"Am I too ugly for social?"
We get this question a lot in different forms from CEOs to, well lots of people! And that got me thinking. Because I used to give out the usual platitudes but what really is the answer?
What does the data say?
Firstly, I ran an analysis on ostensibly the most looks-oriented platform in the world - Tiktok. I looked at the top 50 Tiktoks a couple of years after it was created and the vast majority of top posts were primarily young women, visually under the age of 25 and pretty (in my opinion). And even when they were over 25, these included celebs like the Kardashians who are objectively pretty. While I wasn't looking at ethnicity, the majority were clearly caucasian.
So that's the answer then. Young, pretty, female. Or Kardashian. So that's the answer right? Well, not so fast...
Because I then ran an identical analysis last year and the results were totally different. A few years on, when the platform matured, only 1 in 50 of the top posts was a pretty woman under 25. In fact, about a third of them weren't even human! Cute, furry animals, art etc.. all popped up (the second highest was a stop motion of art being created!). There was / is a significantly stronger ethnic mix, more men and ethnicity is representative of our society in general except Chinese.
China has Douyin, its own version of Tiktok so we would guess that Chinese influencers are focused on this.
And YouTube's data is very similar. The vast majority of the top 50 in the world aren't good looking social media types. And if they are (e.g. German Aranis, Ariana Grande etc...), they're there because they create great music or comedy, not simply for their looks.
In fact, according to the data, viewers want totally authentic posts with visuals which aren't photoshopped to death. A study by Sprout Social found that 66% of consumers prefer to see real people in brand imagery, rather than photoshopped or unrealistic images.
And as always, great content that resonates is what produces the best results and again this is reflected in the data. According to a study by Buffer, posts with high-quality, engaging content perform better than those with visually appealing imagery.
So, to answer the question "Am I too ugly for social?" the answer is a resounding NO. What matters most is the quality and relevance of your content, as well as your authenticity and ability to connect with your audience.
In conclusion, don't let an irrational fear hold you back. The data shows we care about substance and message more than anything else. So go out there and make an impact!