MF 117.5 : How Deborah Olalere Created an Opportunity to Move Forward in a Big Way
Deborah Olalere is a 19 year old student at UNLV. Learn how she created an opportunity to intern for one of today’s biggest social media influencers and branding strategists through Twitter.
Who is Deborah Olalere and Why Should You Care? (and Yes, You Should!):
Deborah Olalere isn’t an influencer or entrepreneur (yet). She’s a 19 year old student at UNLV and like many college students, she is thinking about her summer plans. If you’re a college student reading this, you may have lined up a summer internship or job (congrats!) or you may be wondering what the heck you’re going to do. Perhaps, you’ve trekked down to career services and flipped thru a bunch of books or blindly sent out a bunch of pdf applications: hoping, just hoping, one will land. Not Deborah. She took a risk. She reached out to one of the biggest social media influencers and branding experts today, Leonard Kim. Leonard has been featured in numerous publications including Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur and more. He has 12M+ readers of his content and 400k+ followers on Twitter. He’s also about to give his first TEDx talk later this month on a subject he’s an expert at: greatness. Leonard is a phenom and companies and entrepreneurs everywhere seek his advice to boost their brands on social media. For many, he might be seen as the type of guy you would follow on Twitter but admire from a distance. Deborah admires Leonard too but wanted something more: an opportunity to learn. Out of the hundreds of thousands of followers, Deborah reached out to Leonard w/ a bold, audacious request: an internship. Deborah wants to be a CEO one day. She’s currently majoring in political science w/ a minor in marketing. So learning from Leonard will help put her on the c-suite career track, no doubt. But here’s the funny part. Leonard wasn’t advertising an internship. You might think game over, thanks for playing. Not so. Deborah used a rather brilliant way to engage Leonard. She asked a question. Not just any question but one that offered potential value. She asked him how many RT (retweets) it would take for him to give her an internship. She negotiated a number and not a modest one too: 2000. I had to ask her again on the episode to repeat it just so it was crystal clear. Not 20, not 200, 2000. And she pulled it off. She put a lot of hustle, grit, determination and applied skills on social media to get 2000 RTs within a very short period of time. Out of all of his many followers, Deborah stood out because she offered and delivered value. This impressed Leonard enough to create an internship when one previously didn’t exist. Think about it. If Deborah had sent him a resume or an email, all she probably would have gotten is a polite “no, thank you.” This isn’t because Leonard is rude or uncaring but bc he is inundated w/ thousands of messages on every social media platform. Every day, almost every hour he gets pinged by businesses, entrepreneurs, publications and countless people who are looking to become more visible on social media. If Leonard spent his time carefully vetting every polite email and PDF that came his way, he would have time for nothing else! Deborah cut to the chase, got his attention and delivered. Leonard saw the potential and the value she offered and that made all the difference in the world. She now has an opportunity to learn more than she could ever imagine. Learning from someone like Leonard is a dream opportunity. But if she hadn’t taken the bold steps of reaching out, offering value and delivering it, it would have stayed a dream.
Top Tips for Creating Opportunities on Social Media:
Be ambitious and aim high. Deborah was inspired by the #nuggsforcarter campaign in which Carter Wilkerson asked Wendy’s how many RTs he’d need to get to earn a year of free chicken nuggets. The bar was set at 18M. Carter reached 3.42M RT’s which was enough to impress Wendy’s to not only give him the year of free nuggets but donate $100k to the Dave Thomas Foundation in Adoption on his behalf. Along the way, Carter caught the attention of companies like Microsoft and Google who participated in helping Carter w/ his goal. Carter also picked up 100k+ twitter followers along the way. Similarly, Deborah set an ambitious goal and delivered it quickly.
Be present. Deborah shares this great tidbit. Whatever social media platform you’re on, whether it’s IG, Twitter, FB, be present. This is huge. Too often, social media is seen as a passive game of likes. A person of Leonard’s accomplishments and stature has hundreds of thousands of followers. To stand out, you have to do more than simply follow. You have to engage and that’s what Deborah did.
Don’t be afraid to market yourself. Deborah reached out to Leonard w/ a goal: she wanted to become his intern. Behind that goal is a recognition that 1) Leonard is a highly successful branding expert, influencer and social media strategist, and 2) Deborah’s own ambitions are extremely high: she wants to be a CEO of a major company one day. Deborah is still a student but she recognizes that social media is about branding yourself. Deborah used Twitter to market herself and create a connection which developed into a relationship. This led to an opportunity for her where none existed before.
Parting Wisdom (in a few words):
“Just Do It!” [quoting Nike]
Since making that strong first impression on Leonard, other great opportunities have come into Deborah’s life. In just a week, she has been interviewed by The Huffington Post, on KUCI FM radio w/ Ryan Foland and due in no small part to Leonard’s recommendation, on this podcast. By taking a chance on Twitter and delivering value, she is laying the groundwork for her future and not leaving it to chance. But this story isn’t over yet. It’s just the beginning. Deborah made an impression and got her foot in the door. What she does w/ this opportunity, to build on it, is in her hands. A few days ago, Leonard mentioned to me that she has hit the ground running and is working on a project for him. He’s given her a substantial amount of responsibility and with that responsibility, he’s providing honest feedback and that includes letting her know when something needs to be redone. Taking critical feedback isn’t always easy but I hope Deborah sees what an incredible mentor Leonard is. He’s teaching her the high standards that he sets for himself and those around him. Leonard has achieved greatness and demands it from everyone on his team, from his business partner to his intern. If Deborah can continue putting in the same heart and effort each and every day, taking the feedback as opportunities to grow and learn, she will go very, very far. Leonard is teaching her greatness. I’m excited to see what’s next for Deborah as she continues to move forward.
Moving Forward Book Recommendations on Social Media:
The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk (Paperback | Kindle): Learn why social media presence is a must for businesses, big and small w/ case studies of companies that are using platforms like Twitter to generate business.
The Etiquette of Social Media by Leonard Kim: Leonard illustrates how to make effective connections w/ others on social media. Leonard has been featured in many top publications and his content has been read by millions. He current has 400+ followers on Twitter.
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