Johnny Ross applied for a job.
Reading through the requirements for the makeup artist role in a large US organization made him feel good. Ten years of experience – check. Johnny had worked for some of the top names in the industry including Burberry Beauty, Laura Mercier and Sephora. Bachelor’s degree – Johnny graduated from cosmetology school after high school and later earned a university degree in business administration and marketing. So yes. Another check.
But it was the last requirement that surprised Johnny. The company assigned the successful candidate with 5,000 followers on Instagram.
“I was so angry,” Johnny told me during a recent Zoom call from his home in New Jersey. “It felt like a social media following was more of a currency than a degree.”
This was early 2021 and Johnny just didn’t have that many followers. In fact, he had only posted one video on YouTube and wasn’t on TikTok at all. He proposed, reached out to his fiancé Casey (they’re getting married next June) and promised to take a month off to “figure this thing out”.
How many times have you really gotten excited about a job application, an interview, a work project, almost any activity—only to hit an unexpected hurdle? We’ve all been there, right? I don’t believe in the often quoted slogan: “Everything happens for a reason”. Instead, I’m convinced that many setbacks just happen. It’s how we deal with them that provides the reason.
In this case, Johnny buckled his seat belt and acted. He thought. He researched. He stratified. He adjusted. There are lessons here for all of us.
meaning of thinking
Before you jump into your next endeavor, really spend time thinking about your audience. your content. Your message.
Before jumping on social media, for example, Johnny told me he thought, “The world doesn’t need another person to apply blush and claim to be the best at applying blush.” It’s been like this for a decade. On top of that, it is very difficult for a man to gain followers. Hardly any beauty brand will repost you at the end of the day. They may support you in June and Pride month, but not the other 11 months. The faces of her audience are still full of homophobia. I know because I’ve been doing this for many years.”
importance of research
When preparing for an interview or promotion, you need to research the new company or role to better position your message. As Johnny accepted the reality of his own situation in the social media landscape, he devoted himself to research. He watched YouTube videos to learn about algorithms. He discovered the optimal times to post. And he ended up downloading TikTok.
“I felt like I was five years old. I had no idea what it was and how people were supposed to use it,” he said. Over the course of a month, he made many adjustments. “For example, I realized people didn’t want long videos, so I decided to cut it, cut it.”
Importance of customization
This is an important lesson for each of us. When Johnny explored analytics, he used a variety of approaches. You can also. Ask for feedback. How do you perform as an employee? As a leader? What works? what is not We can all evolve and recalibrate.
As Johnny explored his style, he reached into his past and drew from the television comedy and theater he loved as a child.
He created a glamorously made-up character who works at Sephora and suddenly has to wait for a wealthy middle-aged woman who is surprised by a “made-up boy”. Johnny plays both roles brilliantly and their interaction throughout the minute-long video is hilarious. It got 50,000 views in one day. He knew he’d hit social media gold.
He’s since done a number of these sketches, adding a straight male client and an over-the-top, self-proclaimed queen from another cosmetics company. I find it interesting that each of these characters is likeable in their own way. Johnny made a conscious choice to write and portray her with sensitivity. The humor shines through, but so does the humanity. I think that’s really what connects him to his audience.
Today, in just over a year of posting videos daily, Johnny Ross has more than a million followers on TikTok, almost as many on YouTube, and a whopping 263,000 on Instagram. More than enough to qualify for that old application. For the record, he never went back to it. He didn’t have to. He now makes a living as a content creator sponsored by multiple brands.
Reflection on September 11th
Every time I open a new Word document to start writing my column, I type in the date of next Sunday, just like you would wrap up a report or memo. Today’s date triggers a strong memory.
As you, the loyal reader, already know, I am a former CNN reporter. I reported on the terrorist attacks 21 years ago. When I arrived at the crime scene, I remember the unnerving silence. I also remember the remarkable kindness of strangers.
I think that qualifies a friendly content creator like Johnny Ross as a suitable person to perform on the day.
https://www.independent.ie/business/media/the-communicator-how-to-adapt-your-brand-and-shine-on-tiktok-instagram-and-youtube-41977383.html The Communicator: How to Customize Your Brand and Shine on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube