The political scene in America has been a little rough for the past year. With so much fighting on both political sides, it was hard to cut through the rhetoric and get to the facts. In October of 2020, right before the election, Sharon McMahon, a past high school Government teacher, photographer, and business coach, started teaching about how the Electoral College worked. She created short videos about the basics of the U.S. Government. She then started putting up daily question boxes. The thing that made her different was that she wasn’t trying to sway you to vote left or right. She was there to give you the facts and then let you decide. She was the breath of fresh air that we all needed. Find her on Instagram here.
She gets thousands of questions every day and she answers as many as she can. She skillfully mixes her knowledge of government with her love for marine wildlife and cool places like Svalbard (you can learn more about Svalbard here ).
When asked how things are going with her business, Sharon said:
“It is gratifying to see how many people are actually interested in learning! It warms my teacher heart to see that people do want to actually learn. They do want to have more clarity. They do want to have more confidence. And, I love it.”
I was able to sit down with Sharon and talk about the things that helped her achieve rapid growth. These strategies are not just working for SharonSaysSo, but can work for you.
Or watch the interview here:
In this episode, we talk about:
How to build brand evangelism to grow your business.
How much of YOU should you put in your business.
What to do when you go through a period of rapid growth.
How to use Instagram stories for massive growth.
The pros and cons of reactional content.
Keep Reading for a full recap of our interview.
How to Own Your Brand
Tip #1: Know Your Purpose
From the beginning, Sharon knew she wanted to post non-partisan truth on politics and government systems. Her purpose is to share truth and create a place where people can come learn and get their questions answered with objective information.
Tip #2: Remember “Once is Never”
People like knowing who you are, what you’re known for, and what you will talk about. You do these things by repeating your content.
Something Sharon lives by is “once is never.” Meaning, if you said it once you might as well have never said it.
As a teacher, Sharon knows the importance of repeating concepts over and over…and over again to the audience before it’s truly understood. Repetition is the key to human learning.
Anyone who sees your repeated content will have a better understanding of who you are and what you’re known for. More importantly, it builds your credibility. If you are constantly bringing in new content and never repeating the old, that can actually hurt your credibility.
When you repeat your key content over and over again, your words can become a movement.
Tip #3: Be Your Authentic Self
There’s a caveat to this one. Be your authentic self, but within the boundaries of your brand. There is no need to show 100 percent of yourself to your followers. Your followers don’t want to see 100 percent of yourself. Ask yourself, what are you willing to talk about? What do you not want to talk about? Each person will have their own story, own comfort, and own niche to make up their brand.
When you’re feeling nervous about showing your true self, it boils down to the fear of being judged and the fear of rejection. And for good reason. Of course you don’t want to feel like who you are is not good enough.
The bad news: You will never completely overcome this fear.
The good news: The reward for putting yourself out there far outweighs the risk.
The vast majority of your audience truly wants to be there for you and connect with you. You have to choose to serve those people. When you let the fear hold you back, you cannot serve your people and you can’t even serve yourself.
It’s better to have the vast majority of your audience love you and a few people not like what you have to say than to have nobody care either way about your brand or even know who you are.
How to Create A Community for Your Followers
Tip #1: Be OK with Repelling People
This goes right along with bringing your true self into your brand. You have to be OK with people not liking your content in order to refine your audience. You actually want people to turn away or “unfollow” you. This helps the process of finding the ones who truly want to be there.
Once you attract the right audience, there will be nothing but value added to your day, and your audience’s. As you try new posts, you’ll find ways to share your content that is most appealing to them.
For example, what Sharon talks about can sometimes be heavy, so she likes to insert light and fun videos of wildlife. This is a great example of how to mix in different types of content and it still flow nicely. She’s also able to attract a wider audience because of the variety of topics she shares and talks about.
Another important part of adding value is humor. Although Sharon talks mostly about serious topics, she’s very amusing and funny with her quirks and “laugh at yourself” moments she shares in her videos.
Tip #2: Give Them Opportunities to Grow
Back in December, Sharon raised $125k through her Instagram followers for families in need. When she first created this donation opportunity, her goal was $1,000. And daydreamed about raising $5,000.
Once she started sharing the personal stories of how people responded to the donation and her personal beliefs on how nice she thought it would be to do something for somebody else, the response dramatically increased. She even raised $50k overnight.
She still gets emotional when she thinks about how many people donated and the responses of those who received the donation. It’s completely moving. Since then, it’s created this bond and sense of community among her followers.
Now, Sharon can go back and say to her followers, remember when we raised $125k together for families in need? She has this amazing memory with her followers and they all feel a part of something bigger than themselves. Give your followers a chance to grow and unite in a common cause and this will create a culture that is deeper and stronger than ever before.
How to Love What You Do
Sharon has a natural love for teaching people and watching them have the desire to learn something new. She loves having a place where people can laugh together and feel safe to ask questions, and trust in the information given.
Find the niche you love and turn that into your brand. Turn it into why you want to talk to people, influence them, and bring them together for a common cause.
It’s hard to manage a large audience, especially if it grows a large amount in a short amount of time. Therefore, be aware of your priorities and responsibilities. Know what you want to focus on and devote your time to, so it doesn’t become too overwhelming.
Above all, be true to yourself and who you want to be–and don’t second guess it. Your people will find you, they will come, and they will absolutely love what you have to say.
Sharon has some exciting things planned in the near future! She’s planning to write books, for children and adults. She will be starting a podcast. And she hopes to start public speaking once things become more normalized from COVID-19.
Follow @SharonSaysSo on Instagram to stay up to date on current events and catch a feel good video of an orca peeking from the ocean waves.
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Here are some of our favorite Sharon McMahon quotes: