Over the last few years, supermodel, actress and author Chrissy Teigen has become a household name, as well as the unofficially crowned queen of social media. Whether you are a fan of hers or not, there is no denying that Teigen is a social media influencer. Time named her one of the "25 Most Influential People on the Internet" in 2017. Rarely a day goes by when her name isn’t in the news. Just this month, she was in the headlines again after a Twitter war with President Trump about criminal justice reform.
Teigen uses social media, primarily Instagram and Twitter, to provide a brutally honest view of her life as a celebrity, mother, wife and activist. Fans and followers — nearly 12 million on Twitter and 25 million on Instagram — enjoy the refreshingly real voice she uses to spread awareness of social issues, snap back at trolls and provide comic relief. Of course, part of her large following is about people getting a look at celebrity life, but the reason why her social media followers stick around is because she is relatable.
Here are four social media lessons we can learn from Teigen.
Be authentic. Authenticity is the most important part of social media. Your LinkedIn connections and Twitter followers want to make a connection with you. Teigen does this by giving her followers a glimpse into her real life and telling it like it is, often saying what the rest of us are thinking. Her Instagram stories feature no-makeup selfies; after she had her second baby, she even posted videos of her body to show that supermodels get stretch marks, too. Her fans love how she shares who she is — both the good and bad. While attorneys and legal marketers may be a bit more reserved, social media is an opportunity to show personality in an authentic way.
Be responsive. Engagement is just as important as content. One of the things you will notice immediately about Teigen is that she responds and engages, not just with other celebrities, but with her followers. Teigen has written two cookbooks and often chats with fans about food. She is known to give restaurant recommendations and answer questions about her recipes. A real effort to have genuine conversations on social media goes a long way.
Use humor. Teigen often uses comical situations to humanize herself. One of the most-relatable things about her is her ability to laugh at herself. In a series of Instagram stories, she narrated her beauty rituals while wearing pore strips on her face. She also acknowledged her awkward reaction face at the 2016 Oscars by reposting fans’ memes that made fun of her. Humor on social media can be tricky when it comes to law firms, but keep in mind that an upbeat tone makes a firm stand out — without any risk of causing offense.
Stand up for what you believe in. Teigen is outspoken about the causes she supports and doesn’t back down when it comes to politics or social injustice. She has been very open about motherhood and her struggles with postpartum depression. She has used her social media influence to launch programs like #MyWishForMoms, which aims to create open dialogue among women about postpartum depression and anxiety.
Professional service providers must maintain some decorum when interacting online. For most lawyers and accountants, using social media as boldly as Teigen could have the potential to scare away clients — but that doesn’t mean the principles she uses don’t apply to white-collar professionals.
What’s essential when using social media is to know your personal brand and your audience’s tastes. If you have a reputation for being an outspoken legal activist with a flair for colorful language and that has helped you build a career, then by all means, be that person online. But if you’re like most professional service providers, you probably have a relatively reserved public persona, which may in itself be a selling point for your clients. If that’s the case, find ways to differentiate yourself online. Share your thought leadership, but also share a little bit about who you are. Perhaps you’re a fan of locally brewed beers. If so, you might want to take a look at what attorney Ashley W. Brandt does with his Libation Law Blog and its affiliated social media accounts.
You don’t even have to put a professional spin on the personal component. Even integrating non-work-related content into your social media feeds only occasionally can help raise your public profile above that of your competitors.
The last thing you want your social media presence to be is unremarkable. After all, if no one is reading your content or interacting with your accounts, what is the purpose of investing your valuable time in producing that content? If you’re going to use social media professionally, do it right.
Remember that followers connect with Chrissy Teigen because of her genuine intent to connect with people. Be like Teigen and find ways you can connect, too.
If you need help honing your social media presence, contact me, Lisa Altman, at firstname.lastname@example.org.