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~ It is an absolute perfection to know how to get the very most out of one’s individuality. – Michel de Montaigne ~

“If I Build It, They Will Come” is Not an Effective Social Media Strategy

My National Jeweler monthly column, Dear Lilian: The PR Advisor, went out on Tuesday, where I answered a reader’s question on how to create influencers within your own company. It’s going to be a two, maybe three-part, series as the answer to this question isn’t as simple as it seems.  You can read the first part here.

There’s a huge difference between a company with over 10 million followers on Instagram, and someone like Chiara Ferragni, whose 16.7 million followers earn her $19,500 every time she shares her opinions on Instagram.  That difference is engagement.

Chiara Ferragni,

A lot of brands look at social media as an additional form of advertising, sharing their latest and greatest with followers who are already fans of the brand.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this and it’s necessary to keep an increasingly distracted audience focused on what the company is doing. Yet most brands, even with their significant following, lack a voice that makes these followers act on command.

Hence why people like Chiara can ask for $20,000 to write three sentences.


I watched a client try and fail at creating in-house influencers for his company. For however deep his pockets ran to provide his staff with the state-of-the-art everything to build a mini digital fiefdom, his vision never factored human behavior.

“If I build it, they will come” has never been an effective strategy. 

You need to give people reason to come. And when it comes to social media influencers, it’s all about personality. Those social stars have kept a pulse on what they’re followers want and kept giving them more of it, going straight to the bank with their innate understanding of human motivation.

I’d love to see a brand for one week turn over their Instagram accounts to a random employee and allow that employee to show followers both the inner workings of their company and a bit of their lives outside the company.

Humanize your company by showing the reality of the people who love to work for you.


Anytime I stop by my mom’s house in the evening, she’s always caught up in some Bachelorette Housewives of Shahs in Orange County reality show nonsense. I once asked her how, as a celebrated medical social worker with a master’s degree in sociology, she could subject herself to what I kindly describe as 60 minutes of listening to screeching harpies and their shameless backbiting.

She told me she regarded these shows as her own personal sociological studies. Why go deep into the Amazon when you can examine a different tribe of humans from the comforts of your living room sofa?

Reality shows take you into the lives of others; in those 60 minutes, you’re distracted from your life and entertained by theirs. This is also what social media does.

Scrolling through Instagram or Facebook when you’re supposed to be doing something else is your break from the world for just a few moments. And while your favorite designer’s latest release will certainly get you to stop and stare, imagine for a moment:

How much more time would you spend on the brand’s page if you were following a storyline of one of their employees instead of reading about a newly launched product?


I’ll leave you with that thought.  Questions or comments? Let me know.  

Otherwise, see you in two weeks.