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Social media strategy: how winners use colaborative frames (AKA: stop being a validation whore)

Do you have any friends who always post pictures of whatever cool thing they (think) they're doing?

You know, those people who maybe post little, but when they do, they only post of them partying, having fun, traveling, being promoted, or anything that could increase their social status.

What do you think of them?
Chances are that you don't have the highest opinion of them.

The Worst Way of Sharing

There is a guy I know and we're friends on FB.

I would actually consider this guy a friend. And still, I had to unfollow him.
Since he quit his job and started traveling it's an endless stream of post updates with exotic food he's trying, pictures of touristic destinations, or random groups of people he's meeting (and will never see again).
These are just his last three posts:

attention whoring on social mediaClap clap, you've been to Singapore ?

Here are some of the titles of his post:

  • Impressive Singapore (LOL)
  • Random views of HCMC #buivienstreet #cuchitunnels #notredamesaigon @ Saigon
  • Awesome experience at Sun World. #goldenbridge #banahills #danang #vietnam @ Sun World Ba Na Hills
  • Trying to get the most from Vietnamese culture. This time: cooking ?#hanoi #vietnam #vietnamesefood @ Apron Up Cooking Class

The problem with these posts?

There is no reason to post those posts except to say "look at me, how cool I am".

Why It's Bad

Those posts are the equivalent of saying:

In your face, I'm doing great things and you're not, see how much better I am.

In truth, those people are not really doing anything great, but it still feels like that's what they're trying to communicate, which only makes them across as more try-hard.
All in all, it's a poor way of interfacing with the world.

It creates resentment, and it creates frenemies.
In our model of long-term power, these posts are the equivalent of win-lose and uncollaborative relationships.
And since people don't like being on the short end of the stick, they will start disliking you more and more.

The only time you want to use these posts is to strategically filter out the friends from the frenemies.
If you check out my article on spotting frenemies, you will see how I caught a couple of frenemies when I posted a celebratory meal about a milestone for my work (the frenemies are usually those who don't like your update but make a snarky comment or a "joke" that sounds somewhat like a back-handed compliment -or the ones who like those jokes-).

But other than that, avoid those types of posts like the plague (and avoid the mindset that you need to show off your life, too!).

The Correct Way of Doing It

But let's say you do want to share something truly beautiful that happened to you.

How do you go about it?

You want to do it with a collaborative frame -yes, we go back to the fundamentals, and that's why they're fundamentals!-.
The collaborative frame doesn't say "look how cool I am", but says:

Look what a great thing happened to me.
I want to share some wisdom on why that came to happen so that it can also happen to you.

Or:

What a wonderful experience I've had. And you can do the same! Why don't you join me doing something similar?

It might seem a small thing, but it's what makes the difference between those who build resentment and make frenemies, and those who become people's champions.
It's the reason why Tai Lopez has so many haters. And the reason why you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone hating on Tony Robbins: most people love Robbins. With Tony Robbins, you get the feeling that he's sharing his winning sauce because he truly believes you can do the same.

Now back to the social media posts.
See an example here from my latest FB update:

the psychology of social sharing

See?
I thought that view was breathtaking and I wanted to share the beauty.
But my update doesn't suggest "look in what a great place I am, sucker (while you're freezing your ass)!".
My update says:

it's a great place, do stop here, my friend, you can also experience it.

The Mindsets

Ideally, this won't be just a technical thing you do.

Ideally, this will become a mindset.

It becomes a mindset when you don't need to impress others anymore, and when you stop pursuing validation.
When you share from a place of wanting to share beauty with the world, or simply wanting to share your life without wanting to impress, then you're in a good place.


Proof:

We have a similar number of friends, but the collaborative-frame post got 4-5 times more likes than the "look at me" post.
Even more importantly, that's a sign that it probably got people to think and feel in far more positive terms towards the collaborative sharer.

DM, cmengid@gmail.com and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
DMcmengid@gmail.comJimmy GlasscockSerena Irina
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Hi Lucio,

As an actor, I use my Instagram as an online business card.

When casting directors and producers get actors with lots of followers to audition, it gives them more confidence in the project doing well at the box office if they cast the actor with a loyal community of fans behind him.

I changed my Instagram captions sometime last year to something that would have fallen within the competitive frame. I figured that by impressing the people who came to my page it would be easier to garner their following which would help advance my career. I felt this way due to other Instagram accounts I had seen with millions of followers that used this strategy. People refer to these as "flex accounts" and "thirst trap accounts". Some influencers impress with their money, others with their bodies, and it appeared to be working.

Not only that, but I've been advised by PUAs to not ask for a girl's number anymore, but instead their Instagram so they would see the celebrities I've met and success in my acting career thus far.

However, I like your collaborative frame approach. I just went through my entire Instagram and while changing my captions I felt this sense that I was building my legacy by providing value to others through my Instagram page. Nearly every post gives positives vibes and/or words of wisdom.

Unfortunately, just as you said some people feel they're coming off as insincere by saying they want "win-win", I felt people would not believe I am really interested in giving out positivity and wisdom. I grew concerned they would perceive my collaborative framing as an Instagram growth strategy due to the large amount of other Instagram accounts that feign caring about their followers to achieve validation.

Should I be concerned at all? Is it possible that this is the judge-role and I care too much about the possible negative personal opinions my current and future followers may hold of me?

Thanks,

Ali

 

Serena Irina has reacted to this post.
Serena Irina

You bring a very interesting case, Ali.

I wanted to write that exception in the very first post, but then decided not to make it too long.
The first post there applies to most people who are sharing with friends and with people whom they know personally.

Influencers and showbusiness operate under different rules.
As you've noticed, it's true that a big chunk of up and coming influencers build their following with bragging and showing off.
People are more willing to accept that attitude from people they don't know. That's because competition and resentment breeds from those whom we feel somewhat close to us. It's those close to us that make us feel bad about ourselves, and we lash out against them when they brand and show off.
But when it's someone we barely know -or don't know personally at all-, then it's different. In those cases, a braggart attitude can actually be attractive, because the followers seek to compensate their lack of confidence and power by associating and consuming this or that influencer content (this is an interesting psychological mechanism, worthy of a proper post).

There is a downside to that technique, though: thirst traps are rarely the technique of choice of those already at the top.
So while you are positioning yourself above your followers, you are also communicating you are not (yet) playing at the big league's table (you wouldn't expect Brad Pitt or Charlize Teron in her heyday to post thirst traps, right?).
That can be OK if you're not there yet. Just remember to change strategy once you start getting closer to the top.

The other danger is that if you tie your success only based on thirst traps, then you build a reputation for being a thirst-trap guy.
Very few make it big by thirst-traps alone -and I can only imagine it's harder now as the field gets more crowded-.

Ideally, you want your acting skills to do the heavier lifting.
And then, as they lift you higher, you want to reduce the thirst traps and move the "classier" strategies to showcase the depth of your personality (and to showcase that you don't need thirst-traps like those other struggling guys. Avoiding thirst-traps in the showbusiness is often also a status play in itself).

Stef and Serena Irina have reacted to this post.
StefSerena Irina
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on February 13, 2020, 4:25 pm

In those cases, a braggart attitude can actually be attractive, because the followers seek to compensate their lack of confidence and power by associating and consuming this or that influencer content (this is an interesting psychological mechanism, worthy of a proper post).

How does this relate to when you meet your followers in person?

For example, it's not uncommon for women to be attracted to men that display themselves as high-quality men on Instagram. As such, depending on the level of fame of the man or the level of confidence of the woman, she may send a direct message to that man as a way of "shooting her shot" with a popular rationalization being "he's so famous he probably won't see it anyway, so what's the harm".

If it's true that there's a psychological mechanism which leads people to compensate their lack of confidence and power with the association of braggart influencer content, wouldn't that cause issues if you decided to meet that woman in person? After all, these people want confidence and power, so I feel like meeting these types of followers in person would be the equivalent of an open invitation for them to screw you over by social climbing and/or "clout chasing".

Thanks,

Ali

*LOL my newfound understanding of power dynamics has me over-analyzing situations a lot these days, but I've never heard of this psychological mechanism you speak of. If you ever decide to post about it in further detail, I'll be sure to check it out.

Serena Irina has reacted to this post.
Serena Irina