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This High School Dropout Will Make You Rethink Your Social Media Strategy

Dropout-turned-influencer shares the secret to crushing it online.

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BY J.T. ODonnell - 12 Jul 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

The first time I was introduced to this 20-year old social media star was on a Saturday morning. My thirteen year-old daughter was laughing hysterically while watching a YouTube video. I asked her what was so funny and she showed me my first Jake Paul video. Here's the basic story-line: he bet his roommates $100 that they couldn't beat him in a race to his bedroom on the second floor of his home. What they didn't know was he had greased part of the hallway floor with vegetable oil. As you can imagine, mayhem ensued. I wasn't laughing like my daughter, but to my defense, I'm in my forties. That kind of humor doesn't really make me giggle anymore. However, I was shocked when I learned this high school dropout's real claim to fame is his massive following on social media. At the writing of this post, he currently has over 8 million YouTube followers. While I couldn't relate to the appeal, I had to research how the heck he built this so quickly.

Jake Paul Knows What Most Of Us Don't

Jake Paul and his brother, Logan started out just a few years as Vine stars. They eventually dropped out of high school and college respectfully to move to L.A. to try to make it as actors. While both are landing gigs, the social media is paying the rent - and then some. They quickly figured out they could build a business by having lots of social media followers. Especially, on YouTube. But, Jake didn't stop there. He soon realized instead of competing against other social media influencers, he could team up and develop a group that could help each other grow. That's what lead him to found 'Team 10' - a house where social media influencers he funds and mentors live together and create video content in hopes of introducing new followers to one another. If you want to hear his entire social media strategy (I particularly love when explains how Dr. Dre helped him see the path to building a multi-million dollar social media empire), watch this interview on Lewis Howe's School of Greatness podcast.

In watching the interview, I couldn't help but think how many companies and professionals looking to build their social media following could learn a thing or two.

Here are some of the insights:

  1. Study what's out there so you can be different. Jake Paul may have ditched school, but the kid knows how to study. He has spent hours teaching himself about the industry. His goal? To identify trends and find ways to be unique.
  2. Never stop experimenting. Content trends change faster than hairstyles. Jake Paul is always trying new content to see what sticks. It doesn't matter if something flops because every new day is a fresh start.
  3. Don't be afraid to look silly. Jake Paul said that fully embracing who he was and not caring what people thought helped him connect better with his followers, leading to faster growth.
  4. Hard work beats talent. He readily admits there are plenty of social media influencers with more talent and creativity than him. But, nobody works harder. A fact he said has helped him move forward consistently, while others have tapered off. Speaking of consistency...
  5. Consistency is key. In spite of landing a role on a Disney Channel show, Jake Paul still creates content every day. He knows that becoming part of his followers daily routine is what keeps his brand alive and thriving. Which leads to my final point:

The true power of a large social media presence is the influence it can have on the perception of your brand. With the advertising industry in a state of reinvention, those with strong social media followings can keep their brand awareness top-of-mind, without having to spend gobs of money on old school advertising that no longer provides the same ROI. Every day you, or your company fails to focus on making it's social media strategy better, it falls further behind. Making it that much harder (and, more costly!) to catch up.

Now, go start studying YouTube. You'll thank me later!

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