Many of us feel as if our lives revolve around social media -- that the lines between work and personal are nonexistent. For Jason Sadler, founder of IWearYourShirt, this is actually true.
Since 2008, Sadler has been using social media to help businesses gain attention, attract consumers, augment search results and garner research. He started off as a one-man company selling the rights to his T-shirt for the day, and virtually living his life, 365 days a year, on social media. It was so popular and successful that he eventually had seven employees and has been featured by the "Today" show, the New York Times, CNBC and Reuters, among others. His latest business idea -- what his detractors might call a stunt -- is to auction off his last name at BuyMyLastName.com. After less than a week, the bidding is already up to $33,333.
Here is an Insider look at the crazy brain of a social media entrepreneur.
Social Media Insider: Is what you do simply a social novelty for brands with money to spare? Or, do you think what you do can fight for the most
important marketing dollars?
Sadler: I think social novelty would have worn off in the first or second year of IWearYourShirt. It's hard to call someone a four-year wonder. We're constantly changing what we do and how we use social media to create content for companies and get them exposure. No one has the “Midas Touch” in marketing. It's all about being creative and trying to capture attention.
SMI: What’s the deal? Why sell your last name?
Sadler: Well, I've been the guy who's "sold the shirt off his back" since 2009. Earlier this year my Mom went through a divorce and now I'm stuck with a last name I don't need. I've been entrenched in branding/marketing over the years, this seemed like a logical solution to finding my next last name. I've made social media my life for the past few years and think this is the right time to try to sell my name.
SMI: That’s quite an interesting opportunity. What would you say is the single biggest untapped opportunity for businesses in the social space?
Sadler: Being willing to fail. How would I have any clue that anyone would want to buy my last name? I wouldn't. But, I was willing to take the risk that it could fail because I thought it had value. More brands/businesses need to take chances by partnering with companies that have interesting ideas or do different things so they can get attention.
SMI: Do brands need to create content -- or do they have to create truly unique content?
Sadler: Brands spend an exorbitant amount of money on advertising, and most of them only do it to stay relevant. While that model can work for some of the more well-known brands, the newer or less established brands can break out by being creative. Most people think being creative means you have to come up with a "why didn't I think of that?" idea -- but really, you can be unique by partnering with key influencers, by doing something completely off the wall, or by taking an existing idea and putting a unique twist on it.
SMI: You've worked with thousands of businesses, small and large. What's the most common social media mistake you see?
Sadler: Lack of strategy and patience. Just because you bring a bunch of people to your Twitter account or Facebook account, doesn't mean they'll be interested in everything you post. Brands/businesses need to think about creating unique content that engages their fans/customers over time. Because social media has gained so much attention and acclaim so quickly, people think they'll have incredible success with it overnight. It just doesn't happen.
SMI: To end, here’s your reward for not shamelessly promoting yourself. What’s your favorite piece of content IWearYourShirt has done to date?
Sadler: Whether it's wearing a unicorn costume or doing a 3,500 mile two-week road trip, we're focusing on bringing personality back to marketing. We’re getting there….