How Sara Blakely used Public Speaking to Gain 2K Instagram Followers

Sara Blakely, the founder of SPANX, joined social media 5 weeks ago (Instagram to be more exact) and at the MA Conference for Women in the span of 10 minutes, she gained 2K new followers.

Wait…what? Can I do this too!? Here’s my breakdown of how she did it through the influence of public speaking and tips on how you can move the crowd to build your tribe.

On Thursday, December 8th, I’ve had the honor to be one of the few males to attend and speak at the nation’s largest conference for women, the Massachusetts Conference for Women (Yes, it was fun if you were wondering and the wifey had no objections because it was a conference. Win-win!).

In front of a sold-out audience of 11,000, Sara Blakely was interviewed by Gayle King (Co-host of CBS This Morning) about her life experiences and how she started SPANX.

What made Sara Blakely successful in gaining 2K followers in a short amount of time was because she made the audience fall in love with her by giving the audience a taste of her personality through sharing personal anecdotes of failures and success and demonstrating her passion to make the world a better place. Apply these concepts in crafting your next talk to help you inspire, influence and move your audience to action.

Here’s what Sara Blakely did NOT do:

  1. She did not come on stage and brag, “Hi Everyone, SPANX is the next best thing since slice bread.”
  2. She did not immediate say “Oh! Guess what everyone, I’ve just joined Instagram, follow me!”
  3. AND she did not definitely pretend like she’s the sh*t.

Here’s what Sara Blakely DID DO that made the audience go nuts for her and boosted her followership from 19K to 21.1K:

  1. Right from the start, Sara related to the audience by making fun of herself and shared examples of how she hustled.

People are drawn to others who radiate self-confidence and authenticity.

Tell stories and be yourself on stage to show the audience who you are.

2. After the audience got the chance to bond with Sara through her behind-the-scenes stories, she established a certain credibility that was more than just the successful founder of SPANX, it was the credibility that she is like any one of us and she worked her butt off to get to where she is today. Make sure people get a sense of who you are, your passions and what makes you credible before you sprinkle aha moments, success principles, advice and a call to action.

3) What have we learned so far about Sara Blakely? That she a smart hustler, she’s quite fun and she has a strong passion to support women through her BellyArtProject and other endeavors. Only after you have warmed up the audience and connected with them through the heart with stories and the head with facts and logic, should you go for the ask. In the middle of the interview, Sara Blakely mentioned that she was completely new to social media (Yes, it was frustrating for many people that could not find her on Twitter!). She created a win-win situation and asked the audience to follow her on Instagram for a good cause.

Wouldn’t you want to follow and support someone who wants to help you and make the world a better place? In that moment, I was trying to add her on Instagram but it kept on going to a screen that said “Please try again in a few moments to add this user”. In the span of 10 minutes her followership jump from 19K to 20K and then eventually rising up to 21.1K.

Public Speaking Takeaways:

  • People don’t really know who you are, even if you are famous. Introduce yourself by sharing personal behind-the-scene anecdotes (that relates to your topic) so that the audience can get a sense of who you are and know that you are not just another power point robot.
  • To build credibility with your immediate audience, talk about how you overcame your failures, what made you successful and what you have gained from your experiences.
  • To be a thought leader, you have to offer your own opinions and quotes. People love to share and tweet, give them some gems!
  • You have to ask. You have to ask. You have to ask. But how can you create a win-win situation for everyone?

Speaking in public is a powerful art form. You have the ability to move the audience with your words, passion and enthusiasm. Sara Blakely took the audience through a journey and made them understand how she started as a fax machine saleswoman, the bumps she had to go through along the way and more importantly, she inspired the audience members that through hustle and hard work they can do the same too.

Find Sara Blakely on Instagram here.

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