t be afraid to upset some people if it’s what is best for the business.
Tai Lopez is very active on Twitter and actually engages with his audience rather than bombard them with marketing.
He regularly asks his followers for feedback on different ideas he is wrestling with. This helps them feel like they are all on one side and they are part of his journey. There’s the sense of achievement factor too for Tweeters who help choose the name for a new multi-million dollar brand.
Here’s an example of when he wanted to workout the name for a new department at radio shack.
You can start doing the same thing today by testing out your ideas with your audience. You’ll learn more about how they think and what they want. This means you can serve them even better in the future and they will trust you more.
I hope you see the genius behind how Tai Lopez built such a massive online following and can see how you can apply the lessons to your own accounts. It’s worth following him on the platform where you wish to grow so you see what he’s experimenting with and get even more ideas.